What is Message Queue (MQ) Software?

A Message Queue refers to a list or series of actionable work objects waiting to be dealt with by an agreed-upon IT process. The Message piece is data transported between a sending and a receiver application. There is a logical, sequential order of byte arrays with headers. Message Queues might contain information for one system to begin processing a certain task or may alert the system about a plain message or a finished task.

The basic architecture begins with producers, which create these messages and then deliver them to the resulting message queue. The messages are then stored for the consumer until the Message Queue is retrieved. Easy functionality is key for IT experts as there are usually priorities, so not having to immediately act on a message creates a bit of a buffer when managing many buckets at a time.

Message Queues are part of an everyday enterprise and do not always require an immediate response. Some Message Queues are known as an asynchronous communications protocol, (ACP) which, by definition is waiting for response based on the receiver. The best example of asynchronous messaging is email. When the email is sent, the sender is able to process all other work without having to receive an immediate response from the receiver, decoupling the producer of the data to the consumer. No interaction is required with the Message Queue by both participants at the same time. A Message Queue makes it possible to keep processes in an application separate and independent.

The best Message Queue systems are extremely user-friendly, easy to scale and easy to maintain. An IT department is often mobile and able to access the message on premises or with mobile tools. This lends itself to flexibility and maximizes productivity.

Find out what your peers are saying about IBM, Apache, VMware and others in Message Queue (MQ) Software. Updated: August 2020.
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