Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Friday, September 22, 2017
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Survey Sees Major Middleware Overhaul 

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Among the implications of the enterprise migration to the cloud is a predicted overhaul of middleware platforms over the next several years as the integration of business applications drives adoption of cloud-based alternatives.

A recent IT survey on the state of middleware market notes that many of these integration platforms were rolled out more than 20 years ago. With the rise of enterprise clouds, the vendor survey commissioned by integration platform and data management specialist Liaison Technologies, found that 76 percent of the companies polled said they plan to replace their middleware platforms.

Further, the survey conducted by market analyst Aberdeen Group forecasts that 84 percent of all enterprise middleware platforms will be replaced over the next four years.

The primary driver of the middleware overhaul is growing demand for integration among enterprise applications. "This shift makes sense as companies look for greater flexibility, scalability and predictable cost models," explained Michael Caton, an Aberdeen research analyst who authored the middleware report.

The survey also found that only 30 percent of companies replacing aging middleware platforms are considering on-premise platforms. A large majority (84 percent) said they must combine more than 50 business applications. The growing number of disparate applications and data sources is putting pressure on companies to rein in integration costs while finding developers with the cloud-based skills to handle integration tasks, the survey found.

Among the cloud-based approaches are integration platform services that provide IT teams with self-service integration tools. Managed services vendors such as Liaison Technologies, based in Alpharetta, Ga., assert that requirements for integrating business applications while complying with data governance rules are prompting more companies to consider managed services. “The complexity of on-premises middleware environments, driven by the proliferation of business applications, is leading companies to look for new answers," argued Rob Consoli, Liaison Technology's chief revenue officer.

Cloud-based managed services are also seen by companies struggling to merge enterprise applications as a way of freeing up developer resources in order to focus on higher-level programming. Forty-six percent of companies surveyed cited the need to boost developer productivity, reflecting growing enterprise demand for big data analytics and integrating Internet of Things devices.

The survey also revealed that managed integration services are increasingly seen as a way of ensuring that IT operations comply with a growing list of IT certification programs covering security, data governance and risk assessments. One industry-specific example is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation covering the storage of electronic patient records and electronic signature.

"With so many organizations planning to partially or fully replace their existing [middleware] platforms and move to the cloud, IT groups will be dramatically changing the way they manage data integration across their enterprises," the study predicts.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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