Magic Quadrant for Shared SOA Interoperability Infrastructure Projects
21 October 2010

Massimo Pezzini, Yefim V. Natis, Daniel Sholler, Jess Thompson, Kimihiko Iijima, Benoit J. Lheureux, Paolo Malinverno

Gartner RAS Core Research Note G00206432

The deployment of comprehensive interoperability and governance capabilities, shared across multiple applications and processes, is key to successful SOA initiatives. This Magic Quadrant assesses the vendors that provide these capabilities in their application infrastructure middleware offerings.

What You Need to Know

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is an accepted fact of life for a large and growing number of users in virtually every geography and in most vertical sectors. Because of the growing technology maturity, the diminishing costs and the associated risks, SOA is increasingly being adopted by midsize organizations that couldn't previously afford to consider this architectural approach. Packaged application vendors' strategy to increasingly "SOA enable" their products, the growing number of users adopting business process management (BPM) strategies, and the emerging requirement for integration with software as a service (SaaS) and other cloud services are encouraging more and more organizations to move toward SOA.

Implementing a strategic, large-scale SOA initiative requires the deployment of application infrastructure and middleware (AIM) technology. Gartner has identified three common types of projects in which this technology is typically implemented. This particular Magic Quadrant is being published for the first time, and is focused on the scenario we call "shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects" — that is, the effort to implement an enterprisewide infrastructure (shared across multiple SOA-style application projects) to enable any-to-any interoperability and to provide SOA governance capabilities. Vendors rated in this Magic Quadrant can play a single-supplier role for all the capabilities required by this type of projects. To be included in this Magic Quadrant, vendors must provide the functionality of an enterprise service bus (ESB), orchestration features (microflow and service composition) and SOA governance capabilities.

This research is accompanied by Magic Quadrants covering the other two prevailing types of application infrastructure projects:

  • The "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA-Style Application Projects" evaluates vendors that can supply all the capabilities needed for an SOA application project. To be included in this Magic Quadrant, vendors must provide a front-end container to support the user experience side of an SOA application (for example, a portal product); an enterprise application server (back-end container) to host the service provider side application components; and SOA-style modeling, service composition/integration and development tools.

  • The "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects" analyzes vendors that can supply all the capabilities needed to support a wide range on internal application-to-application (A2A) and B2B integration requirements (whether in the context of an SOA initiative or not). To be included in this Magic Quadrant, vendors must provide the functionality of an ESB, extended with B2B integration and external partner community management features. Vendors must also provide rich application integration features, such as message mapping and transformation, as well as adapters for technology environments, packaged applications, B2B protocols and message formats, and cloud/SaaS applications.

Although shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects and systematic application integration projects may adopt similar technologies (for example, an ESB and adapters), they have different goals and objectives — establishing a common infrastructure to support a variety of SOA application projects versus enabling A2A and B2B integration. However, in the future, as SOA adoption increases to support B2B integration, the requirements of these two types of projects are likely to converge on a single set of common functionalities and capabilities.

A shared SOA interoperability infrastructure project is usually driven by the organization's SOA center of excellence (COE) and typically consists of the architecture, design, implementation and deployment of two macrocomponents:

  • A common SOA backplane (that is, an infrastructure to enable service orchestration and interoperability and integration between front-end service consumer and back-end service provider applications)

  • A common set of SOA governance technologies

The SOA backplane and SOA government macrocomponents can be implemented at different times for convenience, but they are designed as an integrated, enterprisewide (or domainwide) SOA-enabling infrastructure. In any case, the SOA backplane and governance platforms are meant to be shared by virtually any SOA application project in the enterprise (or domain).

In the past, many users developed their own SOA backplanes and governance platforms by aggregating application infrastructure components from multiple vendors and, in some cases, developing custom solutions (especially for SOA registry/repository and other governance components). However, during the past three or four years, many vendors have released application infrastructure offerings that include all the technologies required to implement a comprehensive, enterprisewide SOA backplane and governance infrastructure.

Many users continue to prefer a best-of-breed approach that involves procuring the individual components from multiple vendors to leverage the most-advanced technologies or because of requirements (for example, ultralow-latency messaging) that only specialized players can support. However, a growing number of user organizations are looking to procure all the technical components of their SOA backplane and governance infrastructure (ESBs, orchestration tools, registries/repositories, policy management, etc.) from a single AIM provider.

In this Magic Quadrant, we focus on the now-prevailing "one-stop shopping" approach. Therefore, we evaluate the strategy of application infrastructure vendors that can play the single-supplier role for all the technology components needed in shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects.

For historical reasons, several vendors rated in this Magic Quadrant (including all the Leaders) have solid backgrounds in the adjacent application infrastructure for systematic application integration projects market. However, a few startup companies challenge the established players by proposing innovative platforms. These startup vendors' products are typically based on open-source technologies and focus on low-cost and ease of use as their main differentiators.

Therefore, users should not assume that only products from Leaders should be considered in their selection processes. Products from other players may be a better fit for their requirements on the basis of support, geographic affinity, functional or cost considerations.

Magic Quadrant

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Shared SOA Interoperability Infrastructure Projects

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Shared SOA Interoperability Infrastructure Projects

Source: Gartner (October 2010)

Market Overview

In recent years, Gartner has identified a trend in enterprise IT projects away from the best-of-breed selection of application infrastructure components and toward selecting a sole (or at least a primary) provider of enabling technology for the planned project type. Thus, we have noted the emergence of a new type of market, which is defined by the requirements of a particular type of IT project, rather than by the taxonomy of vendor offerings (the traditional approach to defining technology markets).

Although Gartner continues to analyze markets for specialized products — for example, enterprise application servers, horizontal portals, BPM suites and business intelligence tools — we also provide analysis of the vendors capable of offering most of these products in support for some specific usage scenarios. Buyers in such markets are not looking to invest in a grand, all-encompassing application infrastructure technology stack; instead, they're looking for a vendor that understands and supports the kind of project requirements they face.

A large-scale, enterprisewide SOA initiative requires the implementation of a complex application infrastructure, which includes four major functional macrocomponents:

  • SOA Backplane — Incorporates the functionality needed to enable any-to-any, secure, reliable, scalable, manageable and high-performance interoperability across service consumers, service providers, composite applications and processes, SaaS/cloud applications and external domains (including business partners, suppliers and clients) in a technologically heterogeneous environment.

  • SOA Governance — Provides the functionality required to support the governance processes associated with a specific SOA initiative, including a registry/repository, SOA life cycle management tool, and policy management and enforcement tools.

  • SOA Containers — Application infrastructure components that can host various forms of application logic: user interaction/presentation logic, composite front ends, business processes, business rules, transactional back-end services and event-processing services.

  • SOA-Related Capabilities — Functionality needed to support advanced requirements, such as business activity monitoring (BAM), master data management (MDM) and advanced management of trading-partner communities (for example, to support multienterprise B2B integration).

Gartner defines a "shared SOA interoperability infrastructure project" as "the set of activities needed to implement the combination of SOA backplane and SOA governance macrocomponents of the whole SOA application infrastructure." Therefore, in this research, we use the phrases "shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects" and "SOA backplane and SOA governance projects" interchangeably.

Deployment of these macrocomponents is increasingly perceived by users as the foundation infrastructure for their SOA initiatives. Therefore, it is planned for, designed, implemented and deployed through a specific and dedicated project (that is, not as part of an individual, SOA-style application development project), typically under the responsibility of the organization's SOA COE.

