Why Solace is not good for an IBM MQ customer


Solace systems is a small venture-capital-based company with a messaging appliance that it positions as a messaging backbone.  One of their use cases is for the consolidation of IBM MQ workloads.  To this end, Solace claims that consolidating MQ Queue Managers into a Solace appliance results in savings due to less hardware, maintenance and administration.  A Solace appliance uses its own proprietary messaging protocol that would require MQ customers to re-write their client code to use it.  To alleviate this pain, Solace recently introduced a Solace-to-MQ bridge. If you are an existing MQ customer trying to reduce IT costs with appliances, Solace arguments would probably have resonated with you, but what about now that you have the option of upgrading to the IBM MQ Appliance?

IBM introduced the IBM MQ Appliance on February 17, 2015.  This appliance offers all the functionality of MQ but in an appliance format. If you are an IBM MQ customer and has been relying on it for many years, you are probably reluctant to switch to a different messaging solution. However, shrinking budgets and competitive pressures often prompt you to look at other alternatives.  So, if you are still considering a Solace appliance , I’d like you to consider the following:

  • The IBM MQ Appliance delivers the same exact level of transactionality, security, recoverability, reliability, high availability features out-of-the-box as IBM MQ, which has been in the market for over 20 years.  So, if you’ve been successfully relying on MQ to run your workloads, you can rest assured to do the same with the IBM MQ Appliance.  You can use the IBM MQ Appliance to extend your existing MQ footprint.
  • If your desire is to consolidate your MQ Queue Managers, the IBM MQ appliance is your perfect consolidation platform.  Adopting an IBM MQ Appliance is extremely easy; to start using it, you just need to install the IBM MQ Appliance in a rack in your data center and connect it to your network!  You can then consolidate many MQ Queue Managers per appliance with the added benefit of no source code changes or re-testing your entire messaging solution.
  • If you were to switch to Solace you will have to either:
    1. Re-write your client code and replace all of your MQ calls to Solace API calls.  This will be an extra cost to you since you’ll have to spend development, test, QA, and pre-production effort to accomplish this.  With the IBM MQ Appliance, client code is unaffected and all you need to do is point your clients to a different MQ Queue Manager, one that now runs on the MQ appliance.  This is done via configuration, not code changes.
    2. Use the Solace-to-MQ bridge, authored by Solace.  IBM has not partnered with Solace in the development of this bridge and hence it is not supported by IBM, nor can we comment on whether it is in any way suitable to exchange messages into and out of MQ.  IBM can modify/alter/extend the MQ interfaces at any point in time and customers using this bridge will have to wait until Solace updates it to take advantage of any MQ modifications.  With IBM MQ and the IBM MQ Appliance, you will never experience this time delay and you will be able to use any modification/updates/extensions immediately. Please see my other blog (http://whywebsphere.com/2015/02/24/beware-of-exaggerated-and-misleading-integration-claims-to-ibm-products-the-case-of-soa-software-and-solace-systems/) about this point.
  • Solace is a small private company mostly funded by venture capital investors, who obviously look for a significant ROI.  Therefore, these companies usually look to either be acquired or go public via an IPO (Initial Public Offering).  When either one of these happens, changes, in the form of product direction, offering modification, product deprecation, marketing, and corporate governance, always occur.  This introduces risk to your solution platform because of this uncertainty.  On the other hand, IBM, a company that has been around for over 104 years, continues to invest R&D into their connectivity products and supports more customers to process more messaging workload than any other enterprise messaging solution.

In summary, the IBM MQ Appliance is the natural upgrade for existing MQ customers (and even for non-MQ customers) looking to lower administration and maintenance cost and to increase their messaging performance.  The cost and risk associated to moving to a Solace appliance are clear indicators that choosing IBM MQ Appliance is the right way to go.

Lastly, here’s a great introductory video about IBM MQ Appliance delivered by Leif Davidsen, Senior Product Manager of IBM Messaging Portfolio:



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  1. MQGem Monthly (June 2015) | MQGem Software

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