Welcome to AMQP, Microsoft

October 24, 2008

by Red Hat Enterprise MRG Team

Today, Microsoft announced that it has joined the AMQP working group. As a founding member of the AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) working group, we at Red Hat are excited about this development.

Just as Red Hat has been adding native AMQP support into the Linux platform and ecosystem at Fedora and through Red Hat Enterprise MRG, Microsoft is bringing AMQP support to Windows and its ecosystem. Between Linux and Windows, AMQP will become a standard messaging facility on the vast majority of operating systems and server platforms. It will offer a new level of interoperability between Linux and Windows using open standards and open source software. And, it is designed to lead to breakthroughs in everything from core infrastructure software to management tools to next-generation applications and architectures. At Red Hat, we are already building upon our AMQP messaging implementation for everything from virtualization management to security management to monitoring.

Enabling Next-Generation Architectures
AMQP is the industry’s first standard for messaging that spans from the wire-level to the semantics of messaging; it provides a full specification of an Internet Protocol for business messaging. This is significant because before the arrival of AMQP, no two messaging implementations could natively interoperate with each other - even though messaging software’s core mission is to distribute data across disparate systems. Furthermore, with the rise of messaging-based architectures like SOA or EDA and the critical nature of messaging to many of today’s networked applications, the lack of a standard in messaging is a major obstacle for integration and developing next-generation applications.

People used to have to purchase TCP/IP stacks until they became a standard facility in operating systems. Once that happened, there was a tremendous leap forward in networking and networked applications, even though the technology was previously available. The fact that everyone could now count on this same network protocol to be ubiquitous and interoperable meant that applications and architectures started depending and building upon this capability in ways that previously no one had envisioned. The same thing happened with other standards, like http. The same thing is happening with technologies like virtualization. And, the same thing will happen in the messaging space via AMQP - in today’s networked world, when developers can count on the prevalence of a common messaging protocol with authentication, security, reliability, and all the desired patterns like point-to-point, publish/subscribe, or eventing, they will unleash a new generation of applications and architectures that we have only begun to imagine.

Microsoft’s joining AMQP and decision to integrate AMQP into its platforms, combined with the work that we have already been doing with AMQP at Red Hat and elsewhere, has made the fulfillment of AMQP’s promise inevitable and quite exciting. But, this does not diminish the contribution of others. The AMQP working group already has a well-esteemed set of members, ranging from software vendors like Red Hat to hardware vendors like Cisco to end-users like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Börse. See the full list of participants here. Indeed, one of the unique hallmarks of the AMQP working group is that it started as an initiative at an end-user (JPMC) and has many other end-users contributing to the specification. This ensures that AMQP is developing into a standard that solves and addresses significant real-world issues rather than just being a lowest-common denominator amongst various competing vendors.

Legal Note
Because this will be of concern to many people - particularly in the open source community - it is worth pointing out one of the legal ramifications of Microsoft joining AMQP. There is a strong IP provision in the contract for joining the AMQP working group. Anyone joining the AMQP working group must freely license IP that is used by AMQP - AMQP is and will always be an open standard that is free to implement. By joining the AMQP working group, Microsoft has signed this contract. So, there is no threat of Microsoft holding the AMQP standard hostage via patent threats.

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