IBM WebSphere MQ 7.5 versus Apache ActiveMQ 5.9

Failover, Transactional Integrity and Administration

IBM WebSphere MQ 7.5 versus Apache ActiveMQ 5.9

This paper provides a comparison of IBM WebSphere MQ 7.5 and the Apache Software Foundation's ActiveMQ 5.9, with detailed analyses of technical factors including stability, reliability, ease of use, performance, and operational capabilities.  

ActiveMQ and WebSphere MQ both meet very basic messaging requirements. However, customers in enterprise environments that need high availability and robust failover should seriously consider WebSphere MQ for the following reasons:

Failover: ActiveMQ lost or duplicated messages during “power outage” and “network failure” scenarios. This is unacceptable in enterprise environments.
Documentation: IBM’s documentation was far more complete and up-­‐‑to-­‐‑date than Apache’s, especially with respect to configuration, management, API documentation, and advanced configurations such as clustering, load balancing and high availability.
Performance: In persistent tests, WebSphere MQ performed 60 to 90 percent faster with messages ranging from 256 bytes to 1MB. (Because of network limitations, non-­‐‑ persistent tests were inconclusive, but initial results demonstrated an advantage for WebSphere MQ as well.)
Transaction Management: A major distinction between the two systems was the ease of managing transactions: whereas native WebSphere MQ capabilities allowed us to manage transaction between the database and the messaging server. ActiveMQ requires an external application server with XA support to control 2PC transactions.
Administration: ActiveMQ’s web console provides very limited functionality. For many basic and most of the advanced functions, such as editing queues or changing maximum message size users have to manually edit configuration files. Moreover, ActiveMQ requires a unique URL and separate browser window for each broker, while the WebSphere MQ Explorer allows users to administer multiple brokers from a single interface.
Platform Compatibility: WebSphere MQ is not only “supported,” but fully certified on a wide variety of platforms, from Windows and Linux to Solaris and HP-­‐‑UX. While ActiveMQ works on many of these platforms, it is not specifically certified with these platforms, including System z mainframe, still crucial in many production environments.
If high availability, reliability, usability, thorough documentation, and platform compatibility are NOT important, ActiveMQ may be a good platform. But for enterprise customers with reliability needs, WebSphere MQ is the superior choice.

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