Looking back on 2018

In this post we look back on the year that was 2018 and what happened in both IBM MQ, and MQGem Software.

New Versions

Both IBM MQ and MQGem Software products had a number of new releases in 2018.

MQGem Software products

Three new versions of our premier product, MO71 – a graphical administrative product for IBM MQ. Version 9.0.6 was released in January with various new features including version checking. Version 9.1.0 was released in August providing support for IBM MQ V9.1, and then version 9.1.1 was released in December improving the Alter List dialog, providing proxy support, and support for IBM MQ V9.1.1.

MQSCX has had minor updates through the year to provide support for new IBM MQ command levels.

A new version of QLOAD – our unload/load IBM MQ queues product, version V9.0.1 was released in December with the capability to load messages from non-QLOAD format files. This feature is also included in MQEdit.

MQEdit – our live-parsing IBM MQ message editor – also had two new versions this year. Version V9.0.3 was released in March providing several features which make it easier to manage a group of users using the editor from a central position, and V9.1.0 was released in November with customer requested new features including Character Substitution Mode, Select All and loading messages from non-QLOAD format files.

A new product was added to the MQGem Software portfolio this year, by request, we made a fully support version of Q, based on Paul’s MA01 SupportPac.

IBM MQ Fix Packs and new function

The last Fix Pack on IBM WebSphere MQ V7.5, Fix Pack 7.5.0.9 was released in September.

Three new Fix Packs on IBM MQ V8. Fix Pack 8.0.0.9 was released in April. Fix Pack 8.0.0.10 was released in June. Fix Pack 8.0.0.11 was released in December.

Three new Fix Packs on IBM MQ V9. Fix Pack 9.0.0.3 was released in March. Fix Pack 9.0.0.4 was released in May. Fix Pack 9.0.0.5 was released in August.

2018 saw the latest major release of IBM MQ, V9.1.0, announced in early July and available at the end of July.

There were also two new continuous delivery (CD) releases made available in 2018. V9.0.5 in March, and V9.1.1 in November. Defect support for a CD release is available for 12 months from the availability of the release or while it remains one of the two most recent CD releases, whichever is longer.

2018 was the year that IBM got serious about IBM MQ in Cloud. In January IBM announced its new experimental IBM MQ on IBM Cloud service. Then in February IBM announced its IBM MQ on IBM Cloud service had now moved into Beta. Then in March the IBM MQ on IBM Cloud service, previously in Beta, was now generally available. June saw a new MQ cloud-related announcement as IBM MQ delivers MQ as a cloud service on IBM Cloud and hybrid licensing with IBM MQ Advanced to promote migration to the cloud. In August IBM provided AMS and TLS facilities on the MQ Cloud service. In September IBM announced that MQ is now available as a managed service on AWS. In December IBM provided Managed File Transfer facilities on the MQ Cloud Service.

Conference Events

There have been quite a number of events throughout 2018 that have had IBM MQ content delivered at them. A separate post contains all the material that is available on-line from these various events.

2018 has been a great year for all things MQ, including celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the original version of MQSeries. MQGem wishes all its customers, readers, and friends a Happy and Prosperous 2018. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Advertisements

Nostalgia: MQ’s 20th Birthday Party

As we approach the date for MQ’s 25th birthday at the end of this month, I want to provide you with some nostalgia from earlier birthday parties as MQ was growing up. I hope some of you recognise the parties that you attended, what fun we had.

Here are a few photos from MQ’s 20th Birthday Party.

The celebration for MQ’s 20th birthday was held at the IMPACT conference in Las Vegas on 1st May 2013. There was an evening drink reception with Hor D’Oeuvres and of course a birthday cake!

20th Birthday Invite

John McLean, who was at that time VP for WebSphere Connectivity Development, gave a speech about the importance of MQ and wishing MQ a Happy Birthday; then he cut the delicious looking chocolate cake.

MQ's 20th Birthday Cake

Were you there? Did you help celebrate MQ’s last major milestone?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nostalgia: MQ’s 15th Birthday Party

As we approach the date for MQ’s 25th birthday at the end of this month, I want to provide you with some nostalgia from earlier birthday parties as MQ was growing up. I hope some of you recognise the parties that you attended, what fun we had.

This is the party report from MQ’s 15th Birthday Party.

WebSphere MQ is 15 years old

On Wednesday 13th August [2008], at the SHARE Conference in San Jose, the MQ Project held a birthday party for WebSphere MQ to celebrate its 15th birthday. The theme of the party was MQ as your flexible messaging backbone.

All Birthday Party guests received a T-shirt, a WebSphere MQ pin-badge and a copy of the June/July issue of the z/Journal magazine containing the article “WebSphere MQ: A 15-Year Evolution to Today’s System z” [which can be read online here].

