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Overview

Key similarities and differences between IBM MQ and IronMQ

  • Iron.io focuses on the modern cloud, building all its tool with this in mind, whereas IBM is still moving from conventional computing to cloud-based computing
  • Iron.io works with the latest messaging services whereas IBM MQ may have integration issues
  • IBM MQ is more expensive than IronMQ
  • IBM is a universally known brand in computing while Iron.io is a trusted name in the world of cloud-based development and deployment. Both MQ tools excel in terms of security and persistency. Message queue tools are just about essential in modern application development and deployment. Without them, you risk data loss or corruption anytime there’s a spike in traffic or a coding error. Your message queue (MQ) tool is basically a data pipeline that queues up data and doesn’t get rid of it until it’s sure it’s safely at the destination endpoint.

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What is a Message Queue Tool?

Message Queues work in a very similar way to the message centers for cell phones. When you send an SMS to your mom, it doesn’t go direct to her phone. It’s routed to a message center, then passed onto your mom’s phone when the center can see that she has signal, or the phone is on. The center will hold that message for a specified length of time, until your mom’s cell phone pings back that it’s received the message. Only then will the message center purge that message from the system.

In a similar way, MQ tools connect various different components or systems, without them having to talk directly to each other. Data transfers as messages, which the MQ looks after until the receiving system sends an acknowledgment of receipt. This avoids data loss, corruption, and ultimately creates a better user experience.

Message queues are ideal for asynchronous requests, where processes may be happening all at different times. A queue can hold onto these requests until the desired time, rather than pushing them all out to the endpoint at once. MQ tools are also vital when communicating with systems or applications that process messages at different speeds. An MQ can hold data back from the slower processing apps, and push it quickly to the fast processing apps.

What is IBM MQ?

IBM is obviously a big name in the world of information handling. Their history goes right back to the 1880s, astonishingly, with some of the earliest computers linked to IBM’s founders. Today, their focus on digital and cloud computing is so strong that they are in the process of splitting their company into two, as they expand further into cloud-based development.

IBM MQ is their version of the message queue tool that works pub/sub, point-to-point, or as direct file transfer. There is also a multicast function.

What is IronMQ?

IronMQ is a highly scalable message queue service with high elasticity and the ability to deal with spikes and dips in traffic as needed. Scalability means you can add power to your message queue as and when you need it; you suddenly have 50 more processes you need to run? No problem, IronMQ can handle it.

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IBM MQ Pros and Cons

Pros

Security: IBM prides itself on incredible levels of security, and that includes your business data.

Ease of use: Although all MQs take some getting used to, IBM hasn’t made theirs overly complicated, which is good to hear from a big name brand.

Cons

Problems with prioritization: Users sometimes complain about problems with message prioritization and customer isolation. It seems that IBM MQ doesn’t like the “First in, First Out” (FIFO) method of allocating messages, and will sometimes allocate messages in an order that doesn’t suit the particular process.

Integration: IBM MQ does not always integrate with the newest forms of messaging, noted by users trying to integrate it with services like Kafka. This may change as IBM moves deeper into the cloud-based world of computing, but for now, it seems that could still be a limitation.

Cost: Cost varies depending upon other IBM products you may have. For example, someone who had already paid for IBM Message Broker should have the license for IBM MQ. IBM works on a bespoke basis for their MQ tool, but generally, it’s considered expensive and aimed at larger enterprises, with the cost making it prohibitive for smaller businesses.

IronMQ Pros and Cons

Pros

Developer Friendly: IronMQ uses REST API making it perfect for developers used to working with pretty much any web-based system.

Speed: IronMQ is consistently one of the fastest message queue services around. In fact, IronMQ clocks at up to 10 x the speed of competitor RabbitMQ.

Persistent: IronMQ is always persistent meaning that there is zero chance of data loss during transfer.

Cost: There’s always the option to try out any of Iron.io’s offerings before committing, meaning there’s no unnecessary outlay for something that’s not entirely suited to your business or development needs.

Cons

Detailed user interface: This can be a learning curve for anyone new to the world of MQ tools, however, the online resources from Iron.io and customer support are more than sufficient to help deal with any issues that might arise.

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IBM MQ Vs IronMQ: The Verdict

Any business that wants to future proof itself needs to be looking towards data management tools that work with the modern cloud seamlessly. MQs need to be scalable, integrate with plenty of tools, and they should be intuitive to use. When it comes to IBM MQ vs IronMQ, it’s IronMQ that manages to tick all of those boxes.

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