The Need For MQ Networks: A New Understanding

If I surveyed each of you to find out the number and variety of technical platforms you have running at your company, I’d likely find that more than 75% of companies haven’t standardized on a single operating system – let alone a single technical platform. Vanilla’s such a rarity – largely due to the many needs of our 21st-century businesses – and with the growing popularity of the cloud (which makes knowing your supporting infrastructure even more difficult) companies today must decide on a communications standard between their technical platforms.
Why MQ networks? Simple. MQ gives you the ability to treat each of your data-sharing members as a black box. MQ gives you simple application decoupling by limiting the exchange of information between application endpoints and application messages. These application messages have a basic structure of “whatever” with an MQ header for routing destination and messaging-pattern information. The MQ message become the basis for your inter-communication protocols that an application can access no matter where the application currently runs – even when the application gets moved in the future.
This standard hands your enterprise the freedom to manage applications completely independent of one another. You can retire applications, bring up a new application, switch from one application to another or route in parallel. You can watch the volume and performance of applications in real-time, based on the enqueuing behavior of each instance to determine if it’s able to keep up with the upstream processes. No more guesswork! No more lost transactions! And it’s easy to immediately detect an application outage, complete with the history and how many messages didn’t get processed. This is the foundation for establishing Service Level Management.
The power of MQ networks gives you complete control over your critical business data. You can limit what goes where. You can secure it. You can turn it off. You can turn it on. It’s like the difference between in-home plumbing and a hike to the nearest watersource. It’s that revolutionary for the future of application management.

What The x86 Deal Delivers To Lenovo, IBM And Users

The Lenovo purchase of IBM’s low-end x86 server business closed about a month ago. Now that all the smoke has cleared, it’s time to examine a few of the angles about why the sale went down, what it delivers to both Lenovo and IBM, and how it affects current users of IBM-branded x86 equipment.
First, the easy question: Why the sale?
Think back to 2005 when Lenovo bought IBM’s PC business. Lenovo instantly became the third-largest PC supplier in the world and is now the largest (ahead of HP and Dell, based on unit sales). The ThinkPad that Lenovo bought from IBM is the most successful and most durable everyman’s laptop in the word, and it continues to endure with top and near-top worldwide marketshares.
Lenovo wants to replicate that success with its purchase of IBM’s everyman server technology. And when the deal closed, and Lenovo finally became the owner of IBM’s profitable x86 server business, Lenovo immediately went from 6th to 3rd in marketshare in the x86 market (behind, yep, HP and Dell).
Sure, the x86 stuff is pretty unsexy. It’s a commodity. Sort of like Lego blocks. But the historic low cost of the product means that x86 stuff is still a major core infrastructure component for red-hot market segments like big data and cloud deployments. And remember that Lenovo will also acquire Motorola Mobility – the smartphone business that Google bought from Motorola in 2011 – by the end of the year. Mobile data’s one of the main drivers of the growth in large-scale commodity-server deployment. So it’s a proper marriage for Lenovo.
For reference, here’s the formal list of the x86 product that Lenovo bought from IBM:

  • System x racks and towers
  • x86 BladeCenter
  • x86 Flex System blade servers and integrated systems
  • Associated software, switching and maintenance operations

What does the sale deliver to both companies? For IBM, it allows Big Blue to continue to divest itself of commodity-hardware manufacturing and to continue its trend of crafting strategic partnerships with hardware manufacturers. Lenovo’s a big partner, but don’t forget IBM’s historic alliance with Apple, announced in July. There’s a different type of hardware integration happening right now, where workplace functionality and process is no longer desktop-specific. IBM has a lot to gain by selling a solid hardware business like the x86 line to Lenovo, because Lenovo can deliver legendary efficiency and scalability to gain more share for the servers and thus benefit IBM process software and platforms far into the future.
Does anybody really think IBM should still be making and selling PCs? Ask that same question about low-grade servers 2 years from now.
But the question looms: Where does all this leave current IBM x86 customers? Not much should change, according to both Lenovo and IBM. Former IBM server chief Adalio Sanchez – who led the x86 server business at IBM – is now senior vice-president of enterprise systems, reporting to Gerry Smith, Lenovo’s president for the North America region.
There’s talk that the entire x86 business might suddenly be more approachable – both from an IBM and Lenovo standpoint. There’s also speculation, likely grounded in truths, that strong incentives will emerge to align Lenovo PC users with x86 servers. That’s a bit of good news for firms and customers who want incentives to scale and align at the same time.