Twister

Twister to demonstrate your flexible messaging backbone

During the first half of the SHARE week, the MQ booth in the SHARE Technology Exposition was giving out quizzes for SHARE attendees to complete. The highest scoring completed quiz was award a prize, a $50 SHARE book-store voucher, at the birthday party. The winner of the quiz was Bruce Reinhardt.

Playing to the party theme there were games of Twister where the players represented the flexible messaging backbone joining up the red circles (transactions), to the blue circles (web services) and so on. Some players exhibited more flexibility than others!

Limbo Dancing

Limbo Dancing to demonstrate your flexible messaging backbone

There was also limbo dancing with a prize for the person who was able to demonstrate the most flexibility by limbo dancing as low as you can go. The winner of the limbo dancing prize, a $50 SHARE book-store voucher, was Bruce Reinhardt.

MQ snake computer game

High Score Table

MQ Snake Game High Score Table

Continuing on the theme of flexible backbones there was also an MQ Snake computer game, where you moved your snake, drawn as a flexible backbone round the screen consuming envelopes (representing messages) and attempting to avoid hitting your own tail. The MQ Snake game used many of the features in MQ Version 7, including publish/subscribe to move the messages about under the covers allowing all games to receive a copy of the high score table and, when playing in multi-player mode – to send around the messages detailing the positions of each snake to the other players. The winner of the MQ Snake game with an outstanding set of scores filling the top four places in the high score table was Jim Areges. Jim was awarded a $50 SHARE book-store voucher.

Snake Game

How many messages can your snake eat?

Birthday Cake

Once the party was in full swing we cut the MQ Birthday Cake and everyone had a slice, some had two or three!

15th Birthday Cake

15th Birthday Cake

The SHARE MQ Project would like to say a big Thank-you to all those that helped to organise the Birthday Party. A great time was had by all.

Nostalgia: MQ’s 10th Birthday Party

As we approach the date for MQ’s 25th birthday at the end of this month, I want to provide you with some nostalgia from earlier birthday parties as MQ was growing up. I hope some of you recognise the parties that you attended, what fun we had.

We start with the party report from MQ’s 10th Birthday Party.

WebSphere MQ’s 10th Birthday

MQ 10 year Logo
MQ’s 10th Birthday was celebrated in high style at the SHARE conference in Long Beach, California (http://www.share.org) this week [24th February 2004]. The party was held as part of a week long program of MQ and WBI sessions.

Anthony O'Dowd

Anthony O’Dowd

The session began with a brief history of MQSeries and WebSphere MQ, respectfully and humourously given by Anthony O’Dowd from the Hursley Lab. This historical look at the product recognized the various people who helped to bring MQ to the position it is in today. [The script from Anthony’s speech that day can be read here.]

After the serious business of a history lesson was over, the fun began, in the form of a “Weakest Link” style MQ quiz. Six volunteers dressed in T-shirts sporting the new WebSphere MQ 10 year logo, participated as contestants and were asked questions ranging from MQ topics; 10 year ago facts; UK and USA comparisons; and photos of developers at age 10. After each round of questions, the contestants were asked by quiz mistress Morag Hughson, to vote off the weakest link. In a change from the television program, the weakest link did not leave with nothing, but in fact left with a bag of nostalgic MQSeries goodies.

The final round of questions went to a sudden death stage with the final two contestants being equally matched. However, Victoria Albanese from JP Morgan Chase was the eventual winner. Once the nip-and-tuck of that final round was over, the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to MQ and we cut the cake generously provided by Candle Corporation. Everyone relaxed and enjoyed the cake whilst reminiscing.

Team Cake

The SHARE MQ Project Team
Gary Ward, Richard Harran, Steve Hanson, Victoria Albanese, Ian Harwood, Morag Hughson, Andy Wilkinson, Ray Sun, Matthew Golby-Kirk, Anthony O’Dowd, Prasad Imandi

All in all, the party was a great success and everyone who attended had a great time.

Audience

Audience at MQ’s 10th birthday party at SHARE

Announcing Q from MQGem

SupportPac MA01 was written by Paul Clarke back in June 1995. It was one of the first SupportPacs for MQ as you can tell by its number. Paul wrote it because the amqsput, amqsget and amqsbcg samples didn’t give him the flexibility he wanted. It became a very handy tool in the pocket of many an MQ administrator over the years.

When Paul left IBM to form MQGem Software, the MA01 SupportPac was discontinued, and it’s source code put on GitHub for anyone who wanted to build it and run it themselves. However, many MQ users don’t want the complication and expense of looking after home-built tools, and would prefer a fully supported product. As such, a few of our customers have asked whether we would be willing to continue to maintain and enhance the Q program, and so here it is.

