How enterprise middleware will help fuel IoT, cloud and AI advent – with IBM leading the way

As the digitisation of business continues apace with cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and even artificial intelligence (AI) on the menu, the importance of employing middleware to connect legacy and new systems is increasing.

That’s the verdict of analyst firm Gartner in its latest note, which argues that spending in the application infrastructure and middleware market will break $30 billion globally this year.

IBM is at the top of the pile, Gartner argues, with $6.1bn in 2017 revenues coming through middleware, at a market share of 21.5%. Oracle is in second place with an 11.1% share in 2017, with Salesforce, Microsoft and Amazon rounding off the top five with shares of 6.3%, 4.7% and 2.9% respectively.

Amazon’s remarkable growth of 119% year over year – from $382m to $839m – is worth noting, but it is the performance of Salesforce which shows how the market is consolidating. Back in March, the company announced the acquisition of application network platform provider MuleSoft for $6.5bn – the largest acquisition in its history. MuleSoft’s approach to connecting software as a service (SaaS) and enterprise applications, whether cloud-based or on-premise, has interesting ramifications for what Gartner calls the iPaaS (enterprise integration platform as a service).

“In iPaaS we find the groundwork being laid for a digital future, as the products in this segment generally are lighter, more agile IT infrastructure suited for the rapidly evolving use cases around digital business,” said Bindi Bhullar, research director at Gartner. “The result is that well-funded, pure play iPaaS providers, open source integration tool providers, and low cost integration tools, are challenging the dominant position of traditional vendors.”

Despite the raft of challengers, the need for legacy middleware and software integration platforms will remain. According to Fabrizio Biscotti, Gartner research vice president, the future market will see a broad spectrum of generalist comprehensive integration suites, to more bespoke offerings.

 

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