This Magic Quadrant focuses on vendors that offer a set of capabilities for SOA backplane and governance and can play the role of a single supplier or primary provider of these capabilities to end-user organizations. In reality, projects will often supplement the technology of the single supplier with additional products from other vendors. However, the stronger the vendor is rated in this Magic Quadrant, the less it is required for the project to take on the burdens of incorporating third-party vendors' technologies.

If a shared SOA interoperability infrastructure project is also intended to take decisions or provide recommendations about the tooling for supporting the implementation of SOA applications. Gartner recommends that users examine the "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA-Style Application Projects," along with this research to refine their decision processes.

If the project must provide capabilities to substantially interact with non-SOA external resources (such as pre-SOA legacy or packaged applications or B2B partners processes not exposing SOA interfaces), Gartner recommends that users review the "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects," along with this research to refine their decision processes.

Market Definition/Description

When organizations develop their SOA application infrastructure, the choice of SOA containers and other SOA capabilities is in some cases made upfront in the life cycle of an SOA initiative, especially when it comes to selecting a comprehensive set of components to address multiple and related systematically oriented SOA applications. However, this selection is often done in the context of specific projects, driven by a variety of technical and local convenience considerations.

Increasingly, the choice of technologies and products aimed at supporting SOA backplane and governance is done "once and for all," because the resulting SOA interoperability infrastructure is, almost by definition, shared among all the SOA application projects in the enterprise (or in a specific SOA domain). Therefore, the definition of the SOA backplane and governance architecture, product selection and technology integration, implementation and deployment is a key enabling project in most large-scale SOA initiatives.

Such a project may be kicked off after the organization has successfully implemented multiple stand-alone SOA application projects, as long as it realizes that a common infrastructure, shared across established and future SOA applications, would be most cost-effective and more manageable. However, SOA interoperability and governance technology deployment projects increasingly precede every SOA-style application project, because it is intended to provide an interoperability infrastructure that all the SOA application projects framed in that particular initiative will share.

In the early days of SOA adoption (circa the mid-1990s), the SOA backplane and governance infrastructure was implemented by leading-edge organizations by aggregating products from multiple vendors, often complemented by significant custom developments — for example, many early SOA adopters custom developed their own SOA registry/repository. The advent of Web services in the early 2000s created a standard foundation for SOA, which fostered industry excitement. Therefore, many vendors — both established and startups — developed specific products for SOA backplane and governance, and a growing number can now provide the full set of capabilities, either as integrated suites or collections of related products. As more and more mainstream organizations, which were traditionally reluctant to deal with too many vendors, move to SOA, a growing number of users are looking at single sourcing their SOA backplane and governance technology from one single strategic vendor.

Properly deploying an SOA backplane and governance infrastructure requires a holistic, top-down architectural and systematic approach. However, most organizations don't usually implement the full set of SOA backplane and governance functionality (nor do they put the relevant products together) at one time. Often, in the early stages of SOA adoption, technical and business requirements are not fully understood, and, if they are, there might not be enough investment capabilities available to implement the full set of features. The benefits and necessity of some components (for example, orchestration, service registry, and policy management and enforcement) might not be that evident, when the number of deployed services and applications consuming them is relatively small. Therefore, most organizations implement their SOA backplane and governance infrastructures by incrementally adding components, as necessary, and as relevant investments can be justified in the context of specific projects.

Typically, shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects are conducted under the responsibility of the enterprise or the domain-level SOA COE, which is in charge of:

  • Defining the architecture of the SOA backplane and governance infrastructure

  • Selecting the appropriate technical components

  • Integrating and putting them into production

  • Administering, managing and monitoring the resulting platform

  • Supporting application teams that share the SOA backplane and governance infrastructure

To address the SOA backplane and governance opportunity, several vendors offer integrated suites of products (typically referred to as "SOA suites" or "SOA platforms") packaging ESB products, orchestration tools, Web services management tools, registry/repository products, policy management and enforcement, activity monitoring and other components.

Although many organizations will never need to deploy the full set of SOA backplane and governance features, the current good crystallization of user's requirements is driving vendors to specifically package their SOA-enabling technologies in a way that supports incremental implementation. Therefore, deployments can be more modular and standardized, less risky and less expensive.

This Magic Quadrant considers vendors providing all the components required to implement an integrated SOA backplane and governance infrastructure. Availability from the vendor of other SOA application infrastructure components — such as portals, application servers, business rules or other container technologies aimed at running service consumer or service provider applications — is welcomed, but it is not essential. Organizations typically aim at a vendor-neutral shared SOA interoperability infrastructure that is able to integrate and govern service consumer and provider applications running on containers from multiple vendors, of heterogeneous technology nature, and located inside or outside the four walls of the organization. Therefore, shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects are typically not interested in selecting container technologies. Such a selection is usually carried out separately or in the context of specific SOA-style application projects.

Due to their strategic nature, shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects greatly value the technical merits of the enabling application infrastructure technology and a sound medium-term vision in terms of technology evolution.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Vendors included in this Magic Quadrant have sufficient technology and expertise in their total application infrastructure product portfolios to support — as the sole application infrastructure provider — the implementation of a mainstream, shared SOA interoperability infrastructure, consisting of an SOA backplane and SOA governance macrocomponents. The key characteristic required to implement these macrocomponents are the following:

SOA Backplane Capabilities

These capabilities include (see Note 1 for a more-detailed description):

  • ESB core functionalities, including technology that:

    • Implements communication middleware that reliably moves messages between endpoints (service provider and service consumer applications)

    • Supports the fundamental Web and Web services standards

    • Implements the binding necessary to create associations between consumer and provider endpoints

    • Has an architecture that enables it to apply optional intermediary functions (e.g., transformation and splitting) to messages in flight

    • Supports typed messages — that is, messages for which contents are explicitly defined and documented

    • Provides adapters for applications, databases, A2A and B2B protocols, cloud application programming interfaces (APIs), etc.

  • Service orchestration — a development tool and associated process execution engine for designing and implementing heterogeneous (that is, involving application components and/or services of different technical nature possibly running on different systems) micro-flows, service composition and multistep process integration. Support for human-centric workflow is not required. Service orchestration can be offered as a separate product (or products) or as part of an ESB suite.

SOA Governance Capabilities

These include (see Note 2 for a more-detailed description):

  • SOA policy management and enforcement

  • Registry/repository and metadata management

  • Statistical and key performance indicator (KPI) data collection

  • Monitoring and management

  • Life cycle management for applications and services

  • Interoperability with other SOA governance technologies

These technologies must be able to deal with on-premises services, as well as cloud/SaaS services. This requirement poses specific challenges in terms of the synchronization of life cycle management between on-premises and in-the-cloud services and applications. SOA governance capabilities can be provided as a single integrated suite or as a set of related products.

Vendors must provide all the governance capabilities listed above to be included in this Magic Quadrant; however, at this stage of the industry, they may be still in a rudimentary form or may be provided through various forms of partnerships. Therefore, they may not be fully integrated into the vendors' offering.

The strategic nature of the SOA backplane and governance projects implies anticipation of major future requirements and a capacity for long-term management and extensibility for infrastructure, as well as dependable quality of service (QoS), functionality and extensibility of the vendor technology.

Vendors' entire offering portfolios are considered, without regard to product packaging. All the SOA backplane and governance capabilities must be delivered and supported by the vendor being assessed. Some of the technology in the total evaluated portfolio might be an OEM product from a third party. This is acceptable, as long as the user's primary support experience is with only the vendor being assessed, which requires that the OEM product be seamlessly integrated with the main vendor's offering. Delegating Level 3 support to the OEM partner is also acceptable.