Q program pocket knife

A veritable pocket knife of features

The Q program from MQGem has moved on a little from the last version that was the MA01 SupportPac, after all we’ve continued to use it as a very helpful tool here inside MQGem Software. Some of the new features are:-

  • IBM MQ Multi-version Support
    Q will load the MQ libraries from the place identified by setmqenv.
  • New help features
    To make it easier to find the option you are looking for since the Q program does have a lot of flags!.
  • Message formatters added
    Formatters for JSON, EDIFACT, CSV and FIX message formats have been added.
  • Character substitution
    This will display text such as > as the character ‘>’.
  • 64-bit executable
    The Q program is now 64-bit across all platforms.
  • Minor flag enhancements
    1. The special message format string which starts with the ‘#’ character previously had a 40 character limit. This has been lifted.
    2. MQRO_PASS_CORREL_ID has been added to the confirm options on the -n flag as -n[passc].
    3. You can use -dt to print out the offsets of a message
    4. The prompt menu used by -xc to set various client connection channel settings such as TLS and exits has been updated to only request valid exits for a client channel, and to use a more modern CipherSpec by default.
    5. The use of truncation on an MQGET has been made safer by requiring the user explicitly select MQGMO_ACCEPT_TRUNCATED_MESSAGE when using the -=> flag by using the optional ‘t‘ flag, to give -=t<length>.
    6. The Commit interval (-p) flag has been extended to also take an optional commit interval after which an incomplete transaction, that is one that has not reached the requested total number of messages, will be committed anyway.
    7. The subscribe call created with the -S flag can be additionally configured to use MQSO_SET_CORREL_ID by using the -gc:CorrelId flag.
  • Flags renamed
    Some minor flags have been renamed to improve usability and consistency. These are listed in full in the User Guide. The majority of the flags are exactly the same as they were in the Support Pac.

Even if you don’t intend to purchase a licence, you may find value in downloading the user guide. At long last we have a manual for Q! As we said above, the parameters are not absolutely identical to the SupportPac, but the majority are the same, and the vast majority of the manual is still applicable to the SupportPac. You may well discover features you never knew that Q had.


Read more about the new product, and download a copy, from the Q Web Page. If you would like to try out MQGem’s Q program before deciding whether to buy then send an email to support@mqgem.com and a 1-month trial licence will be sent to you.

What’s in Command Levels 91x

MQ91x StairsIBM MQ released Long Term Support release V9.1.0 back in July 2018 which had a Command Level of 910. The subsequent Continuous Delivery release V9.1.1 introduced its own Command Level 911.

This post captures the changes that are available in Command Level 911.

Release Command Level Features protected by Command Level – details below
V9.1.0 910 This command level rolled up all the changes in the prior Continuous Delivery releases detailed in What’s in Command Levels 90x.
V9.1.1 911 Simpler TLS CipherSpec selection
Scripting enhancements for stateful objects

Simpler TLS CipherSpec selection

An additional value has been designed for the channel SSLCIPH field to allow the selection of a group of Cipher Specs instead of just selecting an individual one. In addition, the SECPROT attribute I wrote about in Know your protocol has been extended to IBM MQ for z/OS. Mark Wilson has written about this in an IBM Messaging Blog Post: Allow IBM MQ channels to use ANY_TLS12.

Channel Object

Updated attribute MQSC name
See DEFINE CHANNEL
Look for KC 911 indicator
PCF constant and values
See Change, Copy, and Create Channel
Look for KC 911 indicator
SSL Cipher Spec

SSLCIPH

MQCACH_SSL_CIPHER_SPEC (3544)

  • String of length MQ_SSL_CIPHER_SPEC_LENGTH (32), new possible value “ANY_TLS12”

Channel Status

New attribute MQSC name
See DISPLAY CHSTATUS
Look for KC 911 indicator
PCF constant and values
See Inquire Channel Status
Look for KC 911 indicator
SSL Cipher Spec

SSLCIPH

MQCACH_SSL_CIPHER_SPEC (3544)

  • String of length MQ_SSL_CIPHER_SPEC_LENGTH (32) showing Cipher Spec in use
Security Protocol

SECPROT

  • NONE
  • SSLV3
  • TLSV1
  • TLSV12

MQIACH_SECURITY_PROTOCOL (1645)

  • MQSECPROT_NONE (0)
  • MQSECPROT_SSLV30 (1)
  • MQSECPROT_TLSV10 (2)
  • MQSECPROT_TLSV12 (4)

Scripting enhancements for stateful objects

Various IBM MQ objects have state associated with them, for example channels or listeners, and when running commands in a script to start such objects, it can be complicated by the failures that occur when the object is already in the state you want. You didn’t want your script to fail just because the listener is already started, you wanted it to carry on. Command level 911 adds a keyword to help with such scripts.

Start and Stop Channel/Listener/Service

New attribute MQSC name
See START and STOP CHANNEL
See START and STOP LISTENER
See START and STOP SERVICE
Look for KC 911 indicator
PCF constant and values
See Start and Stop Channel
See Start and Stop Listener
See Start and Stop Service
Look for KC 911 indicator
Ignore State

IGNSTATE

  • NO
  • YES

MQIACF_IGNORE_STATE (1423)

  • MQIS_NO (0)
  • MQIS_YES (1)