MQ Capacity Planner FAQ: Six Questions About The Tool

TxMQ will debut is new MQ Capacity Planner (for IBM WebSphere MQ) next week at the MQ Technical Conference in Sandusky, Ohio. This new tool allows for the testing of a virtually unlimited number of messages from any number of concurrent applications. It reveals micro details and offers a powerful lens to inspect, diagnose and performance-tune your MQ.
In anticipation of the pilot release, here’s a brief FAQ.
Which message patterns can MQCP measure?
MQCP can measure simple and multi-threaded Put: Local and Remote Queues, as well as  Simulated Request/Response using UTurn and MQ-Triggered Process/Publish/Subscribe.
What specific metrics does MQCP deliver?
MQCP captures elapsed time in milliseconds, message size and number of threads to calculate TPS (transactions per second) and volume throughput. It also produces all statistical values to the 90th percentile to offer a more accurate measure of your environment’s Queue Manager/Infrastructure.
Does MQCP measure system usage?
Yes, MQCP measures CPU usage and wait times (using tools like Nmon for Linux and AIX and Perfmon for Microsoft platforms) from MQCP test cycles.
What are some of the customization options?
There are many. Some of the most important include options for configuration relating to the Queue Manager and Queues to be used, MQ Client Connection options, Application Message Size options, and Application Reflection. Additionally, MQCP dynamically invokes the required application for getting and putting messages
Are there any features to be added that are not found in the pilot release?
Yes, we are currently working to add a Trigger Monitor process, which is a custom Java Trigger Monitor supporting the Request/Response flow tests. The Trigger Monitor is a configuration and is a production-ready process. We’re also adding publish/subscriber processes to support both JMS and native MQ Java processing. These publisher processes are configurable for multi-threaded publishing and message sizes.
Is TxMQ willing to address general questions about the product?
Yes, TxMQ will continue to discuss the product and respond to questions before, during and after the rollout. We encourage anyone with questions to contact us. Communications are always confidential.
Interested in trying the MQCP? Contact TxMQ president Chuck Fried and ask about the MQCP Pilot Program: (716) 636-0070 x222, [email protected].
(photo by Taber Andrew Bain, Creative Commons license)

Go 'Lite" With Liberty Core Option For IBM WebSphere Application Server

Sometimes less is more. So beware of companies and consultants who want to sell you too much. Application-server software is a perfect example. If you’re a smaller shop, or a shop that runs lightweight apps, you probably don’t need a full-suite server-software deployment. TxMQ often advises clients to lighten up. Within an IBM environment, we commonly recommend WebSphere Application Server (WAS) Liberty Core rather then a full WAS Liberty Profile deployment.
Liberty Core offers an entry-level price point for smaller shops like small businesses and independent software vendors. But it’s also popular for larger enterprises – especially larger IT-development shops – where rapid app dev and deployment are the prime directives. The nice thing about opting for Core is the ease with which you can then upgrade into the entire WAS product sphere. There’s no penalty for starting small.
To lay out the Liberty Core option a bit more,  the software helps you:

  • Leverage the integrated tooling to increase development productivity and complete projects much more quickly – all while adhering to open standards.
  • Save money through the more efficient use of resources – both human and metal. Think lightweight functionality that drives stout production.
  • “Future-Proof” your apps through the easy addition of custom or 3rd-party components.

As of this writing, Liberty Core was in version 8.5.5 with documented support for AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, Windows, IBM i and Mac OS.
TxMQ is ready to answer any and all of your application-server questions. Initial consultations are free and always confidential. Contact vice president Miles Roty: (716) 636-0070 x228, [email protected].

WebSphere MQ v7.5 Security Concerns

Content contributed by Allan Bartleywood – Sr. MQ Subject Matter Expert
WebSphere MQ v7.5 security concerns seemed to be a resounding issue. We heard a lot of concerns regarding it while we were at the IBM Impact 2014 conference last week.

I do not believe it’s actually a concern for security when your organization is doing an upgrade to version 7.5, but more a concern as to whether your organization already has security enabled within your MQ environment.

At a lot of the organizations that I’ve consulted with, I’ve noticed that there is a lack of security actually implemented within the MQ environment.  WebSphere MQ has always had security implemented that was focused at the operating system level where it was running.

