How has it helped my organization?
It allows more people to be able to support the application. They have training and we get folks to actually go in and bounce services and update services through IBM MQ because it is graphical. It's fairly intuitive on what's there. It enables us to have better and deeper support as an organization.
What is most valuable?
What I like about IBM MQ is that the ability to add applications to it is quite simple. There are a lot of extensible options for security, i.e., various things you can do. It's pretty easy to navigate. It's pretty easy to install and use from that perspective. Those are the things that I really like about it. It's our web hosting application of choice over using something like Tomcat or whatever because you can click through it, you can see things, and it's a lot easier from an administrative standpoint.
What needs improvement?
I think one of the things to improve on could be more administrative profiles which might simplify the experience. IBM MQ has a lot of settings. We're only using probably a fraction, maybe 10%, of the overall settings. Working for a large aerospace/defense firm, we have pretty tight security. There are a lot of settings that we do have but we're still only just scraping the surface of what's there. Being able to get to those sub-menus can be a bit challenging.
So there's the fact that there's a lot in IBM MQ presenting only the options that maybe somebody might do, such as a web application administrator might have to do. They don't need to see all the other bindings that are there, so it could be a little overwhelming trying to find it. So, I think if there's anything, that would probably be it.
Presenting and maybe having some different options for different user experiences based on the administrative duties that you have to do as an app manager or configure the server or security would be an improvement. For instance, in our information insurance organization, we have folks that go in and look at the security bindings that we have with our applications. Having those different roles mapped would be an asset, so you're not having to go through all the various sub-menus to find it would be something that would, I think, take it over the edge.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability is really good, actually. We haven't had any issues with IBM MQ .
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We haven't had any issues adding applications to it and scaling up from it. So all in all, I think it's been fantastic.
How is customer service and technical support?
I would say that technical support is average. Obviously, we are going through their PMR system. They are such a large company. I think the availability of somebody on the phone or calling somebody when you need something fixed immediately is a bit challenging for the organization. I think that's an area that they can improve on.
If we have IBM MQ or one of the applications go down, our entire plant is down. Then sometimes, it's 2-3 hours or something before someone calls us back. It would be nice if we can call somebody and have somebody you can actually work with that is knowledgeable on the product right away. That's my only gripe.
For a lot of other things, like lower priority items, working through the PMR system's been fine. I think their system is good. I just think that they need to be a little bit more responsive to their severity one tickets.
How was the initial setup?
Initial setup was pretty straightforward. The more complicated part of it was the actual IBM CLM tools implemented within IBM MQ. IBM MQ itself was pretty simple.
I've heard that there have been challenges with upgrades, but we haven't gone through an upgrade cycle yet, at least in quite some time. We'll see how well that is but we haven't had that challenge yet.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We didn't evaluate any other products beforehand. It was just what IBM recommended.
Typically, what we'll do is, we'll go with the vendor recommendations because from a support perspective, if they're saying that because they support an application, we prefer to do go with that one because we know we can get the support as it goes on. That's really it.
Access to support is the most important criteria for me when assessing vendors. I think support is a key for us being in IT because we are supporting the application, so we need good support.
The second one is the ability to reach the developers on key issues and improvements that we would want to see in future versions of the application. Being able to influence the roadmap, I guess you could say. That would probably be the second thing we care about.
There are a lot of vendors that don't take that seriously. Like, you go in and you might have great features that would really broaden their product base, adoption of their tools. Some want to hear it; some don't. I think the ones that do hear that end up being more successful; they find ways to work that information back into their development stream.
That's probably the second most important criteria but, again, being in IT, I'm looking out for myself a little bit there. Support is number one.
What other advice do I have?
I don't think I'd give anyone any advice at all. It's pretty straightforward to go and implement. The only thing that I would say is that perhaps if you're - depending on what you need to do - like deploying some of the IBM CLM tools, you might look maybe for a lighter-weight solution because of those various menus.
I know there are other IBM products and there are various lighter-weight solutions that are provided as part of the IBM MQ family. Going with something that's not full IBM MQ but maybe one of the other IBM products that's much more suitable for your organizational needs would be a good choice.