DataPower Security Bulletin from IBM

I received an email from IBM today and I’d like to pass along the security information. This came directly from IBM.

While this issue is not specifically with DataPower, DataPower can leverage SSLv3, so please ensure you’re assessing all of your security infrastructure leveraging SSLv3. Please take appropriate actions.

Security Bulletin: Vulnerability in SSLv3 affects DataPower (CVE-2014-3566)

Security Bulletin Summary SSLv3 contains a vulnerability that has been referred to as the Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption (POODLE) attack. SSLv3 is enabled by default in DataPower.Vulnerability Details:CVE-IDCVE-2014-3566

DESCRIPTION: Product could allow a remote attacker to obtain sensitive information, caused by a design error when using the SSLv3 protocol. A remote user with the ability to conduct a man-in-the-middle attack could exploit this vulnerability via a POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) attack to decrypt SSL sessions and access the plaintext of encrypted connections.
CVSS Base Score: 4.3 CVSS Temporal Score: See for the current score
CVSS Environmental Score*: Undefined
CVSS Vector: (AV:N/AC:M/Au:N/C:P/I:N/A:N)
Affected Products and Versions All DataPower products and versions that have configured a DataPower Crypto Profile object for SSL communication.
Remediation/Fixes None
Workarounds and Mitigations Disable SSL v3 in DataPower configuration.
First make sure to Quiesce all domains and services to stop traffic to the appliance. System quiesce and unquiesce commands can be invoked by navigating to Administration –> Main –> System Control.
Next, select Objects –> Crypto Configuration –> Crypto Profile in the left navigation pane. For all the crypto profile objects that are configured, in the “Configure Crypto Profile” page, “Options” parameter, select the checkbox “Disable SSL version 3”. Click Apply.
Note that SSL v3 must be disabled in all the Crypto Profile objects configured in all the domains. IBM recommends that you review your entire environment to identify other areas that enable the SSLv3 protocol and take appropriate mitigation such as disabling SSLv3 and remediation actions.

Why WebSphere? Five Factors For Your Business To Consider

One of the biggest decisions a company will ever face centers on enterprise software. Fail to scale and you’re doomed.
IBM WebSphere has been available to the general public since 1998 (16 years as of this writing), with a vibrant and gigantic suite of software and services supporting it. For anyone business planning its next half-decade of software deployment, WebSphere must at least be a consideration. Why? Following are five reasons.
1. This is the age of the application and you need application infrastructure.
WebSphere provides software for SOA environments that enables dynamic, interconnected business processes and delivers highly effective application infrastructures for all business situations. WebSphere is IBM’s application and integration software platform, and includes the entire middleware infrastructure including the servers, services, and tools needed to create, deploy, run, and monitor round-the-clock, enterprise-wide web applications and cross-platform, cross-product solutions.
2. WebSphere includes all the tools to maintain an agile business model.
An agile business is one whose business processes, integrated end-to-end across the company and with key partners, suppliers, and customers, can respond rapidly and flexibly to customer demands, market opportunities, or external threats. You can use WebSphere to build and monitor an agile business infrastructure and to develop and extend applications that run on that infrastructure. Among the dozens of famous native tools are killer apps like Business Process Manager and WebSphere Application Server.
3. WebSphere offers the ultimate in application integration.
WebSphere application integration and connectivity are part of a Smart SOA approach that enables information to flow freely within and across applications, business processes, and different organizations. WebSphere application integration products provide a wide variety of services to support this reliable and flexible flow of information to increase collaboration, business insight, and cost-effective reuse of data and knowledge within your enterprise. Just a few examples of the deep and rich product suite to support an integration environment: MQ, Enterprise Service Bus and Sterling B2B Integrator.
4. Business process married to IT infrastructure represents the current business revolution. Let WebSphere lead your army.
IBM Business Process Manager is a comprehensive BPM platform that gives you visibility and insight to manage your business processes. It scales smoothly and easily from an initial project to a full enterprise-wide program.
5. Easily convert current deployment to a cloud or hybrid-cloud model.
Hypervisor editions of popular WebSphere products like WebSphere Application Server and Message Broker provide broad-based premium support for cloud solutions, and WebSphere Cast Iron remains the go-to solution for cloud-application integration. The WebSphere cloud effort rests upon  the industry-leading SoftLayer cloud services.
TxMQ is ready to help you with all your WebSphere-related services. Contact TxMQ president Chuck Fried for an immediate and confidential consultation: (716) 636-0070 x222,