With this latest WebSphere MQ v7.5, security concerns, features have been added to meet today’s demands. This includes support for Advanced Message Security where the queue manager actually encrypts and decrypts Messages as they go through the environment on a put an get of an application.

You can actually configure the queue manager down to individual queues so that only certain queues will have messages encrypted.

This feature is providing the capability for messages to now meet compliance requirements like HIPAA and PCI Compliance. While data is in transit, it is in encrypted by the messaging transport without any special requirements being added to the applications.

This will, of course, mean that from the time a message put onto queue to the time a message just gotten off the queue, it has been included. Further security enhancements are provided to ensure that only certain applications will get the message decrypted from a given queue.

Now all of these features are out of the box with no added installs and compatibility issues being encountered.

Going back to whether organizations are actually implementing suitable levels of security within their messaging environment is another matter. What is quite often seen it is that administration and application usage of MQ is left open, that is it has not been unable at all.

This is normally due to a conscious decision or simply a lack of knowledge of the capabilities of the product; or a lack of understanding of the security policies and implications relating to the data that is being sent over the messaging environment.

It is not uncommon to see administrators using client connections to queue managers over the server connection channel with no authentication at all. It is also not uncommon to see the queue manager with channel authority disabled.

So are the security concerns about upgrading to version 7.5 related to a lack of understanding and knowledge of what the security capabilities are within 7.5 and pressure being put on IT for tighter security compliance, rather than whether 7.5 is capable of delivering services to these tighter security compliance requirements.

There are also situations where IT sees the requirement for better security compliance but the business doesn’t understand what is compliance are.

If you’re having WebSphere MQ v7.5 security concerns, please feel free to reach out to Wendy at TxMQ, [email protected] and let us answer your questions and guide your upgrade so all the proper security features are in place.

(Photo: Compliments of Still Burning)

WNY CIO Summit: Enterprise Data Breach

There’s been so much in the news lately about major enterprise organizations being hacked and your information is sold to the highest bidder. With the Target breach alone, how many of you had credit cards involved in the hack?
These are major organizations who should, by all rights, be prepared to handle these breaches and they got caught unprepared. So how does your organization stack up?
Join Gary Dischner from IBM and Cindy Gregoire, TxMQ Middleware Practice Manager as they walk you through how to better prepare your company and form a perimeter of protection around your most sensitive data.
Event Title: CIO Summit: Enterprise Data Breach
Date: Wednesday February 12, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Location: UB Center for Tomorrow
Register today!!
Photo credit: under Creative Commons License

Nine Reasons Why “Nearshoring” Is a Better Choice than “Offshoring”

Over the past 10 years, the trend toward offshore service providers for software development or IT projects has become an accepted solution for most large corporations. Although these low-cost offshore developers provide some benefits for the company, they also come with challenges; cultural differences, time zone discrepancies and language barriers are just a few. All of these challenges can lead to communication issues that may ultimately hurt the business.
However, from this, a new trend is starting to emerge: service providers working for an affordable rate are now establishing in South America. These new groups of individuals and companies can deliver the same quality work that can be found elsewhere however they offer solutions to some of the shortcomings that offshoring holds.

What is nearshoring and how does it differ from offshore outsourcing?

Traditionally outsourcing or “offshoring” involves contracting IT or developer resources from countries in the Asia/Pacific region, with the most common locations being India, China, and the Philippines.
According to the term “nearshoring” refers to the practice of moving one’s employees or business activities from a distant country to a country that is closer to home. Nearshoring capitalizes on benefits of proximity, which include time zones, cultural and linguistic similarities, and political factors. When it comes to the United States, this means that companies would turn to countries in Latin America, (such as Panama, Colombia, and Uruguay) that are rapidly becoming new outsourcing hubs for IT and development projects.

Advantages of Nearshoring

Nearshoring has already been a popular option for the last several years in the manufacturing sector.