There must be evidence of production success (present or imminent) by this vendor as a sole provider of technology for this project type.

Vendors with combined license and maintenance revenue from application infrastructure deployments of less than $10 million may not be included.

Vendors for which Gartner has experienced significant client interest via inquiries or other interactions have been included as exceptions, even if they don't meet all the criteria. However, all the vendors rated in this Magic Quadrant provide and support the SOA backplane and SOA governance capabilities listed above. All the vendors considered offer the required technology as products. Some vendors also offer some elements of their product set as a service or as a prepackaged virtual machine in a public cloud. However, Gartner is not aware of any vendor that provides the full set of capabilities exclusively via a public-cloud model.


This is the first iteration of this Magic Quadrant, so all the vendors included are being rated for the first time.


This is the first iteration of this Magic Quadrant, so no vendor has been dropped from a previously published version of this Magic Quadrant.

Evaluation Criteria

Ability to Execute

A detailed description of the Ability to Execute criteria can be found in Section 2.3.2 of the "Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes: How Gartner Evaluates Vendors Within a Market."

SOA backplane and governance infrastructure implementation projects are typically driven by experienced architects and engineers, working for an SOA COE. They look for the best suite of technologies from a functional standpoint and for greater integration among the component parts to keep development and operations efforts to the minimum. Moreover, as mainstream enterprises launch SOA interoperability and governance infrastructure projects, they look for reliable and widely proven products in their geography and industry sector, and they favor vendors that can demonstrate an ability to execute with successful and proven case histories and references.

Therefore, a vendor's product/service excellence (in terms of the offering functional completeness, maturity and degree of integration of the individual components) and customer experience are especially critical to succeed in this market. Consequently, these criteria are weighted more highly than other Ability to Execute criteria. Viability, sales execution/pricing, marketing responsiveness and track record, marketing execution and excellence in operations are also important evaluation criteria, but no more than in any other software market.

To rate vendors' Ability to Execute for the "Product/Service" criterion, we considered the same characteristics in each of the three application infrastructure Magic Quadrants. Across the three Magic Quadrants, the evaluation of these characteristics is weighted equally in determining the final product rating, because they are independent of the specific requirements of the project types addressed by the individual Magic Quadrants. This is the list of technical features and capabilities considered for this and the related application infrastructure Magic Quadrants:

  • Offering Completeness (standard weight): Evaluates the extent to which the vendor's application infrastructure offering supports the full range of technical features and capabilities listed below in the Completeness of Vision section.

  • Offer Maturity (standard weight): Evaluates the maturity of the vendor's offering in terms of its longevity in the marketplace, architectural stability, installed-base and proven ability to support the requirements of the application infrastructure markets for business-critical scenarios.

  • Offering Extensibility (high weight): Evaluates the ability of the offering to easily, quickly and effectively incorporate new standards, technologies, and acquired or third-party products in terms of the technology and internal architecture of the vendor's application infrastructure, as well as the vendors' track record in extending its offering.

Table 1. Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization)
Sales Execution/Pricing
Market Responsiveness and Track Record
Marketing Execution
Customer Experience

Source: Gartner (October 2010)


Completeness of Vision

A detailed description of the Completeness of Vision evaluation criteria can be found in Section 2.3.1 of the "Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes: How Gartner Evaluates Vendors Within a Market."

Most enterprises engaging in shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects know that the effort will be multiyear and will require continuous refinement and extension as new requirements (e.g., cloud/SaaS integration) emerge, and the number of services and applications to be enabled and the supported workload grow, maybe by orders of magnitude. Therefore, users favor vendors that provide the proven and reliable set of functionalities needed to address current requirements, as well as vendors that can present a credible road map for the evolution of their application infrastructures offering to address emerging standards (e.g., SCA and OSGi); technologies (e.g., complex-event processing [CEP] and mobile device support); and usage scenarios (e.g., federated SOA and cloud/SaaS integration).

For this reason, in this market, we weight Completeness of Vision criteria, such as market understanding (that is, the ability to anticipate user's requirements and competitor's challenges), product strategy and innovation higher than any other. Sales, vertical/industry and geographic strategies are also important to succeed in this market, but no more than in other markets (experience shows that the many SOA backplane and SOA governance products have been successful in multiple industry sectors and geographies). A sound vendor's business model and an aggressive marketing strategy are less critical, because the number of competitors is limited, and the market is growing.

To rate vendors' Completeness of Vision for the "Offering (Product) Strategy" criterion, we considered the same technical features and capabilities in each of the three application infrastructure Magic Quadrants in terms of their current form and planned evolutions. However, for each Magic Quadrant, the evaluation of the features and capabilities is weighted differently in determining the final product rating, to reflect the specific requirements and priorities of the particular types of projects to which the Magic Quadrant refers. The following is the list of technical features and capabilities considered and their weight for this Magic Quadrant

  • Back-End Containers (low weight): Features and capabilities to support the execution of mainstream SOA-style, custom-built back-end business logic — that is, basic server application container features, such as programming frameworks and languages, runtime interpreters and virtual machines (VMs; Java Virtual Machine [JVM] or similar), as well as interoperability and access from like and unlike platforms, management, QoS support, and other similar capabilities. It may also include support for leading-edge and high-demand SOA-style, custom-built, back-end application logic — e.g., extreme transaction processing, event processing, parallel processing, support for multitenant deployments of applications as a service, footprint optimization and nonintrusive versioning.

  • SOA Modeling, Design and Composition Tools (standard weight): Features and capabilities to support SOA-style modeling, design and development, including separation of front-end and back-end business logic, design of service interfaces, metadata management, choice of SOA patterns — remote procedure call, event-driven architecture (EDA) and Web-oriented architecture — service composition and mediation, productivity aids and other capabilities.

  • Front-End Containers (low weight): Features and capabilities to support the execution of SOA-style, user-facing, front-end business logic in a multichannel environment — i.e., enabling a choice of front-end architectures, such as traditional rich client, traditional Web client, rich Internet client, Ajax, mobile, portal and/or others — and its ability to access SOA-style interfaces of like and unlike platforms.

  • SOA Governance (high weight): Features and capabilities to support the implementation of SOA governance processes, with specific reference to the following aspects:

    • SOA policy management and enforcement

    • Registry/repository and metadata management

    • Statistical and KPI data collection

    • Governance of services in the cloud

    • Monitoring and management

    • Application and service life cycle management

    • Interoperability with other SOA governance technologies

  • Core ESB (high weight): Features and capabilities to support core ESB functionality, including reliable communications between endpoints through various protocols, support for fundamental Web and Web services standards, the ability to bind consumer and provider endpoints, the ability to apply optional intermediary functions (e.g., transformation, routing) to messages in flight, and the ability to support messages for which contents are explicitly defined and documented.

  • Advanced ESB (standard weight): Features and capabilities to support reliable communications between on-premises, B2B or cloud endpoints through a variety of protocols; strong external partner community management; support for internal proprietary and B2B standard messages and security, including in-flight and at-rest message encryption; and DMZ-based reverse proxy servers.

  • Orchestration (microflow, service composition and straight-through processes), Design and Execution (high weight): Features and capabilities to enable application composition, including design tools and execution engines for supporting the implementation of microflow, service composition and straight-through processes (human-centric workflow support is not required).

  • Message/Data Schema/Mapping (standard weight): Features and capabilities to support message/data schema management and mapping. This includes support for documents and messages in canonical formats — e.g., XML, electronic data interchange; industry-standard formats, such as HL7, SWIFT, ACCORD, RosettaNet and others; and Web Services Description Language. It also includes the availability of a metadata repository for managing documents and message formats (for storage and browsing), as well as a mapping tool to translate and convert messages from one format to another.

