Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is Middleware a concept of the last millennium?

I would like to kick off my blog with a question.

As software evolves to an online consumption model, is Middleware a concept of the last millennium and will be replaced by an "integration as a service" model? And if yes, by when?

To this point, this does not seem the case, especially in enterprise software. In the enterprise software space, it becomes ever more important to ensure process integrity not just inside the walls of the enterprise, but across the entire value chain. And that "chain" evolves more and more into a true collaborative network, with rapidly changing endpoints and governance models.

But maybe the concepts of Middleware have to be re-thought?

Maybe its no longer about something that sits in the "middle", but something that "surrounds" the processes and provides services to deliver integrity & governance, transport & translation and more.

Maybe Middleware is dead. Maybe this is the age of ServiceWare? ProcessWare?

I look forward to your thoughts and comments on this


1 comment:

  1. Having followed middleware from its humble beginnings in remote database drivers through "total business integration" and "enterprise nervous systems", my analysis is that its perception always oscillated between a programming model enabler and an enterprise solution in its own right.

    Both don't give enough credit to the enourmous productivity and standardization benefits every application project using the right mix of middleware enjoys. Look at middleware modules powering today's Web apps - e.g. from the Apache group, PHP, Java etc. - democratizing Web app development tremendously by hiding technological complexity.

    I think the mistake was to force middleware to become a business solution in its own right. This created new islands of automation with little flexibility as requirements evolve. I'd say this kind of middleware is pretty much dead - you can have it easily in apps delivering already 80% of needed functionality.

    The modular, "hide complexity in projects" kind is very alive and kicking.