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MQ upgrade on large mainframe banking platform






Customer Context

A major bank had a large mainframe banking platform using MQ V7.1 in COMPAT mode so were out of support and not taking advantage of some recent features of MQ. Agenor were able to help identify and design a route to upgrade to MQ V9.0, considering some of the technical challenges that prevented a straightforward migration. WebSphere V6 was in use which was not compatible with MQ V9 and so this had to be managed by a separate Agenor-led project to migrate these applications and infrastructure onto a distributed platform and these dependencies factored in and managed by cross project planning and communication. Throughout the project as we identified issues with missing or incorrect configuration items we were able to address these or recommend best practice to additionally put the platform on a safer and more resilient and consistent position.   

MQ is at the heart of our transaction processing engine. With Agenor, we found the expert and trusted partners we needed to embark on this vital, high-risk project."

Head of Middleware Services


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The Problem

A major UK bank had out of date support MQ software used within their critical payments environment and had a number of challenges to get to a better supported model. The version of WebSphere in use was not compatible with the new version of MQ and had to be re-platformed onto a distributed platform. Agenor were able to help design and run several projects with interdependencies to allow the upgrade to MQ V9.0 to be performed. We then rolled out the upgrades across 7 Parallel Sysplex environments covering sandpit, development and User Acceptance Testing before upgrading the Production estate.

The Goal

  • Migrate WebSphere V6 off the mainframe 
  • Upgrade MQ to the latest supported level 
  • Implement MQ V9 NEWFUNC mode to allow for the new features to be utilised 
  • Knowledge transfer to bank support staff 

The Challenge

The MQ estate had been upgraded some years previously to MQ V7.1.0 but had never been fully implemented to New Function Mode so a number of new features were not being used. This meant that some additional actions were required to be added into our upgrade plans to upgrade to MQ V9.0. We also had to ensure that the migration fixes were rolled out onto the current system first to support the new version running alongside the current level in a phased approach. The nature of the banking platform meant we had to break down the implementation into multiple phased rollouts so as to ensure customer facing services continued to run at all times without downtime or outages.


The Result

  • WebSphere V6 re-platformed onto Linux and upgraded to WebSphere 8.5
  • MQ upgraded to MQ V9.0 across 7 Sysplex environments
  • 61 Production queue managers in scope out of a total of 164 queue managers
The Outcome  
  • WebSphere applications and infrastructure migrated to Linux
  • 164 queue managers upgraded in total of which 61 were in Production 
  • MQ V9 New Function Mode implemented 
  • Report issued post upgrade to identify any shortcomings or misconfigurations to be addressed to improve the performance, availability and reliability of the MQ platform generally. 
Successful upgrade to MQ V9.0
Continuous and communications from Agenor Team
No impact to ongoing programmes
No customer impacts

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