  • Adapters (standard weight): Features and capabilities to support adapters for packaged applications, database management systems (DBMSs), message-oriented middleware, application servers, transaction processing monitors, standard and proprietary A2A and B2B protocols, cloud/SaaS APIs, and other application and technology environments.

  • External Partners Community Management (low weight): Features and capabilities to support external partners community management, which facilitates in the provisioning, configuration and metadata management of adapters, communication protocols, message formats and other integration artifacts across large numbers of applications and systems, trading partners, internal SOA services and cloud APIs, and multiple projects. Key community management functionality includes collaboration via Web applications and social-networking-style tools, campaign/program life cycle management, and role-based task delegation and tracking.

  • Architectural Consistency (standard weight): Initiatives, patterns, features, capabilities and standards to support the integration and architectural coherence of the vendor application infrastructure offering — e.g., common (across the individual products) development tools, metadata repositories, runtime containers, flow managers, monitoring and management tools, security and other components; and support for "pluggability" standards, such as OSGi, JBI or SCA.

  • Openness and Interoperability (standard weight): Features and capabilities to support interapplication and intra-application communication and federation among disparate SOA environments (i.e., communication middleware and standard protocols). Initiatives, patterns, features, capabilities and standards to support interoperability and integration with other vendors' platforms, as well as to enable users to incorporate third-party products and technologies in the vendors' application infrastructure offerings.

  • Monitoring, Management and Administration (standard weight): Features and capabilities to support the operations (administration, security, governance, version management, disaster recovery, etc.) of projects based on the vendors' application infrastructures.

In addition to the evaluation of released or imminent product features — the products' road map was also taken into account in all Completeness of Vision ratings. Such road maps are subject to change, but they still reflect the current vision of the vendor's business and engineering leadership.

Table 2. Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria
Market Understanding
Marketing Strategy
Sales Strategy
Offering (Product) Strategy
Business Model
Vertical/Industry Strategy
Geographic Strategy

Source: Gartner (October 2010)



Leaders in this market are vendors able to provide mature ESB capabilities, a range of proven orchestration options and a comprehensive set of SOA governance technologies. These vendors' products have been widely adopted across verticals and geographies, as individual items and in combination, to support large and business-critical SOA backplane and governance deployment projects. The installed base of these vendors is on the order of hundreds of users, which have adopted the full spectrum of their SOA backplane and governance technologies and in the thousands (at least 2,000 to 3,000) for the more-popular individual components (typically, the ESB products).

Leaders in shared SOA interoperability infrastructure combine the ability to provide a comprehensive application infrastructure offering with a strong commitment to this market, which is expressed through focused value propositions and go-to-market strategies (for example, by packaging product suites and/or by providing integrated product and services offerings specific for this market), support for the most relevant industry standards — e.g., SCA, Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) and OSGi — and a well-defined road map addressing most of the emerging requirements (such as federated SOA, cloud integration, "SOA inside" and support for mobile devices).

Established leadership (achieved through organic growth or via acquisitions) in the adjacent application infrastructure for systematic application integration project market is a common trait across all the Leaders. This, in part, reflects some commonality in the technology between the two usage scenarios and, in part, is a consequence of the logical progression from having adopted a systematic approach to application integration to selecting a shared approach to SOA interoperability infrastructure on the part of the most advanced users. Consequently, organizations that endorsed one of the leaders' platforms to support their systematic application integration projects also find it natural and nondisruptive to adopt the same platform (or some extensions and/or variants) to also support their strategic SOA backplane and governance requirements.

The offerings of the Leaders are rich and mature; however, at times, they're also too complex or too expensive for organizations with minimal experience in systematic application integration or for businesses that are budget-constrained or that are looking for an easy-to-use/fast-to-deploy platform, despite most of the Leaders' efforts to devise "entry-level" versions of their technologies.


Challengers in this market are vendors that have many of the characteristics of the Leaders, in terms of availability of suitable technology and industrywide adoption for their relevant products. However, they are constrained from becoming Leaders by their concentration on a specific geography or by a focus on their installed-base of applications or other infrastructure software. These vendors have in their portfolio all the technology components — in some cases, supplied by one or more third parties — but their product offerings are either not supported by a crisp and focused value proposition and go-to-market strategy or, if these exist, they target only a relatively narrow geographic area or specific installed base. Moreover, their road maps don't include sufficiently strong actions, or at least commitments, to overcoming these obstacles to obtain a leadership position.

Challengers have large installed bases for at least some of the individual components of their application infrastructure offerings, and a significant number of users have adopted the vendor's technology as their strategic SOA backplane and governance infrastructure; however, the Challengers' ability to serve customers with heterogeneous technologies support requirements or organizations distributed across multiple geographies is constrained.

In this market, Challengers have had a historically strong presence in the adjacent application infrastructure for systematic application integration project space. However, because their strategic priorities are elsewhere, these vendors have had limited success in becoming strategic providers of SOA backplane and governance technology for their application integration clients. This is because of a lack of sales and marketing focus or because of a noncomprehensive or partially immature technology platform.

A Challenger's offering can be a good, even excellent, fit for a user already adopting that particular vendor's packaged applications or middleware, or for users that don't require support outside the geography covered by the vendor.


Visionaries in this market are companies with an excellent market understanding and strong technology offering. In some cases, this is comparable to that of the Leaders, but Visionaries' products have either been more recently released (therefore, they have a lower degree of proven "production readiness") or, at times, they are less comprehensive than the Leaders' offerings (therefore, showing strengths in some areas, but not in others). In some cases, the vendor hasn't put enough energy and commitment into actively promoting its application infrastructure offering in this market (hence, adoption is not as high as that of the Leaders). A factor holding back Visionaries' Ability to Execute is often limited support from global or regional system integrators, but, on the other hand, they are often closer to their clients than the Leaders in terms of support and assistance.

Some of the Visionaries have notable installed bases in the SOA backplane and governance market for some of the components of their application infrastructure offerings, but a relatively small number of clients have adopted the full platform as their strategic SOA-enabling infrastructure. Other Visionaries have rich and advanced technology, but are constrained from becoming Leaders by their small size or relatively narrow geographic coverage, or by still inconsistent execution.

Visionaries' offerings are often based on open-source technologies and, in some cases, are more modern than the Leaders' products, because they may not be burdened by the issue of backward compatibility with systematic application integration product. Some Visionaries' platforms are less-expensive and easier to implement and deploy than Leaders' or Challengers' product portfolios. Hence, the requirements of small and midsize businesses and of users looking for easy-to-use/low-cost application infrastructures are often better supported by products from these vendors that by those of the Leaders.

Niche Players

Niche Players in this market are primarily vendors with a narrow geographic or vertical industry focus, even though, from a technology perspective, they may have good or even excellent products. Their medium-term strategy doesn't give any indication of upcoming aggressive actions to move into other geographies and expand their market coverage, although their technology road map is, at times, promising. Some Niche Players have a minimal focus on the shared SOA interoperability infrastructure market, but they happen to have technology components required to address this opportunity as a consequence of their involvement in other markets. Therefore, they are, at times, players in this market almost by chance.

By improving their execution and expanding their geographic reach, some of the Niche Players could move into the Challengers quadrant. By enhancing their vision (from a technology and sales/marketing perspective) they could move into the Visionaries quadrant. However, in most cases, the only way Niche Players can ever become Leaders, is through the acquisition of an established Leader or a strong Visionary.

