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Introduction

IBM MQ is the only messaging service that can assure you that messages are delivered once and only once.

IBM MQ is a point-to-point messaging service that can securely and reliably communicate between separated systems. With over 25 years of development, MQ refuses to remain static. It has been actively developed for all of that time and is highly relevant to digital transformation projects.

Using asynchronous messaging, MQ does not rely on applications being online to get a message sent or received. Messages will sit in a queue until the receiving application is back online so that they are not lost.

Two decades on and MQ is still doing what it was created to do.

Why upgrade?

If IBM MQ is so amazing and reliable, why do I need to upgrade? The answer is simple but varied.

MQ v9.3.0 Innovation

Whilst, yes, MQ is a dependable product that has stood the test of time, it has done so with hidden innovation, and by adapting to support new features.

By keeping up with changes in the digital landscape, MQ has evolved to keep its niche. Whether that be increasing deployment flexibility to allow for on-prem, cloud, SaaS or hybrid installations, or by encrypting the message itself (using Advanced Messaging Security). MQ has kept up with the demands of the market.

Most recently, this demand has been directed at cyber security.

MQ v9.3.0 Performance

IBM MQ has improved its efficiency over time. Not every business needs a sustained 12,000 transactions per second, but we are all looking for lower cost of ownership (TCO). Efficiency means less cores, less memory, and more bang for the buck.

MQ v9.3.0 Security

IBM MQ is a key feature of digital strategy and infrastructure within regulated industries and organisations. There has always been a focus on compliance and security. MQ v9.3.0 amplifies this and here’s why.

In highly regulated industries, an average of 24% of data breach costs were accrued more than two years after the breach occurred.

Data breaches in high data protection regulatory environments, such as the healthcare, financial, energy, pharmaceuticals, and education industries, tended to see costs accrue in later years following the breach.

The difference between low and high regulatory environments showed up in a pronounced way two years or more after the data breach. In highly regulated industries, an average of 24% of data breach costs were accrued more than two years after the breach occurred. This result compares to an average of 8% of costs accrued more than two years after a breach in low regulatory environments.

MQ v9.3.0 Supported Software

Unsupported software is vulnerable to cyber-attack.

Older security standards and lack of patches means that systems and data are left susceptible to breaches from malware and ransomware. With regulations such as GDPR in place, the organisation is responsible for keeping data protected. The costs associated with breaches and compliance issues now far outweigh the cost of updating your software.

Research from IBM suggests that ‘83% of organisations have suffered at least one breach’, with the ‘cost of a data breach averaging $4.35million in 2022’.

MQ v9.3.0 Compatibility

If you are running old versions of middleware, then it is likely that the underlying operating system and hardware are also old and potential weaknesses in your overall security and support arrangements.

You may have already found that the monitoring software or security systems cannot be upgraded because of compatibility problems.

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Recognise anyone?

In our experience most large companies and many smaller ones have used IBM MQ in the past for an isolated project or are actively using it now.

MQ has become a key component of your enterprise

You adopted IBM MQ 20 years ago to run a critical system. The product was recognised as a work of genius, and you have maintained and grown the IBM MQ installation. It is now a key aspect of your digital transformation strategy.

Keeping up to date with the latest versions of software ensures you have optimal features and functions. And for some industries that means the most up-to-date compliance measures.

Sustaining the momentum of your digital strategy demonstrates focus on compliance and security, leaving you less susceptible to audit or attack.

Responsiv can support your ongoing development and leverage of investment in IBM MQ. We can help you to upgrade systems attached to MQ, and support architecture discussions about how new features can be used to benefit new projects.

MQ has become a legacy part of your enterprise

You used IBM MQ 20 years ago and have not changed the installation since its deployment. It works and you now have limited skills and no reason to change.

We disagree. Growth, consistency, compliance, and cost are all good reasons.

Growth

With the applications being created 20 years ago, there is a high chance that the developers who built and managed the service have moved to a different role or even retired.

The software has stayed young and could be better used to drive growth in the business, and to extract further benefits from your investment.

Even the smallest problem or need to update the application may highlight an unprecedented skills gap and cost to bridge the gap and/or extend support.

Changing digital strategy that does not support this software.

If the organisation changes their digital strategy, there may be a demand to update the MQ installation.

This may come about due to the strategy dictating a need for new hardware, systems, or a move to cloud. If these changes do not support the old software, the risk is having to delay your strategy; supporting new and old hardware; or paying to upgrade the software.

Compliance

Many cyber insurances and certifications require your software to be maintained and supported. Old software represents increased cyber risk that exceeds your policy.

Industry regulations regularly dictate that software has to be supported and up to date with the latest security features. If organisations subject to these regulations do not adhere, then they risk facing audits and being charged with becoming compliant and/or paying a substantial fine.

Cost

You may have continued to pay IBM for Support and Subscription (S&S). This gives two opportunities. If the software is not going to be upgraded and is already end of life, then it may be cost effective to simply stop paying S&S. We do not consider this a good strategy in most cases.

The second option is to leverage the S&S being paid to download the MQ v9.3.0 software and use it. Read the features and see how your existing investment can be best used.

Our Point of View

Software should never dictate policy.

Art of the possible

If you are running IBM MQ in a legacy situation, then we can help you understand the options and how to remove the problem or bring IBM MQ back into the strategic picture. The decision is yours it’s just better informed of the options.

If IBM MQ is your strategic messaging middleware, then we can help you see new ways to take advantage of the software, ways to reduce the cost and to reduce compliance and other risks.

Just want it gone

Responsiv can help you to remove or migrate from IBM MQ if that is your strategy. We love the product but it’s not for everyone.

Blocking a move to cloud

If you have a legacy IBM MQ installation and application that is preventing a move to cloud, they why not talk to us about a Responsiv Cloud Custom Platform – intended for exactly this problem.

Lack of skills

If you have run out of skills and just want to maintain the status-quo Responsiv Assist Flex Support can provide cover (even without an upgrade). 

Conclusion

New options, features, and functions have been developed for MQ v9.3.0, meaning different approaches can be taken to upgrade based on your digital strategy.

When asking the question about why you should act, you have to look at the whole picture. Whilst your estate may be functioning as desired, you could be open to a host of regulatory and audit nightmares.

If your organisation requires messages and data to be sent securely across systems, a consideration should be made for the case of upgrading MQ.

Don’t let compliance and security weaknesses open your organisation up to audit and increased business risk.

References include research by IBM (see imbedded links).

Find Out More

To find out more about upgrading to IBM MQ v9.3.0, see our offer page, or, get in touch to talk with one of our experts!

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    Zoe Whyte

    Zoe Whyte

    Zoe is the Marketing Manager at Responsiv. She has a first-class degree in History and completed the miniMBA in Marketing.