9 major reasons that are leading to the increase in nearshoring:

  1. The cost of labor in Asia/Pacific countries is rising; Latin American countries are now competitive in price
    • More than 10 years ago companies started using candidates from India and China. However this is rapidly changing, over the past few years the financial attractiveness of this option has become less favorable. According to Wendy Tate, assistant profess or logistics at University of Tennessee, “Chinese wages are now climbing at 15 to 20 percent per year… thanks to a supply-and-demand imbalance of skilled laborers in manufacturing regions, global pressure to upgrade Chinese labor practices and wages, and increased employee demands for better pay and conditions.”
  2. Time zone compatibility
    • A large concern of those who use offshore talent is that their team is 10-14 time zones away. The logistics of scheduling conference calls is challenging. When workers are in different time zones the offshore members of the team are left to do tasks overnight for managers to examine the next morning. Then if there are problems, the manager has to wait sometimes half a day to get the updates done. In addition to this, unnatural working hours can be a problem for employees. It takes a toll on them and affects their quality of work. However in contrast, the Latin American countries fall in the same time zones as the United States, which allows for real-time conversations, normal work hours and a higher quality of deliverables.
  3. Available Talent
    • A large selling point of offshoring to India, China and the Philippines is the high quality of education in those countries. However, because outsourcing in Latin America is just being discovered by the United States there is a very large pool of highly skilled, college-educated resources available. Universities in countries such as Columbia and Panama are well-respected in the educational community, hundreds of students from the United States travel there yearly as foreign exchange students. In addition to this, a large number of professionals in Latin America have attended universities in the United States and understand our market needs.
  4. Technology Infrastructure
    • In 2011, Latin America and Eastern Europe surpassed India in the growth of outsourcing facilities (Source: This is consistent with investment that have been made to improve the technology infrastructure over the past few years in Latin American countries. Fast internet connections, construction of new data centers, and improved telecommunications facilities are all helping to make the connection to US-based companies as seamless as possible.
  5. Language/Cultural similarities
    • When dealing with countries like China there can be a large communication issue when English is not their native language or not as commonly spoken. However with most nearshoring countries providers are highly proficient in English (or the language of their client), even if it is not their official language. This can be a great advantage when communication is primarily via phone and email.
    • There can also be cultural difference that can impact the work that the client does, in India there are completely different holidays then there are in the United States. Nearshoring greatly reduces these types of problems based on the fact that there is better communication and coordination between countries that have similar cultural backgrounds.
  6. Intellectual property protection
    • In many Asian countries, the incidences of IP theft and counterfeiting are widespread. However many Latin American nations have signed Free Trade Agreements with the USA, which should guarantee IP rights to foreign companies.
  7. Political risk and security
    • Geopolitical risk is a factor that should be strongly considered when evaluating outsourcing options. Does the country have a history of nationalizing privately-held business owned by foreign corporations? Can the government close down an operation that they consider to be contradictory to their philosophy? It is crucial to evaluate the political situation of the county where a service provider maintains staff.
  8. Trade regulations and compliance
    • In October 2011, the U.S. Congress approved trade agreements with Panama and Colombia that have created the largest opportunity for exporters in decades. This has also increased the chances of doing business with these countries. In addition to this, Panama agreed to become a full participant in the WTO Information Technology Agreement.
  9. Low staff turnover
    • According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, in 2010 the IT and BPO attrition rates in India reached a startling 55%. Companies are reluctant to enter long-term projects with an offshore team, knowing that over half of the original team will be gone within one year. However this situation has not been seen in Latin American countries; the family-oriented culture of these countries along with being in the same time zones as the US makes it less likely for them to leave a position.

The benefits of nearshoring are quite clear: low costs, compatible time zones, lower staff turnover, business-friendly climate, and better protection of your intellectual property. If you are looking to outsource IT or software development, you no longer need to look halfway around the world.
TxMQ provides WebSphere® software support services to supplement our clients’ internal technical teams with proactive proble resolutions for IBM®-based and other third-party middleware processing and software.

Remote Problem Management (RPM) for Middleware includes:

  • 24-hour, 7-day per week, North American-based phone support of all IBM middleware products, including but not limited to DataPower, CastIron, Portal and Process server, most Web-Servers, WebSphereMQ, WebSphere, WMB, Integration Bus, Tibco, and Database Software installed on mainframe and distributed systems
  • 8×5 support for all non-severe issues requiring Level 1 support
  • Support initiated via toll-free telephone number or electronic interface
  • Immediate support from a middleware technician (not a generalist)
  • Response time for calls placed into the toll free number is 30 minutes or less
  • Pricing based on environment size, NOT user or license counts.

For more information on Remote Problem Management or for a customized quote contact Miles Roty at 716-636-0070 (228) or email [email protected].