Top 3 Middleware Solutions Popular in 2021
Imagine a large company like Amazon has many systems and processes inside that are not connected at the software level. Each department has its closed digital system, and employees have to spend more effort to maintain operational integrity. It was so a few decades ago. But middleware tools laid the foundation for business process design, providing seamless integration of internal components between themselves and external sources to ensure efficient company activity. So, let's consider what middleware is and why it has no expiration date.
What Is Middleware And What Does It Do For Business
In this Article:
1.2. A Piece Of History
What Is Middleware And What Does It Do For Business
Middleware: Definition and Features
There is no common understanding among programmers of what middleware is. Some people think that it can be any software, depending on the purpose of its usage. But to be more precise, middleware is a kind of software that acts as a link between external/internal systems and components.
It provides high-level capabilities that go beyond the core system features. For example, it makes static processes (storage of data in the database) dynamic (automatic notification of all interested parties about any changes in the database).
Everything that can be considered as middleware has the following peculiarities:
without it, systems associated with such middleware would have to include it as a component, which would lead to duplication;
it does not require special hardware;
it is very often a connecting link between systems/components written with different technologies and needing interaction.
Following the Mordor Intelligence research, the middleware solutions market value was $33.8 bln as of 2019. It’s expected to grow up to $51.2 bln by 2025. The shining middleware examples could be IBM (WMB / IIB), WESB, Datapower XI50, Oracle Fusion, Mule, etc.
A Piece Of History
As seen, the business needed a solution that allows system integration. Without middleware, companies would have to connect systems directly, which means they would have to use the same stack to build them. Changing such systems, in general, would be a much more complicated, resource-intensive, and time-consuming process.
The first generation middleware products were Tibco Rendezvous and IBM MQSeries. They had operated under the above principle of transferring information. Soon, another issue arose: the different data formats, which must be adapted for reading by each system. But the middleware was also able to solve it.
There was a time when companies used the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) heavily. It is a middleware architecture that provides connections between systems and acts as a router for data management. The interaction of components is carried out through a bus, the tasks of which are similar to those of a conventional computer bus (processing data transfer from one component to another without coding procedure).
But with technological development, the processes became more complicated, and business customers - more demanding. Middleware solutions have evolved too. Now they do not provide elementary interaction between systems. They are core for conducting an effective business process design/redesign. The last one allows the business to operate and change following the needs of itself. Business demand and development is the first thing, considered during the new component (here, middleware) creation.
Core Types Of The Middleware
Database middleware. It keeps interaction between remotely located databases (or databases and other systems), gathers, proceeds, and transfers data contained there.
Remote procedure calls. It allows system functions distribution across multiple platforms. Local programs can request service from software located on a remote computer. This middleware is used to provide synchronous data transfer when both client and server online during their communication.
Object middleware. It runs all kinds of communication between system components, allowing for transferring requests and other data using an object-oriented system.
Message-oriented middleware. It’s used for reliable and secure storage, transfer of protected information (like personal data) between internal and external systems.
API or protocols help systems, written using different technologies, to interact seamlessly with each other. During the operation, each system does not need to consider how another one was implemented.
What Principal Tasks Middleware Can Perform
It provides an effective business process implementation, connecting completely different components. Middleware is always about communication between systems and subsystems. Therefore, it is the main task of this software.
Middleware enables major systems to remain authentic and independent. In the case of point-to-point integration (especially if one system is integrated with several at once), a moment comes when it is impossible to make changes to this system without changing all the components connected with it. This is unreasonable, and middleware solutions help to bypass this way.
Its usage is essential in moving from the monolithic architecture to the microservice one. It allows large and vital monolithic systems (ERP, CRM) to become flexible, working with the main body of data, and providing the core system with always relevant information for further processing.
Middleware reflects the business logic that integrates the company's systems into a whole one.
What Determines Middleware Application Efficiency
There is no bad middleware, there are cases of misapplication. First of all, the effectiveness of this software is determined by whether it solves the assigned tasks. In this case, it all depends on the current company's condition. The technology stack used in the development also affects the further operation and maintenance of the solution. Meanwhile, the following metrics are of great importance here too:
speed and error-free data processing;
the degree of scalability;
the level of reliability;
clarity and simplicity in making amendments;
seamless integration of the main systems;
the degree of negative impact on the entire system or separate components operation, etc.
Among the most popular ready-made middleware are:
IBM WebSphere (entry-level price from $88 per month, it’s used by 100K companies</a> worldwide)
XME.digital fast-code platform (open-source & enterprise versions focus on Telecommunication & Retail companies)
Oracle Weblogic (entry-level price from $100 per month and companies like Univera, American Well Corporation, Cooper Companies Inc. trust it)
Apache Tomcat (is used by Walmart, General Motors, Delta Virtual Airlines, etc.)
Source: G2 about Oracle Weblogic
Box solutions are useful for companies that have no complicated procedures and connections between their internal systems. Anyway, as seen, they also have significant cons, like a low level of convenience and clarity. So management often thinks about custom development. Why not? It fully meets the client's demand, and covers all the procedures. Such middleware also has a clear logic and understandable interface.
The fast-code platform is a smart choice for custom middleware design. Its features have already helped to create:
1) Microservice-based order management system as a connection component between the contact center and monolithic ERP. It enables the last one to proceed always relevant data and make the core system flexible.
2) Scalable delivery calculator for a 20 million+ customers retailer that gathers information from different channels and operating requests in real-time mode. Due to its peculiarities, such middleware also supports an omnichannel, impacting other systems' work and development.
Top 3 Middleware Trends in 2021
1. Multi-tenancy. Developing a product for internal corporate usage, companies try to make it versatile and sell as a middleware service in the future. It gives them the opportunity to expand the audience, and also show how efficiently such middleware can work in specific conditions.
2. Striving for fast adaptability. Companies create or buy flexible middleware that can quickly respond to market needs. In this case, it's principal for a company:
the maintaining solution operation quality in any conditions;
the simplicity and speed of making the necessary changes in such middleware
3. Strong virtualization and migration to the Cloud. Cloud-based services like AWS and Azure are increasingly used to develop middleware solutions. Their development and maintenance require narrow-profile specialists. This trend is created by large companies that need to solve the issues of scaling and complicated processes management. But for small and medium-sized businesses, it is still not common practice, since such middleware is highly-cost in development and maintenance.
Why Fast Code Platform Can Simplify a Middleware Product Development?
The XME.digital team has helped a multitude of clients from different domains develop highly scalable, robust middleware with the unified interface that optimizes employee productivity. It became possible due to the following fast code platform features and benefits:
The platform provides a technical base and allows you to focus on the business logic of the application. It also contains logic extension points: the instruments that enable business logic customization under specific user conditions
The solution is based on Jhipster customization and the Spring/Spring Boot framework. These are sets of high-level services and tools, allowing the creation of middleware that can run both on-premise and in the Cloud
A standardized toolkit enables to reduce the number of technologies to solve the same issue. And the popular technology stack allows a company-user to find the best specialist among a large community
Toolkits and templates provide an opportunity to design middleware on a tight schedule
Open API. The client can use the source code for further development on its basis without vendor participation
Thus, the XME.fast code platform is a perfectly suitable base for developing flexible middleware that supports modern technologies and provides a high level of integration between various systems.