IBM MQ Review

Guaranteed delivery, even when there are disruptions.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the fact that it's guaranteed delivery; it's conversational. A lot of our transactions are basically transactions back and forth between either rewards members, reservations and even between our databases. MQ gives us guaranteed delivery.

How has it helped my organization?

We're an IBM mainframe user. It folds into our hardware very well. Our support is covered that way. It's kind of an end-to-end type solution. It works well with the distributed partners. We use WebSphere, so we can go ahead, plug things in and they work.

What needs improvement?

They might be able to improve the monitoring features. When you're looking at distributed platforms, you're looking at different breakpoints to it. MQ has a good support structure, but it would be nice if they could kind of fold MQ into other tools to make it more resilient for other tools, other relationships, and other non-IBM platforms.

That's probably the strongest piece: being able to support the other customers. Eventually, if we can support them end-to-end and tell them where their problems are, we can bring them into our fold and make it an IBM fold.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is unrivaled. We've got no problems with it. It's like the mainframes. When you're looking at five nines for availability, it's there all the time. MQ is there all the time. If we have a problem, it's not part of the conversation. It's more of a case of a database on the other end that we're using as a repository is having a problem. You can go out there, store the messages, and guarantee delivery if there are any interruptions. It just works for us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's plug and play. If you need more, you can figure it out on the fly; you can add end points to it. The fact that you can add connections makes it very easy for us, because a lot of times we'll run into an issue where we get spikes in connectivity. We can go ahead and define something on the fly. We can go ahead and throw in the extra conversation, and queues aren't a problem at either end. The fact that we can reduce queues by adding extra channels is a great plus for us.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have only rarely used technical support, because you don't really need it. When we have used it, it's been very good. The SLAs and everything that we've got for tech support is being met. We've also been using it long enough that we've got some very solid support, as far as, we know who to talk to and when to talk to. It's been great for us.

How was the initial setup?

I was not really involved in the initial setup. I was probably around for it, but I had an applications background. I went from the systems side to the applications side, and back to the systems side. It was kind of the interim period. I'm not really responsible for the MQ right now. I'm more of a user of MQ and a supporting group. As a mainframe user, we basically have that relationship with them.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It's actually not a decision to use MQ, but maybe to expand MQ in some cases. It also is one of those places where you can't really go wrong by saying, “We're going to use MQ,” because it's proven.

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is probably stability. Relationships are important, but we're looking at up time. The better the up time is, the stronger we are, the better our product is, the better we are in front of customers. It used to be, when you were basically just facing other employees in the company, that's one experience. Now that you're facing the user with the dot-com boom, the world out there, everybody's on the end of a phone, our transaction counts have gone up exponentially. To have that relationship, and to have MQ being able to service what they service and support that expansion has been fantastic.

What other advice do I have?

Consider the pros and cons. For us, it’s reliability; it’s stability; it’s reputation. Do not get hung up on the fact that it is one of those "legacy"-type connectivities. A lot of people might not want to look at MQ, look at IBM or look at something because “that's the old way of doing things.” It's the current way of doing things. It's a leading-edge way of doing things, and the fact that it's there 100% of the time.

I'm not sure anybody’s perfect. They're very good at what they do. If they can play well with others, that's the real part of it right now. We're using WebSphere; we're using the mainframe; we're using the distributed side. As long as they can play with everybody, they're going to be a strong player. We'll be a strong proponent for them.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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