This paper provides a comparison of IBM WebSphere MQ 7.5 and the Apache Software Foundation’ʹs 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
- 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
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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