Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA Application Projects
New and composite service-oriented architecture applications need a complex array of runtime technologies and development capabilities. Here, we examine the leading application infrastructure vendors, which provide users with complete end-to-end support for systematic SOA-style application projects.
Gartner defines application infrastructure as the technology that underlies and enables development, deployment, execution and integration of software solutions (applications). This technology is often referred to as middleware.
This Magic Quadrant addresses the requirements of projects that take a systematic approach to building a service-oriented architecture (SOA)-style application — i.e., an application that uses SOA-style services to modularize its business logic and to integrate new software with existing programs and data. In these projects, the focus is on the design and development of user-facing components (clients), programmatically accessed components that are data-facing (services), as well as components that are used to assemble and integrate new, internal and external components into transactions and orchestrated processes.
Because systematic applications are intended for long-term use, they must be scalable, changeable, extensible and manageable. Many of these project teams deploy advanced software design models, such as event processing, SOA federation and cloud-enablement. Due to their strategic nature, the project teams building these applications are choosing technologies based on the merits of the middleware and the track record of the vendor in supporting these types of applications.
Source: Gartner (June 2012)
Engine Yard is a pure cloud service provider (it offers no traditional software products for on-premises deployments). Its primary offering is a cloud application platform as a service (aPaaS) that comes in three forms. Engine Yard Cloud is a Ruby on Rails development and runtime platform deployed in Amazon EC2 and using a shared-hardware form of multitenancy (see "Gartner Reference Architecture for Multitenancy" [Note: This document has been archived; some of its content may not reflect current conditions.]). Additional supported programming options include JRuby, Rubinius and Node.js. Engine Yard Managed runs on Terremark's eCloud infrastructure, which is built on VMware's vSphere. In addition to Ruby, it supports PHP, Python and Java. Engine Yard Managed is an isolated-tenancy platform that includes professional and operational support for customer projects. Engine Yard PHP Cloud is a shared-hardware/shared-OS PHP aPaaS, running on Amazon EC2 and the result of a recent acquisition. According to Gartner market research, Engine Yard generates the third-largest revenue in the aPaaS space, behind only salesforce.com and Microsoft.
- Engine Yard is a fast-growing Ruby on Rails aPaaS, with a substantial number of paying customers and a choice of elastic shared-hardware or custom isolated-tenancy deployments as well as multiple alternative programming languages. The combination attracts a relatively broad spectrum of prospects. Ruby is popular with Web 2.0 startups and is gaining traction with independent software vendors (ISVs). Gartner client inquiries reveal it to be a frequent choice of new Web businesses.
- Engine Yard is the most visible corporate supporter of the open-source Ruby community, employing a large number of contributors to key projects such as Rubinius, Rails, JRuby and Ruby itself. Besides giving the company access to industry-leading Ruby talent with which to improve its platform, Engine Yard's profile within the Ruby community enhances its credibility with developers and provides an additional revenue stream (Engine Yard offers paid support for JRuby, even for nonusers of Engine Yard aPaaS).
- In a Rails application, every action generates a representational state transfer (REST)ful Web service that can be consumed by other applications. Additional capabilities, such as asynchronous event processing, are available to Rails users through RubyGems command-line-installable packages, which enhance the application's capabilities. They are considered part of the configuration of the application.
- Engine Yard is focused on offering platform services for the development and deployment of new applications. It has limited support of other capabilities often essential in composite enterprise SOA application projects, such as application integration, business process management (BPM), metadata governance and portals.
- Engine Yard platforms provide limited support for the development and governance of modular, SOA-style application development. For example, although REST interfaces are easy to generate with Rails, to separate the service interface implementation from the service implementation, custom coding is required. In addition, there are no management tools for developing the linked interface implementation code and business logic implementation code separately. This limitation is typical of most vendors offering REST APIs to back-end service implementations.
- The company does not offer specialized tools for social or mobile applications, although some such applications can still be developed using the available Engine Yard capabilities.