Nevertheless, technology from a Niche Player can be a good fit for users in the geographic area covered by the vendor or for users that have adopted the technology of that vendor for other types of projects. Some Niche Players' offerings based on open-source technology can provide an excellent option for users looking for a simple and low-cost application infrastructure platform to support their SOA interoperability requirements.

Vendor Strengths and Cautions


Fujitsu's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by its Interstage family of products, which include Interstage Service Integrator v.9.2 and Interstage Business Process Manager v.11.0, along with Interstage Studio v.9.2 supporting core ESB requirements. CentraSite v.3.1 and Interstage Application Development Lifecycle Manager v.10.1 support SOA governance needs.

  • Fujitsu Interstage Service Integrator has a proven track record in designing and implementing ESB capability to achieve customers' operational cost reduction and transformation (e.g., a legacy modernization initiative — from batch-centric to real-time enterprise) with high performance and high reliability. There is a wide installed base, especially in large enterprises, for mission-critical use scenarios.

  • Fujitsu's Interstage Service Integrator and Interstage Business Process Manager, along with Interstage Studio, offer a strong modeling and execution environment for process/service orchestration. Application life cycle management (ALM) and business process management suite (BPMS) capabilities are also integrated in the offering.

  • Fujitsu's ALM, which is a company's strategic initiative, is differentiating through the integration of the application/service development/deployment capabilities provided by Interstage and the management features offered by the Systemwalker family of management tools, via the CentraSite metadata-management technology. Its goal is to provide users with an integrated and comprehensive environment for development, deployment and management of SOA-style applications.

  • Fujitsu's multitenant-enabled BPM with service composition capability is used as a BPM service platform for private cloud or external cloud SaaS offerings, along with enhanced BPM consulting capability after the recent organizational consolidation.

  • Fujitsu's SOA governance capability, provided by CentraSite, has limited policy management features (e.g., policy enforcement).

  • Fujtsu's investment efforts on OASIS SCA are behind other leading players.

  • Fujitsu's CentraSite, along with its ALM technology, has a limited installed base; the company needs to enhance the articulation of its message and its sales and marketing initiatives.

  • Fujitsu's Interstage market penetration is relatively lower against other leading players outside Japan.


Hitachi's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by its Cosminexus family of products, which includes: (1) uCosminexus Service Architect v.8 and uCosminexus Service Platform v.8, for supporting core ESB requirements; (2) uCosminexus Service Architect v.8 and uCosminexus Service Platform v.8 and uCosminexus Service Platform, Workcoordinator v.8, uCosminexus Navigation Platform v.8, and uCosminexus Developer v.8, for orchestration and advanced ESB capabilities and SOA modeling capabilities.

  • Hitachi Cosminexus has a long-term proven track record and a large installed base in highly reliable and robust application integration infrastructure in a wide range of industry segments, especially in the financial services, transportation and telecom industries.

  • Hitachi uCosminexus Service Platform supports large messaging (several GBytes) to accommodate (file-based) batch integration, as well as real-time messaging to reduce complexity and increase productivity; this is on top of a secure/reliable message backbone that supports WS-security, WS-reliability, WS-reliable message and WS-I profile.

  • Hitachi uCosminexus Service Platform offers ESB (service coordination) and BPM capability supporting front-end service composition by integrating with uCosminexus Navigation Platform and back-end composition with a WS-BPEL 2.0-compliant engine, as well as proven, heavy-traffic, human-centric workflow (uCosminexus Service Platform, Workcoordinator), along with strong SOA methodology.

  • Hitachi Cosminexus needs to enhance its SOA governance capability (e.g., policy enforcement features) to compete against leading products.

  • Hitachi Cosminexus needs to improve its offer to provide one integrated design/modeling environment across uCosminexus products.

  • Hitachi's presence and marketing activity is limited outside Japan.


The portfolio of products considered to assess IBM's position in this Magic Quadrant includes several items that belong to the WebSphere 7 family. The most relevant are WebSphere Message Broker (WMB), WebSphere ESB (WESB) and the WebSphere DataPower XI50 appliance, providing ESB capabilities; WebSphere Process Server (WPS) and WebSphere ILOG JRules for orchestration; and WebSphere Registry and Repository (WSRR) and the WebSphere DataPower XS40 appliance to support SOA governance.

  • IBM's brand recognition, global reach and market share in key application infrastructure middleware segments; "mind share," and a huge installed base of hardware and software products that are leveraged for WebSphere sales to support SOA backplane and governance projects.

  • Comprehensive product line with a large installed base, including market-leading products (e.g., WebSphere MQ, WMB and WebSphere DataPower), with significant deployment successes for large and business-critical SOA backplane and governance projects in multiple vertical sectors and in virtually all geographical areas, especially in the IBM mainframe installed base.

  • The resounding "Smarter Planet" marketing initiative advertises process-based solutions that attract business and drive the use of WebSphere infrastructure products also for SOA backplane and governance projects.

  • Products are sustained through massive partner programs and are complemented by a range of consulting and professional services options, which provide comprehensive methodologies for SOA backplane and governance projects across IBM Global Business Services and the IBM Software Group.

  • Some users experience problems in getting WebSphere Process Server and associated products — e.g., WebSphere Integration Developer (WID) — to meet their requirements, even when IBM resources are involved.

  • The implementation of large-scale SOA backplane and governance projects may require the acquisition and deployment of a large number of products, including WebSphere Business Modeler, WID, WPS, WESB, WMB, WSRR, WebSphere DataPower appliances, WebSphere Business Monitor, as well as IBM Tivoli technology for monitoring and management. This makes IBM's offerings primarily suitable for the most complex requirements, and often creates the need for a significant amount of professional services and support to deploy the products and get the initial SOA backplane and governance infrastructure up and running.

  • Multiple acquisitions (including Lombardi, Cast Iron and Sterling Commerce) will require significant integration efforts in the WebSphere stack, and will pose product rationalization and positioning challenges to IBM and, potentially, product discontinuity issues for users.

  • The fine-grained differences, functional overlaps and product integration challenges — for example, among WMB, WESB and the WebSphere DataPower XI 50 appliance — make it hard for potential users to determine the best fit for their requirements.


Microsoft does not offer a product dedicated to SOA enablement or governance. However, technologies embedded in its Windows Server — .NET Framework, IIS and Windows Server AppFabric application server technologies, as well as BizTalk Server (integration and composition), Visual Studio (design and development) and Systems Center (management) — form the foundation for enabling and managing SOA-style application contexts.

  • Microsoft's massive installed base of application infrastructure, especially in small and midsize project environments, creates the basis for natural expansion into SOA interoperability infrastructure initiatives.

  • Although some price increases are planned, the overall cost of using the Microsoft application infrastructure remains relatively low.

  • Microsoft's early investment in Web services built a mind share for the company as an SOA technology provider (although the full-scale SOA architecture extends well-beyond the support of Web services). The recently redesigned Windows Workflow Foundation in .NET 4.0 delivers advanced XAML metadata-driven process management capabilities and the updated Windows Communication Foundation supports messaging-based, service-style access to data objects (open data access or OData).

  • Microsoft's new Windows Azure platform, AppFabric, offers basic ESB capabilities, and is beginning to establish a cloud SOA infrastructure. More functionality is in development, which will be an essential requirement to make a strong case for this offering.

  • Microsoft delegates to HP, SOA Software and other partners most of SOA administration, including registry/repository support, which is a key element in systematic SOA governance. Team Foundation Server (TFS) provides some management of SOA, but its features offer far less than registry/repository products, despite the recently added linkage of TSF and BizTalk Server. Users looking to establish an all-Microsoft SOA context must design registry support into their own software.

