MQMONA – Command Server Agent for IBM MQ

The MQMONA Command Server Agent for IBM MQ is a new offering from MQGem Software which aims to improve your MQ administrative command experience when network latency is high, bandwidth is low and/or you have large numbers of MQ objects.

To understand the benefits that MQMONA can bring, you should first understand the way the IBM MQ Command Server works.

When you issue a command to the IBM MQ Command Server, such as the MQSC command to display all queues, or the PCF command to Inquire Channel Status, your administrative application places a single command message on the SYSTEM.ADMIN.COMMAND.QUEUE, and provides the name of your ReplyToQ in the Message Descriptor. The IBM MQ Command Server sends the response messages that answer your command, to your nominated ReplyToQ.

The responses take the form of a single message for each item returned. This means if you displayed 1000 queues, your administrative application would be sent 1000 messages to retrieve from it’s ReplyToQ. When latency is high, having to make numerous line turn-arounds is a costly factor in retrieving all those reponses.

Using MQMONA as a locally running agent, means that your administrative application actually puts its command message onto the MQGEM.MQMONA.COMMAND.QUEUE, and MQMONA picks it up, changes the ReplyToQ and sends it on to the IBM MQ Command Server. This means that MQMONA receives the 1000 separate messages on its ReplyToQ, and when it does, it consolidates those reply messages together into several, or perhaps even just one larger reply message which it then puts to the original ReplyToQ for your administrative application.

The workflow when using the MQMONA agent

The IBM MQ Command Server also blank pads all string fields to their full length (with the notable exceptions of those that have a 10K maximum length – thankfully). This means channel status, as an example, has a 264 byte CONNAME string which is generally mainly blanks. MQMONA removes those blanks and updates the PCF lengths to match to ensure a much shorter, but still correctly formed PCF message.

In our experiments on some high latency/low bandwidth networks, we saw 300% improvement in response times. Some more detailed numbers can be viewed in the User Guide.

The MQMONA agent is based loosely on a simple sample that used to ship with the MO71 Support Pac in the days prior to MQ V7. It was retired when the IBM MQ product added the client read-ahead feature which provided a different solution to the same problem, and it seemed that the agent was no longer necessary. In recent times, we have been requested by some users to revive the agent as use of the read ahead feature does not always provide the necessary relief.

The agent is free to use with your existing MO71 and MQSCX licences. Why not take a look and see if it can give you some benefit.

Read more about MQMONA, and download a copy, from the MQMONA Web Page.