MQ – SSL/TLS Certificate Management

MQ Technical Conference.  September 2015.  Powerpoint presentation.
IBM MQ – SSL/TLS Certificate Management“  (55 slides).

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This presentation provides an overview of the lifecycle of both Personal and Signer x.509 certificates and then provides detailed examples of both Keystore and Certificate processing.  The entire Certificate lifecycle, from request to deployment, is covered and illustrated using screenshots from the IBM iKeyMan tool.  Finally, the tools available for Certificate management are identified.

By the end of the presentation, the viewer should have a basic understanding of the data content and Signing chain of an x.509 certificate as well as the lifecycle for a Certificate.  The viewer should be prepared to begin managing x.509 certificates in order to support MQ SSL/TLS channel processing.

MQ – SOA, Services, APIs, and MQ

MQ Technical Conference.  September 2015.  Powerpoint presentation.
IBM MQ – SOA, Services, and APIs“  (37 slides).

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This presentation covers the use of MQ to support Services and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).  The presentation covers basic software design principles (Loose Coupling, High Cohesion) and provides a summary of the SOA architecture and its principles. In particular, the presentation covers the role MQ plays in the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) architecture.

By the end of the presentation, the viewer should have an understanding of the fundamental software design principles, of SOA architecture and how it is built upon those principles, and the key role MQ plays in the SOA Enterprise Service Bus.

MQ – “Golden Image” Queue Managers

MQ Technical Conference.  September 2014.  Powerpoint presentation.
IBM MQ – “Golden Image” Queue Managers“  (33 slides).

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This presentation covers the creation of standardized Queue Managers.  These Queue Managers are to be built as copies of a “Golden Image”.  The automation of this creation process, the custom configuration that should be considered, and the supporting tools that may need to be deployed are all covered in this presentation.

By the end of the presentation, the viewer should have an understanding of how to define a “Golden Image” and how to automate the Queue Manager build and configuration process based upon the “Golden Image”.


MQ – Performance Analysis

MQ Technical Conference.  September 2014.  Powerpoint presentation.
IBM MQ – Performance Analysis“  (47 slides).

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This is the first of a series of MQ Performance presentations.  These presentations provide an overview of Performance and Capacity testing for both the MQ infrastructure and for MQ Applications.  This initial presentation covers the following points:

  • The “What” and “Why” of Performance Analysis
  • The required MQ foundational knowledge
  • The creation of a Process Model that will drive the analysis
  • Some of the available tools to conduct the analysis

By the end of the presentation, the viewer should have an understanding of how, and more importantly, what can be measured in terms of MQ performance and how those measurements can begin to be applied to real world Application performance questions.


IBM MQ, SSL/TLS, and Certificates

MQ Technical Conference.  September 2014.  Powerpoint presentation.
IBM MQ – SSL & TLS – A User Perspective“  (58 slides).

View the Presentation

The presentation provides an overview of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) / Transport Layer Security (TLS) processing and the lifecycle of x.509 certificates within these protocols.  The presentation covers the following points:

  • Business challenge that SSL/TLS address
  • SSL/TLS History (what it was and was not designed for)
  • Overview of x.509 certificate contents
  • The x.509 certificate management lifecycle
  • The certificate lifecycle, illustrated using the IBM iKeyMan tool

By the end of the presentation, the viewer should have a conceptual understanding of both SSL/TLS encryption across MQ channels as well as the lifecycle and management of the certificates that support that encryption.

Convergence: Operational & AI

As any of you who have either been following the changes in IT infrastructure or simply reading my whitepapers know, The Times They are a Changin’.  Just as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) moved computing from a homogeneous “single computer type” to a heterogeneous distributed computing model, so too is the Cloud changing the computing landscape.

Rings-Three-Interlocking-LabelsIn addition to the “OS Centric” (mainframe, UNIX, Windows, IBM i, etc.) and “Distributed” (SOA, ESB, etc.) computing environments, “Cloud computing” environments are here to stay.  Modern computing will be spread across all three of these environments.  In fact, computing will be spread across multiple Cloud provider offerings as well as into internal “private” Clouds.  To make all of this happen, significant advancements in software integration have been, and are continuing to, be made.  The Istio Service mesh is a great example of the trend in this kind of integrative capability.

Much of my writing has been focused upon the impacts of Cloud Computing to the “Transactional” or “Operational” side of business computing.   These impacts are very real and they are amongst the first ones that IT organizations have to deal with.  After all, the purpose of IT is to drive business, not the other way around.  Software integration capabilities are, however, breaking down other barriers.

In addition to our historical “OS Centric” and “SOA” computing environments, types of computing were also siloed.  Transactional computing (Banking, Point of Sale, Airline Reservations, etc.) has traditionally been separated from Analytical computing (Data Warehouse, etc.).  This was largely due to the fact that they had very different computing infrastructure requirements as well as different usage requirements.  These differing requirements led to a separation of the data and hence a separation of the associated computing capability.

The scalability and integrative capabilities of Cloud Computing are now beginning to make it possible to re-integrate these heretofore disparate computational functions.  Analytical capabilities are increasingly being exposed as Cloud hosted “Services”.  These Services may easily be invoked either by “transactional” workloads running in existing infrastructures or in newly developed “Cloud Native” workloads.  Transactional data can be passed to the Cloud for “Deep Learning”.  A whole new world of possibilities is opening up!

To prepare for this Brave New World, both the “Transactional” and the “Analytical” technical staff will need to develop an understanding of the concepts and technologies that are used outside of their own disciplines.  This transition begins with education and mutual communication.  Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for both of those activities online.  This conversation is, however, mostly definitely NOT limited to only the technical folks!

The conversation must, of course, also include the Business leader(s) responsible for both the “Transactional” and “Analytical” domains.  Creativity, business insight, and technical acumen will all be initially needed to exploit the emerging opportunities.  This is an area of tremendous potential:  the risks are low and the rewards are high.  A couple of possible examples of the synergy between these two disciplines include:

  • Applying Deep Learning to credit approval processing.
  • Applying Watson Personality Insights in Customer Service applications.  

What should your next steps be?  First, start learning about other Data Processing disciplines.  There are plenty of online opportunities.  If you don’t know where to start, just take a look under the “Credentials” menu.  Links to a large number of classes are there.  Take a look at the “Deep Learning” badge in the “Watson” section if you want to take a first look into machine learning.

Second, start conversing with a wider group, both technically and from a business and management perspective, within your organization.  Challenge yourself and others with new ideas.  Innovation feeds off of new ideas.  The cost of throwing a new idea into the conversation is near zero.  The rewards of a new idea successful impacting the business are large.  So, start the conversation.

Finally, don’t be afraid to champion new ideas.  Not even if they’re yours!  Change needs drivers.  Drivers need passion.  So, get passionate (but please remain respectful).  Get communicating.  Get behind the changes that you believe in.  Remember, all journeys begin with the very first step.

Apache HTTP Server – Control Commands

TechDoc.  Apache HTTP Server.  Administrative Commands.
December 2014. 8 pages.
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This TechDoc describes the Apache HTTP Server (httpd2), some of its configuration files, and its operational commands.  The primary control command covered is:

  • apachectl 

This document should provide all of the information necessary for an administrator to control (start, stop and restart) the operation of an Apache HTTP Server.