  • Lack of a focused SOA backplane/governance offering leaves SOA-style projects to develop their own solutions or treat SOA initiatives as opportunistic one-off investments.

  • The recent end of the project aimed at developing a cross-Microsoft metadata repository (under the code-name "Oslo") further delays the completeness of SOA governance capabilities in Microsoft technology portfolio.

  • Microsoft support of SOA has been and remains focused on Web services — SOAP and now representational state transfer (REST)-style as well. This tends to manage SOA as a software interoperability model, rather than a design pattern, with a resulting lack of business-level SOA governance tools.


MuleSoft is a venture-capital-funded company that provides support and maintenance for technologies developed by the Mule open-source community. This community has 25 MuleSource developers focused on the Mule ESB and an external community of 80 developers. First released in April 2005, the current release of Mule ESB (v.2.2.6) became generally available in August 2010. The primary products offered by MuleSoft that support the deployment of SOA interoperability infrastructure are Mule ESB (which also includes the Galaxy registry/repository), Mule MQ v.5.1 and Data Integrator v.3.0.7 (data transformation technology).

  • MuleSoft offers support and maintenance subscriptions at a "list price" of $8,000 per physical CPU per year. Paying only for support and maintenance removes capital expense from procuring ESB technology, making it attractive to organizations that are reducing their capital outlay.

  • More than 2 million downloads and 2,000 supported customers, with a growing number of references using the Mule ESB in mission-critical deployments.

  • The unique RESTx Mule ESB component supports RESTful interactions with cloud and SaaS applications.

  • Although not OSGi-compliant, Mule ESB enables hot deployment of services or groups to the Mule container enabling on-the-fly changes.

  • The market for SOA interoperability infrastructure technology continues to consolidate. Products from leading vendors that are available only via perpetual and enterprise licenses have many features and are expensive, opening the door (based on an increasing number of client inquiries) for open-source software (OSS) support and maintenance providers. The "jury is still out" as to whether a vendor that relies on subscription revenue can carve out a space in this consolidating market.

  • Engineering resources at MuleSoft are likely to be stretched thin, given their responsibilities to be contributors, provide support and develop features (such as RESTx and the ESB Management Console) that extend the open-source technology it offers.

  • Although MuleSoft boasts a large number of technical adapters, it lists few for widely deployed, commercial, packaged applications, such as the SAP Business Suite or the Oracle E-Business Suite. This makes it more difficult to use commercial, packaged applications in creation of business services.

  • Although Mule ESB Enterprise includes a service registry/repository that assists in artifact management and publishing, its policy enforcement capabilities (particularly, the implementation of and modification of life cycle management processes) fall short of similar capabilities in closed-source offerings.


NEC's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by its WebOTX family of products, which include (1) for core ESB requirements, WebOTX Enterprise Service Bus v.8.3; (2) for orchestration and advanced ESB capabilities, WebOTX Process Conductor v.7.1, Flowlites GE v.2.1 and WebOTX Developer v.8.3; and (3) for SOA governance, WebOTX Service Repository v.8.1.

  • NEC has been demonstrating its capability to implement open-standard as a certified Java EE provider, ahead of other players for WebOTX, which is an NEC-branded application infrastructure family, targeting mission-critical scenarios.

  • WebOTX Enterprise Service Bus is a JBI-compliant product that offers proven features for reliable/high-availability/high-performance requirements. This includes distributed bus, that runs and manages multiple ESB servers as a single bus, multiplexing services, auto failover and load balancing, and ESB instances running on multiple Java VMs for reliability, with multiple domain management for ease of management work.

  • NEC's WebOTX Service Repository and a series of related products — Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) service registry, administrator deployment and SDCM version control — along with WebOTX Developer, which offers service/metadata management, with an emphasis on service reuse and service visibility to achieve SOA governance, along with NEC's SOA design methodology (System Director Enterprise).

  • NEC's BPM track record is limited.

  • NEC lacks investments on advanced features, such as SCA and OSGi.

  • NEC's WebOTX brand recognition and installed base are limited outside Japan.


The evaluation of Oracle's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by the Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM) 11g R.1 family of products (released between July 2009 and June 2010). This includes the Oracle SOA Suite (packaging Oracle Service Bus, Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Oracle Business Rules, Oracle B2B, Oracle BAM and other components), which provides ESB and orchestration capabilities, and Oracle Enterprise Repository, Oracle Service Registry, Oracle Web Services Manager (also part of Oracle SOA Suite) and SOA Management Pack Enterprise Edition (including the recently acquired AmberPoint technology), which support SOA governance needs.

  • OFM is a large and fast-growing business that positions Oracle as the second-largest AIM vendor in the market, according to Gartner 2009 market share data. The technology is supported by a vast network of partners. Thousands of organization, in virtually every geography and in multiple industry verticals have successfully deployed the current or previous versions of OFM, in a large number of cases to support large and business-critical SOA backplane and governance scenarios.

  • OFM provides a comprehensive, integrated application infrastructure offering (supporting the Oracle JDeveloper common development toolset, the Oracle Enterprise Manager common management environment, common Metadata Service and common Service Infrastructure), as well as leading technologies to enable SOA backplane and governance requirements. The core OFM SOA backplane enablers (Oracle BPEL PM and Oracle Service Bus) have a large and growing installed base, and, recently, Oracle strengthened its SOA governance offering through the acquisition of AmberPoint, a specialist vendor in this space.

  • The OFM road map addresses key SOA technologies (e.g., event enablement across the stack, registry/repository federation and distributed caching-enablement of key OFM components) and emerging requirements (e.g., support for mobile applications).

  • Synergies with large Oracle's DBMS and packaged application businesses create opportunities for cross-selling OFM technologies to support SOA backplane and governance projects.

  • The relentless pace of Oracle's acquisitions in packaged applications and in the AIM market (e.g., BEA Systems, Sun Microsystems and Amberpoint) requires further technology integration work, and poses migration and upgrade challenges to preacquisition product users.

  • The market maturity of the individual components of the OFM 11g R.1 product set varies greatly. Some SOA backplane and governance technologies (e.g., Oracle Enterprise Repository, Oracle BAM, Oracle Web Services Manager) have relatively small installed bases and, in some cases (e.g., Oracle Enterprise Manager and AmberPoint technology), are not yet fully integrated in the OFM stack.

  • Despite a significant adoption rate, the OFM 11g R1 product set requires more proof points about its use in complex, large-scale, real-life deployments.

  • Some Oracle clients are experiencing licensing and pricing issues when upgrading from previous versions to SOA Suite 11g R.1, due to the change in the underlying application server (from Oracle Internet Application Server to Oracle WebLogic Suite) that may imply higher licensing costs.

Progress Software

Progress Software is an AIM solution vendor. The products considered in this evaluation include Sonic ESB, Sonic MQ, Savvion BPMS, Apama event-processing suite, and Actional for policy management and SOA monitoring. Progress also offers combinations of these products in suite bundles.

  • Broad platform suite with several industry-leading components.

  • Unique capabilities with regard to monitoring events in existing systems (Actional) and processing those events (Apama).

  • The focus on responsive process management is aligned with the plans of leading enterprises.

  • Good business frameworks for composite application development using Savvion.

  • Alternative approaches in some component areas (e.g., registry/repository) and a reliance on others for some components (back-end execution container) have limited the adoption of the full Progress' SOA backplane technologies.

