WebSphere is designed to integrate business applications across multiple computing platforms through the use of Web technologies. The MQ product is specifically geared toward providing a manageable, flexible foundation for an ESB (enterprise service bus).
In the newest iteration, Version 6.0, more than 150 technical improvements have been made, according to IBM, including improved support for creating an ESB, and inclusion of 64-bit interfaces on AIM, HP-UX and Solaris. The updated version also includes platform support for Linux for iSeries and Linux for pSeries.
The improvements were designed, in part, to lower the cost of maintaining custom or file transfer applications that are used to swap data between applications and systems, IBM has noted.
With the refresh of WebSphere MQ in Version 6.0, IBM will give IT organizations the ability to combine new and existing assets into an SOA (service-oriented architecture) environment. IBM has been eager to expand its reach into the SOA arena, even as many potential customers are investigating SOA and finding numerous, differing definitions in the marketplace.
"IBM is looking to its own MQ product history and install base to formulate its definition of SOA," said Yankee Group analyst Dana Gardner. "IBM recognizes that SOA is not just Web services, but also enterprise-class capabilities."
What is less clear, Gardner said, is how customers will get from a mainframe environment to a more modern definition of SOA. Although IBM has addressed this somewhat in its professional services, it is an area that may have to be integrated into more strategies that include WebSphere MQ.
"We have to get to the point where were not just repaving cow paths but are rearchitecting environments into true services," Gardner said. "Thats not what IBM is doing with this new MQ version, but theyre doing it elsewhere."
As IBM continues to expand its SOA strategies, it could create more definition around SOA than currently exists, Gardner said.
"Theyre trying to have it both ways, with professional services and a framework solution," he said. "That makes for a newer, modern SOA methodology."