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Microsoft joins Advanced Message Queuing Protocol WG

My friend and colleague Sam Ramji has just posted the news that Microsoft has been invited to join the AMQP Working Group  by the six founding members.

To avoid any confusion, this announcement is about open middleware rather than email systems. The current participants in the AMQP Working Group are:

  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deutsche Börse Systems
  • Envoy Technologies Inc.
  • Goldman Sachs
  • iMatix Corporation
  • IONA Technologies
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank & Co.
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Novell
  • Rabbit Technologies, a joint venture of CohesiveFT and LShift
  • Red Hat, Inc.
  • TWIST Process Innovations
  • WSO2, Inc.
  • 29West Inc.

The Advanced Message Queueing Protocol is an open specification supported by open source communities and currently implemented by Apache QPID, RabbitMQ, and OpenAMQ

Alexis Richardson of RabbitMQ (Alexis is also the co-founder of cloud computing company CohesiveFT) gave a good introduction to AMQP at the 2008 UK Microsoft Architects Insight Conference held in Windsor last April. His presentation included this view of the $2.5bn-£3bn Message Oriented Middleware market

MOM market

So some might therefore conclude that this announcement is simply a means of attacking IBM, particularly as, like the mainframe market, this is another example of an area where IBM isn’t interested in interoperability or standards.

Whilst this would be an understandable conclusion, I don’t think it would be correct. In fact the market is being held back by price and has the potential to much larger, as Alexis again shows with another graphic .. as large as $80bn!

MOM market potential

Sam notes:-

Our work in AMQP will be consistent with the commitment to openness outlined in July. The AMQP Working Group requires a limited royalty-free patent licensing commitment from its members and, as a participant, we have agreed to grant royalty-free patent licenses on specified terms to implementers of the specification.  

The AMQP Working Group is also not a formal standards-setting organization like ISO or a standards consortium such as the IETF, OASIS or the W3C, but rather a group of companies and organizations that have come together to develop a specification to improve interoperability for messaging solutions. Microsoft will help, as appropriate, the Working Group to take the AMQP standard specification to another standards-setting organization, should it decide to do so at a later stage.

So, in short, we hope to contribute to the development of the AMQP specification in ways that will promote interoperability for existing and new implementations. 

I’m pleased about this announcement, and there’s a European dimension too. AMQP has features that work very well for SEPA-based (Single Euro Payments Area) payment processing, such as authentication, queuing, routing and the ability to transport a wide variety of messages.