  • The broad scope of the SOA infrastructure puts smaller, independent vendors at a disadvantage versus the mega-vendors (IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP).

  • The company's worldwide direct sales are in the process of scaling up in many markets, leading to uneven support and coverage.

Red Hat

The primary Red Hat JBoss application infrastructure offerings for building a systematic and comprehensive SOA interoperability infrastructure are the JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform (integration and composition platform, including JBoss ESB, jUDDI, JBoss Rules, jBPM and other open-source components) and the JBoss Operations Network (a comprehensive management tool).

  • The combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), a leading, open-source operating system, and JBoss, a dominating open-source application server technology, positions the company as a leader in the open-source application platform market. Many JBoss customers build SOA-style applications and have keen interest in SOA infrastructure solutions.

  • Advanced engineering talent and the large pool of technologies in the open-source communities enables continuous expansion of Red Hat's offerings and relatively fast add-on of missing functionality, as long as the company leadership sees the need for such extension.

  • The synergies between the Red Hat core operating system business and the JBoss application infrastructure business offer promising opportunities, including in private and public cloud-computing contexts.

  • Red Hat's all-open-source offering has a particular appeal for many projects and has few competitors.

  • Most technologies in the JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform (with an arguable exception of Drools rule engine) are not well-known or proven in mainstream enterprise production use, deferring adoption by some mainstream projects.

  • Exclusive bundling of the JBoss ESB and BPM technologies into the JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform offering reduces their individual visibility and complicates their individual adoption in best-of-breed projects. Fewer leading-edge, best-of-breed projects adopting components of the JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform delays maturity and name recognition of the platform.

  • Some of the SOA infrastructure capabilities (repository, governance, etc.) are not functionally complete and require additional development or the use of third-party technologies to be implemented, making SOA infrastructure building efforts more technically challenging and less cohesive. New capabilities, planned for forthcoming releases, may begin to address this shortcoming.


The products considered to assess SAP's position in this Magic Quadrant belong to the SAP NetWeaver v.7.1 family. These include SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (PI), which supports ESB and orchestration, as well as SOA governance via the embedded Enterprise Service Repository. The SAP Solution Manager provides management and administration capabilities and SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment, SAP NetWeaver BPM and SAP NetWeaver Business Rules Management provide orchestration, as well as for other BPMS features.

  • The large and loyal installed base of SAP's packaged business applications provides opportunities for the company to cross-sell NetWeaver components to its clients looking to implement an SOA backplane and governance infrastructure.

  • For organizations strongly committed to SAP application strategy, NetWeaver is a compelling (primarily commercially but also from a skills perspective) technology option for their SOA backplane and governance projects, because of its technical affinity and preintegration with SAP packaged applications.

  • The core NetWeaver PI product has a large (approximately 4,000 clients) and rapidly growing installed base. Its road map targets key SOA backplane and interoperability standards (e.g., OSGi and SCA).

  • The SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Service Repository provides good capabilities (e.g., asset versioning, impact analysis, usage profiles), supports UDDI 3.0 and comes prepopulated with approximately 4,000 predefined enterprise services to enable service-oriented interoperability with SAP packaged applications. SAP's SOA governance road map addresses key requirements, such as support for notification mechanism and governance workflows, as well as automation capabilities.

  • The disclosed road map for the current NetWeaver products doesn't support SAP's ambitious technology vision encompassing "in memory" computing, cloud and mobile computing. Therefore, potentially disruptive development of SAP's application infrastructure technology is likely to take place during the next three to five years. This exposes NetWeaver users to risks of discontinuities and migrations of their NetWeaver-based SOA backplane and governance infrastructures.

  • SAP vision and value proposition for NetWeaver is focused on its packaged applications installed base. This decreases interest among users that have no SAP applications in place, as well as among those deploying SAP packages in heterogeneous application and technology environments.

  • The BPEL-based NetWeaver PI orchestration capability (ccBPM) has not been extensively used, because the product was, until recently, plagued with performance and scalability issues. It will be replaced by BPMN-based technology deriving from NetWeaver BPM. Although ccBPM will continue to be supported for backward compatibility, this transition will expose ccBPM users to technical discontinuities and migration challenges.

  • SAP has a tactical approach to the policy management and enforcement aspects of SOA governance, because it relies on multiple, specialized partners. This is strategically dangerous, because it may expose SAP and its customers to discontinuities in the event of acquisitions of partners by SAP competitors — for example, SAP used to have a partnership with AmberPoint, a company recently acquired by Oracle.

Software AG

The evaluation of Software AG's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by the webMethods 8 family of products (released in December 2009), which includes webMethods Integration Server, supporting ESB and orchestration requirements; webMethods BPMS, providing additional orchestration capabilities (along with other BPMS features); and CentraSite, webMethods Mediator, webMethods Insight and webMethods Optimize for SOA governance.

  • The webMethods product is for Software AG a large and growing application infrastructure business with a large installed base of more than 3,000 clients leveraging the technology in the context of multiple usage scenarios, including numerous large-scale and business-critical SOA backplane and governance deployments.

  • The webMethods application infrastructure offering is a comprehensive and proven product set that provides leading and well-integrated technologies (e.g., a common runtime container, unified design and development tool through webMethods Designer and unified metadata management through CentraSite) for SOA backplane and governance projects.

  • The webMethods road map addresses key SOA standards (e.g., REST, BPMN 2.0, SCA, OSGi and S-RAMP), technologies (event processing and governance, canonical messages, etc.) and emerging requirements (e.g., cloud/SaaS integration, SOA federation and mobile applications support).

  • Synergies with the ARIS product and the business consulting arms of IDS Scheer (a company acquired in July 2009) may open opportunities in vertical sectors where webMethods has had a limited presence.

  • The legal complexities of IDS Scheer's integration into Software AG's R&D, marketing, sales, support and professional services organizations, as well as the resulting focus on BPM markets, may distract Software AG's management attention from the SOA backplane and governance market.

  • The company's conservative, fast-follower attitude toward the adoption of emerging standards, technologies and requirements may alienate leading-edge user organizations looking for advanced application infrastructure technologies.

  • The webMethods 8 product set requires further proof points of its "production readiness," in terms of real-life deployments. Its installed base and the number of completed migrations projects from previous versions is still relatively small.

  • Although Software AG is developing such a capability, webMethods 8 doesn't yet provide a unified deployment, administration and management environment across the product set. This makes IT operations challenging when users need to deploy multiple webMethods product to support their SOA backplane and governance requirements.


Sopera provides subscription-based support and maintenance for an integrated set of technologies from multiple open-source providers, including Intalio, Talend and Apache (ServiceMix). The first public offering (Sopera 3.0) was released in March 2008. The primary product offered by Sopera is Sopera Advanced Service Factory(ASF), which became generally available in May 2010.

  • Sopera ASF is a robust ESB, built on Apache ServiceMix 3.3, which supports application integration and SOA deployment. ASF Community Edition is available for the Linux operating environment and OSS application servers, such as Tomcat and JBoss.

  • ASF Enterprise Edition offers plug-ins for data integration, BPM and SOA, including governance, security and identity management, and service and system management. It is available on additional operating environments (e.g., Windows and Unix) and execution containers (e.g., WebSphere Application Server and .NET).

  • ASF has a modern, OSGi-compliant architecture that supports the hot deployment of bundles to the ServiceMix container, enabling on-the-fly changes.

  • A business model built on support and maintenance subscriptions removes the challenge of obtaining capital budget, which is a part of sale cycles for commercially licensed software products. This makes it attractive to organizations that are reducing capital outlays.

