What is most valuable?
The multiple queuing features, so that everything that we use for talking to our reservation system, the main system we use it for; whatever systems that are sitting on Linux or other environments such as AIX, and then talking to iSeries, which is our “mother ship”, the reservation system. The most valuable features are being able to handle those multiple queues and being able to scale properly.
How has it helped my organization?
Before we used MQ, basically it was more of a batch job, sending and receiving messages; kind of like an upload, download type of thing. Now, it's real time, where we can effectively handle millions of transactions an hour, once we implemented MQ.
What needs improvement?
My only thing for improvement would be the way that we've got it configured. I don't know if it's capabilities and using those capabilities. I feel that we installed it a little bit, say, out of the box. There's a different way we could set up some queue management, that we could do better. It's partly us, but probably using some outside resources to look at our transaction volume and flow. We set it up probably eight years ago and we haven't really changed it since. Our business has changed.
I would just like it to be more resilient. In that area, if there is something that happens, it would alert us better or reset itself automatically, which is the greatest thing, where it tells you, "Hey, there's a problem, but by the way, I've already taken care of it. Just so you know. " That's where I see we've had to do more application monitoring around that to do the actual queue management; understanding that something is wrong. It could help us do that. I lose sleep at night, because of, if we have issues.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is fantastic, basically because of the Power Systems. It scales along with whatever environment it's sitting on.
How are customer service and technical support?
We've had problem tickets and things that we've called in to analyze issues. The good part is that it never really was an MQ issue. It was some other issue that came out, but we would get them involved and they would be able to diagnose. It helped us a lot.
Their response was quick; very quick response and very detailed response. Basically, they usually do captures, send in the data and do the analysis. Usually, within 24 hours, we got the information back we needed.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
They were really just doing batch file uploads, downloads; probably a couple different things versus MQ. It was a big implementation from IBM. They partnered with us, also to help us. We also started slow and then used it in other areas as well.
What other advice do I have?
I highly recommend it, but I also highly recommend getting services with the actual product to make sure it's implemented correctly.
The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is truly being a partner; taking a little bit of the ownership; not just reading from the book of suggestions – because we can read that same book – but really understanding all of our environments, how we do business, make recommendations and implement them. That is important: not just making recommendations; doing it.