My visit to Think2019.

March 14, 2019

What is Think2019? It’s IBM’s flagship business and technology conference.

This year the hosting city was San Francisco. A very nice and cultural city, but I don’t think they took the weather into account in the decision of their lounge infrastructures at the conference. To summarize the weather during the convention: sunny with clouds, rain ,rain and some more rain.

Let’s talk about the content. Since I’m an integration consultant, I focused on the different areas of my professional experience: App Connect Enterprise (ACE), API connect, IBM MQ and Datapower gateway.

IBM Datapower

First of all Datapower gateway. This will be short. I found one side track session with the title, V2018 Gateway (IBM Datapower) Architecture Deep Dive. This covered actually what the difference is between the APICv5 and APIC v2018 runtime (Datapower). So, no more Multi-protocol gateway with xslt’s and gateway script but the new api gateway service with native implementation. The new implementation could be up to 5 times faster than the old implementation, tested with a proxy with oauth2.0.


I followed one IBM MQ session “What’s new with IBM MQ: Messaging for the Modern Era”. First things first, IBM presented a new logo for MQ.

As from MQ v9.1.2 the uniform cluster pattern is introduced. MQ will automatically share application connectivity knowledge between queue managers. Every member of the uniform cluster will detect an imbalance and request other queue managers to donate their applications. The MQ management is made simpler by adding a Web console, RESTful administration Administer and Simplified streaming of logs and metrics and much more.

IBM has another messaging product called IBM Event Streams. It’s basically Kafka packed as an IBM product so that one can have enhanced capabilities and IBM support. MQ handles Messages (“Work that needs to be done”), Event Streams handles events (“things that have happened”). Connecting the two together, flowing messages and events between them, enables you to unlock the full potential of your data.IBM provided connectors so that you can connect from MQ to Event Streams and vice versa.

IBM’s focused the last years on cloud, containers, microservices, agile architecture,.. and as presented, MQ is moving in that direction. You can deploy IBM MQ in any location or cloud, exactly as you need it.

Also a new type of licensing is introduced for MQ, pay per hourly/usage.

IBM Api Connect

What’s new on Api Connect V2018, like I said before the introduction of the api gateway service which increases the speed up to 5 times, the Open API v3 [MD3] standard is partially supported to be able to comply with the PSD2/open banking standard, istio ready architecture to complement capabilities of API management and microservices management and much more. IBM is heavily invested in this technology which results in being Leader in Forrester & Gartner 2018 Reports for api management solutions.

One of the Api Connect sessions I followed was “IBM API Connect Deployment Best Practices”. During this session they pointed out that they wrote a nice Whitepaper with a range of best practices, so if you are interested, do read it.

IBM App Connect Enterprise

Like I said before IBM is focuses on cloud, containers, microservices, agile architecture,.. This is also seen in IBM App Connect Enterprise (ACE v11). You can run and manage IBM App Connect Enterprise in any location or cloud exactly as you need it. ACE v11 license includes the use of the App Connect professional connectors for all sorts of connectivity.

One of big changes in ACE is again the introduction of the Integration Node, when you use ACE on a physical/virtual machine.

Some other new things:

  • Possibility to use ACE_DASHBOARD and have a combined view of your integration servers
  • http listener in native code, no more tomcat.
  • async callable flows
  • Rest api: an apiv2 for management and a datav2 for record and replay
  • server.conf.yaml and node.conf.yaml to configure and override the runtime, like JVM settings and logging/monitoring settings.

IBM plans to integrate all current v10 functionality into ACEv11 by the end of June. This implies that customers can start full migration to ACE, even for their most complex applications. We expect to see a big move towards ACEv11 in the next coming months.

Additionally, I followed very interesting sessions on Agile Integration. The next picture shows summarized what is meant with agile integration.

Like said during the sessions, companies have worked for years to have a decent centralized ESB infrastructure and to move to an agile setup, again some years will pass. More likely the most will be stuck in the middle, probably because that fits their needs.

As I’m a more technical guy, I also managed to follow some lab exercises, it’s always fun to have some hands-on exercise and in the meanwhile you can ask some questions about best-practices or other things to someone who is an expert in that technology. The labs that I followed are: Kubernetes 101 on ICP, Agile with ACE, APIC HA on Kubernetes.

To summarize: I had a great/interesting week.

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