  • Sopera was founded in 2007; hence, its products do not have the "extensive battle testing" of competing commercial products, many of which have evolved from offerings that go back 10 years.

  • Although the feature is under development, Sopera ASF lacks a comprehensive service registry/repository that supports artifact management and publishing, dependency analysis and policy management.

  • Engineering resources in an OSS provider are stretched thin, given their responsibilities to be contributors, provide support and develop features that extend the technology from the open-source communities.

  • Sopera intends to rely primarily on open-source communities to provide adapters. Although it offers adapters to Microsoft CRM and, it provides only a limited offer for widely deployed commercial packaged applications, such as the adapter it offers for SAP Business Suite.

Tibco Software

The evaluation of Tibco's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by the ActiveMatrix 3.0 family of products (released in May 2010), which includes ActiveMatrix Service Bus, providing core ESB requirements; ActiveMatrix ServiceGrid for service assembly, deployment and management; ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks for orchestration and advanced ESB capabilities; ActiveMatrix Policy Manager, ActiveMatrix Service Performance Manager and ActiveMatrix LifeCycle Governance Framework supporting SOA governance needs.

  • Tibco's ActiveMatrix is a large and growing application infrastructure business, with an installed base of more than 3,000 clients leveraging the technology in the context of multiple usage scenarios, including several large-scale and business-critical SOA backplane and governance deployments.

  • ActiveMatrix provides an advanced, feature-rich application infrastructure offering that provides leading and well-integrated technologies for SOA backplane and governance. ActiveMatrix supports heterogeneous environments (Java, .NET, C/C++, Ruby and others) and is based on open standards, such as SCA, OSGi; Eclipse, Spring and WS_*.

  • Tibco is the one of the few AIM vendors providing application infrastructure technology in the form of a cloud service through the Tibco Silver application platform (partially compatible with ActiveMatrix), which gives users a range of deployment options (on-premises/in the cloud/hybrid) for their SOA backplane and governance strategy.

  • The technologies introduced during the past 12 months via acquisitions (DataSynapse for virtualization, Foresight for message mapping and transformation, Kabira for event-driven applications and Netrics for data pattern matching) and internal developments (ActiveSpaces Data Grid for distributed caching platform and Tibco FTL for low-latency messaging) are not yet fully incorporated in the ActiveMatrix 3.0 and Silver stacks. Their future integration may expose users to migration and upgrade issues.

  • The maturity of the individual components of the ActiveMatrix 3.0 product set varies greatly. Some SOA backplane and governance technologies (e.g., ActiveMatrix Service Bus; ActiveMatrix Policy Manager, ActiveMatrix Service Performance Manager and ActiveMatrix LifeCycle Governance Framework) have smaller installed bases (200 to 300 clients) than the most proven products, such as ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks (more than 3,000 clients).

  • The ActiveMatrix 3.0 and Silver product sets require further proof points of their production readiness in terms of real-life deployments, given their recent availability and the significant architectural and functional enhancements introduced in these recently released versions.


TmaxSoft's position in this Magic Quadrant is mainly based on the functionality provided by its application infrastructure products, which include (1) for core ESB requirements, ProBus 5, and ProMapper; (2) for orchestration requirement, ProFrame 4, ProBus 5 and BizMaster 5; and (3) for SOA governance, ProFrame 4.0, ProRule, ProFactory and BizMaster 5.

  • TmaxSoft ProFrame is a strong application framework that offers microflow management capability through its ESB ProBus. It also offers orchestration of services. Performance is scaled by creating clustered environments.

  • TmaxSoft ProBus offers reliable messaging and transactional flow and supports REST/JSON. The TmaxSoft suite also includes ProBus studio, which is BPMN-based process design tool that supports simplified ("one-click") deployment features, as well as additional management, design, development and deployment features.

  • TmaxSoft has a clear plan to offer products for metadata management (Service repository), CEP/EDA and high-performance messaging technology (e.g., AMQP) and service-level agreement (SLA)-based management capability, in addition to current ESB/BPM/business rule management system offerings.

  • TmaxSoft's presence is limited outside Korea. Its SOA infrastructure offering (e.g., ProBus and BizMaster) needs an expanded installed base, even if its partner numbers are increasing outside Korea.

  • TmaxSoft's life cycle management feature must be extended to support SOA governance.

  • TmaxSoft is recovering from significant financial problems that plagued the company in the first part of the year, due, in part, to the severe economic situation in Korea and its impact on Korea's financial industry (TmaxSoft's primary market). The recovery plan includes a sell-off of unprofitable businesses to focus the company's efforts in the healthy application infrastructure business.


The WSO2 has more than 100 employees and provides support for a streamlined, open-source suite of platform technologies that has been developed in conjunction with a number of open-source communities (especially, Apache). The products considered in this report are from the WSO2 Carbon family: Identity Server, Gadget Server, Rules Server, Activity Monitor, Business Process Server, Mashup Server, Data Services Server and Web Services Application Server.

  • Lightweight, open-source versions of core SOA governance and integration platform capabilities, linked via OSGi.

  • Highly standardized and open-source technology gives substantial freedom.

  • The platform can be tailored such that specific capabilities and components are implemented only for specific tasks.

  • Base SOA governance and integration capabilities are available, straightforward and easy to consume.

  • A support subscription model for open source historically has been difficult to scale.

  • WSO2's employed development community based in Sri Lanka means a concentrated risk profile, although the leverage of Apache and other broad communities limits this risk.

  • The lean model adopted for the platform means that users must sometimes add third-party components to the suite to meet their needs.

  • WSO2 lacks some basic mechanisms, such as an adapter portfolio for common packaged business applications.

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Note 1
SOA Backplane Capabilities

Development and Testing Tooling: Graphical design, development and deployment of services.

Orchestration: Runtime execution of process logic that varies from short-term (seconds or minutes) to long-term (hours, weeks).

Activity Monitoring: Monitoring messaging traffic, state, and application parameters and behavior.

Administration and Management: Remote monitoring and management of distributed applications and services.

Security: Authentication and authorization to control access to the services.

Community Management (low-level): Provisioning of connections with external business partners or for internal interactions among autonomous parties, such as divisions in different geographical areas.

Adapters: Design tools and runtime software to act as the "glue" to link (pre-SOA) applications to the application infrastructure.

Transformation: Syntactic and semantic hub-based transformation of messages.

Mediation: Protocol bridging, in-flight transformation, intelligent routing, naming and addressing of in-transit messages.

Data Integration: Direct manipulation of data values and the representation of those values for storage, transport or presentation purposes.

QoS (load balancing, high availability and transaction support): Support for reliable operations, different execution priorities, in-order delivery, transaction management, and performance and high-availability support.

Communication: Reliable and once-only delivery of messages among applications through a variety of protocols and communication styles (e.g., request/reply, publish-and-subscribe and message queuing).

Note 2
SOA Governance Capabilities

Life Cycle Management: Management of SOA assets (for example, service interfaces) from "cradle to grave" (development, versioning and deployment).

Registry/Repository: Capabilities of cataloging, promoting, publishing of and access to SOA assets.

Policy Management and Enforcement: Foundation for the governance, policy and life cycle management of services and applications.

Vendors Added or Dropped

We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor appearing in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. This may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or a change of focus by a vendor.

Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Ability to Execute

Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor that compete in/serve the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets and skills, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.

Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.

Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor’s capabilities in all pre-sales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, pre-sales support and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.

Market Responsiveness and Track Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.

Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word-of-mouth and sales activities.

Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.

Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.

Completeness of Vision

Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.

Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the Web site, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.

Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.

Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.

Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.

Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.

Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.

Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.