AT&T Partners With IBM Cloud To Extend MPLS Services

AT&T NetBondSM is a network-enabled cloud solution that allows customers to extend their MPLS VPN to cloud-service providers with enhanced speed and security.
AT&T and IBM recently announced a partnership under which AT&T will extend its NetBondSM services to IBM’s SoftLayer cloud platform. That’s good news for customers because MPLS offers stronger security and performance above standard public Internet. Plus, the IBM and AT&T alliance will allow customers to easily create hybrid-cloud computing solutions. AT&T VPN customers can use NetBondSM to connect their IT infrastructure to SoftLayer’s cloud services. These are highly secure, highly-reliable, high-performance connections.
The official announcement quoted Jim Comfort (GM of IBM’s cloud services). According to Comfort, the alliance provides options for customers to better leverage hybrid cloud. Coast-to-coast secure connectivity is critical, and the MPLS-based, dedicated NetBondSM network is ideal. In essence, customers can move workloads to and from SoftLayer platforms as if they were on a LAN. Furthermore, the bandwidth is dynamic and allows customers to use as much or as little bandwidth as they need.
Here’s a brief look at some AT&T NetBond benefits:

  • Simple: Works seamlessly with existing AT&T VPN through APIs, creating an automated experience. Customers don’t need to order or manage any other equipment or access lines.
  • Savings: Network elasticity that automatically flexes with the needs of the cloud service. Companies can save as much as 60% on networking costs.
  • Performance: Delivers as much as 50% lower latency and three times the availability when compared with the public Internet.
  • Security: Isolates traffic going directly to cloud platforms using the AT&T private global network, providing more protections from risks such as DDoS attacks.

The combined AT&T/IBM services are expected to be available sometime in Q1 2015.
Want to move into the Cloud but not sure how to do it? TxMQ can help. Initial consultations are free and confidential. Contact vice president Miles Roty: (716) 636-0070 x228,

Several IBM MQ WebSphere Products Reach End Of Support

IBM recently announced an end-of-support list for specific WebSphere MQ products. The following products within Passport Advantage (PPA) will reach end-of-support on the listed date. (Note: TxMQ will continue to support these products.)
5724-V32: IBM Media Extender for WebSphere Process Server V7.0.x
IBM support ends September 30, 2016
Media Extender provides a flexible and powerful approach for defining processes involving media content and services. Media Extender provides support for adapting media formats or moving content through the use of media-sensitive metadata.
Replacement program: IBM Smarter Media Solution with M&E       Industry Pack
5724-T21: IBM WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging V2.2.x
IBM support ends September 30, 2015
WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging is designed for financial institutions and other organizations that require near instantaneous and reliable delivery of extremely large volumes of data. WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging delivers flexible message delivery options, high system availability, fast message filtering, system monitoring and congestion control.
5724-T21: IBM WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging V2.3.x
IBM support ends September 30, 2015

5725-L30: IBM API Management V2.0.x
IBM support ends September 30, 2015
IBM API Management provides a set of API capabilities that can be deployed on-premise in the datacenter. Firms can use IBM API Management for defining, proxying, assembling, securing, and scaling APIs. IBM API Management also provides detailed analytics and operational metrics. Customize your unique company developer portal to provide links to social communities and manage applications that can be used by developers.
Replacement program: API Management V3.0
5724-H79: IBM TPF Toolkit V3.6.x
IBM support ends September 30, 2015
IBM TPF Toolkit is an Eclipse-based, integrated-development environment that allows you to edit, compile and debug your IBM Transaction Processing Facility (TPF) applications remotely from your workstation. The TPF Toolkit supports development of TPF and IBM z/TPF applications.
Replacement program: TPF Toolkit V4.2
TxMQ is an IBM Premier Business partner with a specialization in MQ and the middleware stack. Initial consultations are free and confidential. Contact vice president Miles Roty: (716) 636-0070 x228,
(Photo by  tsaiproject)

IBM Cast Iron Options: Appliance Vs. Live (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) is fast becoming the deployment du jour, but appliances haven’t lost favor yet. The decision over an on-premise install or appliance versus an SaaS solution should still be made on a case-by-case basis. IBM Cast Iron offers both options and each enables cloud-to-cloud, cloud-to-on-premise and on-premise-to-on-premise integration and real-time, near-real-time and batch.
Here’s a brief look at both options.

Cast Iron As Appliance

Cast Iron can be deployed as either physical hardware or a virtual machine. With this style of deployment, the Integration Appliance is installed on-premise – normally behind the firewall, but not within a DMZ.
The runtime environments for the dev, test and prod lifecycles are typically separated, each with its own Integration Appliance to access necessary endpoints within the environment.
The user maintains full control of projects and their orchestrations on the appliance through the WMC. The orchestrations are started through activities which include polling, scheduling or an incoming request – an HTTP Receive Request, for example. Data flows through the Integration Appliance and is stored internally as XML variables. Users control the logging for each orchestration.

Cast Iron Live

This multi-tenant, browser-accessed deployment model includes key components for users to design, run and manage integrations all in the cloud. Those components are:

  • A clustered runtime engine that runs the integrations with built-in fault-tolerance and recovery mechanisms
  • A multi-tenant, highly available system to store the designed integrations
  • A load-balancer to intelligently manage the loads throughout the various runtime engines
  • Highly available file systems to store and manage logs that are related to the integrations

The Live version also includes a Design environment with the same capabilities as the on-premise Studio environment
TxMQ specializes in application integration. Initial consultations are free and communications are always confidential. Contact vice president Miles Roty for more information: (716) 636-0070 x228,

TxMQ Supports CuddleCots Campaign

Join TxMQ in supporting Corey Kruss as she fundraises to honor the memory of her son by providing CuddleCots to Western New York-based hospitals.

Dealing with the death of a baby is clearly an incredibly difficult event for parents, and bereaved parents should be given the option of spending time with their baby.

Providing families with time is internationally encouraged by midwives, bereavement practitioners, still birth/neonatal charities, academics and is also recognized in International Position statements/guidance.

Time allows the family to form an important bond with their baby; whether changing a diaper, dressing the baby or simply just to stay close, this can help families in dealing with their loss.

The problem is that in a warm room the baby’s condition can deteriorate quickly which parents often find distressing. Therefore, cooling the baby is absolutely essential.

The information above is adapted from the following webpage, which shares extensive information about CuddleCots.

Corey Kruss, a TxMQ employee, utilized a CuddleCot for Weston Elijah Kruss, the son she recently gave birth to. Corey authored a beautiful testimonial that can be found here.

Corey is committed to honoring Weston’s memory by fundraising to purchase a CuddleCot for Mercy Hospital, and then for hospitals throughout Western New York (so as to ensure any family in our geographic area that is interested in utilizing one is readily able to do so).

Your financial support of this worthy endeavor is welcome! You can make a donation in one of two ways:

  1. Write a check (in any amount) to SOBBS (Stories of Babies Born Still), Inc. and mail it to 544 W. Hancock Street, Lakeland, FL 33803. IMPORTANT – Be sure to write “In Memory of Weston Elijah/Buffalo CuddleCot” on the note section of the check itself.
  2. Make a donation via SOBBS PayPal account

On the second page (after entering in credit card and billing information) click on “add special instructions to the seller,” and in the “notes” box please type “In Memory of Weston Elijah/Buffalo CuddleCot.”

TxMQ, Corey’s place of employment has donated $500.00 in honor of Weston, as has our friends at Adoption STAR . We hope you’ll support us (and Corey) in this worthy endeavor.

Internet Growth: Over 1 Billion Served And Where It All Began

Several news outlets today picked up reporting on the semi-official website odometer over at The hoopla? The World Wide Web finally reached the plateau of 1 billion websites. When you consider that the total human population of the earth is about only 7 billion, that means there’s now one website for every seven people on earth. Wow.
I’ve long felt, and still feel, that when future historians reckon back upon 10,000 or so years of known human history, the development of network connectivity will represent a massive peak on the escalatory path of advancement. We’ll be a remarkable generation because we lived in the time of this invention – a technological wonder that connected a mankind tired from a long and bloody 5,000 years of walls, fences and isolation. Really, when you look across the span of known human history, where would you rather be than right here, right now? Credit that to computer connectivity.
The news outlets today were quick to point to Tim Berners-Lee and his infinitely famous proposals during 1989-90 at CERN that laid out the process of how to develop the World Wide Web and how to populate it with websites and how to navigate it with a browser. Genius.
But I’ll be frank: I’m a roots sort of guy, and I plainly feel, and I think history will ultimately judge that 10:30 pm, Oct. 29, 1969 marks the dawn of our new epoch. That’s the exact time and date when the first network connection occurred over the ARPANET between Boelter Hall room 3420 at UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Palo Alto, Calif. UCLA sent the message “login” to SRI. SRI received L and O, then the system crashed.
If you watch Star Trek, here’s the analogy: CERN was where they eventually built the Enterprise. SRI was where Zefram Cochrane successfully tested the first warp drive.
And SRI is absolutely hallowed ground. I made a pilgrimage there last month. It was a Saturday. Sunny and 75. Two other cars sat empty in the parking lot.
It’s a bit haunting, to say the least: To stand and look at the very site where the world’s first true network was born. I certainly looked out of place – a technology pilgrim alone with a camera – and security apparently thought so too, because a golf cart quickly whipped out from around the corner.
“Can I help you?” the young guard asked.
I told him I just wanted to walk the site, that “It all started here” and I wished to take a moment in my life to think on that and have some physical connection to the place – the bricks, the doors, the pistachio trees.Stand
“That’s really cool that you know the history,” the guard replied, and I took that to mean not too many other folks do. He recorded my name and address, we talked some and off he went. I tarried a bit longer then departed for my next destination (Xerox PARC – another hallowed-ground story altogether).
But there was one particular feature of the SRI campus that haunts me still. I carry the image with me as a reminder of the power of what we invent. To the side of the main entrance is a concrete ramp, partially overgrown, that rises from the parking lot but ends abruptly in weeds near a weathered, white iron fence. The fence spans the length of a beautiful grass courtyard and paddock.
When you stand at the path’s beginning and look up at the now-gated paddock, you realize: The path is a sign of different times, when workers could arrive and walk directly up into the campus to create their technology that would change the world. The fence, now, is a stark reminder that despite such world-changing connective technology, we’re still not that far removed from a history and a century defined by walls, fences and barbed wire.

Microsoft Surprises Again With Purchase Of Minecraft

Like the rest of the world, I was fairly shocked yesterday when I heard about the Microsoft purchase of Minecraft and its creator Mojang for $2.5 billion. That’s twice now that Microsoft has shocked me with its videogame strategy. The first time was about 15 years ago, when the software giant announced it would launch a new home console called the Xbox into an already crowded console market. The Xbox turned out to be a smashing success that continues to fuel a tiring Microsoft brand.
Most analysts paint the Minecraft purchase as a mobile strategy: Windows phones show a scant 3% marketshare, and Minecraft is one of the most popular apps for mobile platforms. True to a point, perhaps. But I also think the Minecraft purchase is another attempt to refresh the tiring Microsoft brand.
Think about it. On the one hand, the Xbox is hands-down the M-rated console, defined by blood-and-degradation titles like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Buy a 10-year-old an Xbox 360 and then try to find a game rated below Teen. You’ll be sadly disappointed.
On the other hand, Minecraft is appropriate for gamers of literally any age. It’s creative, it’s open-ended, and it singlehandedly launched the modern mega-million-dollar sub-economy in which of millions of gamers watch hundreds of gamers play games on “Let’s Play” YouTube channels. Minecraft delivers a feel-good salve for Xbox-hating parents, a feel-good salve for open-source-loving, Windows-hating millennials and a direct patch into the massive YouTube economy.
For a solution that broad and powerful, $2.5 billion doesn’t seem so high a price.
A few interesting links:
If you’ve never watched anyone play Minecraft on YouTube, here’s a good starter video from Tobuscus (note the 5-million-plus views):

If you have trouble understanding why anyone would want to spend hours watching a video of someone else playing a videogame, you’ll love this classic parody from The Onion about the World of World of Warcraft expansion pack.

(Feature image from