Fujitsu's recent corporate strategy, the "Human Centric Intelligent Society," will position the company to enable human-knowledge-centered IT. To support this positioning, Fujitsu's application infrastructure is focused on "big data," in-memory data grid (IMDG) technology and BPM.
Fujitsu's position on this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by its Interstage family of products, which includes Interstage Application Server v.10.1; Interstage Business Application Server v.10.1; Interstage Job Workload Server v.9.3; Interstage Interaction Manager (IIM) v.9.1.1; Interstage XWand v.12.0; Interstage eXtreme Transaction Processing Server v.1 and Interstage Big Data Complex Event Processing server v.1 for application container technology; Interstage Service Integrator (ISI) v.9.4; Interstage Business Operations Platform (BOP) v.12.0; Interstage Business Process Manager v.11.2; Interstage Business Process Manager Analytics v.12.0; Interstage Studio v.10.1, for SOA modeling and composition capabilities; and Interstage Application Development Cycle Manager v.10.2 for facilitating application development and management requirements.
- The Interstage product family is Fujitsu's strategic and proven application infrastructure offering, which is positioned as offering "one-stop shopping" for enterprise integration functionality. Interstage has a large installed base and offers a comprehensive set of features, primarily targeted at large-scale, complex, heterogeneous and business-critical SOA application projects. Interstage BOP (OEMed from Cordys) is a high-productivity application development and deployment infrastructure that improves communication between Fujitsu and its customers to drive simple and complex application projects at every layer of the system stack.
- To develop and execute agile applications (both on-premises and in the cloud), Fujitsu introduced the JEE6 GlassFish-based Interstage Application Server for on-premises and cloud deployment, as well as a Microsoft Azure-based cloud service. This makes Fujitsu Interstage one of the few application infrastructure suites available for both Microsoft and Java-based development and deployable both on-premises and in the cloud.
- Fujitsu introduced two new containers in the Interstage family. For big data scenarios, Interstage eXtreme Transaction Processing Server offers a general-purpose IMDG. The Big Data Complex Event Processing (CEP) Server is provided to support CEP applications. Both are globally available on Fujitsu's infrastructure as a service (IaaS), aiming at global-class applications.
- Fujitsu's Interstage business still depends heavily on Fujitsu's hardware and services businesses. This makes Fujitsu's Interstage vision conservative and slows its product evolution, compared with its leading competitors.
- Fujitsu has not yet clearly disclosed its future plans for the product evolution of Interstage BOP (the OEM is Cordys) or its role and position in the Interstage portfolio, where its features overlap those of other Interstage products.
- Fujitsu's Interstage marketing and sales strategy are not clear enough to attract many new customers and partners outside Japan, although combining Fujitsu's global IaaS offering with the Interstage platform as a service (PaaS)/cloud-enabled application platform (CEAP) is expected to generate some synergies.
IBM has been in the application infrastructure market for more than 40 years, starting with its veteran Information Management System (IMS) and Customer Information Control System (CICS) transaction-processing monitors, which are early forms of application platforms. IBM has been a player in modern application infrastructure middleware since the early 1990s, with the introduction of the IBM MQSeries (now WebSphere MQ) message-oriented middleware (MOM). Ever since, the company has been expanding its offerings in this market, with the introduction of the Java-based WebSphere Application Server, the WebSphere Message Broker (then MQSeries Integrator), the WebSphere Portal and several other products developed, in part, internally and, in part, deriving from acquisitions.
IBM delivers application infrastructure in the form of software products, as well as hardware appliances and cloud services. In 2012, IBM announced its intention of significantly expanding its cloud application infrastructure services offering. In the early 2000s, IBM was one of the driving forces behind the Web services effort, which popularized SOA principles. Since then, IBM's offerings have been constantly evolving to support systematic SOA application project requirements.
The portfolio of products considered to assess IBM's position in this Magic Quadrant includes items that belong to the WebSphere family and other product lines. The most relevant are WebSphere Portal for user experience management; Rational Software Architect and Rational Application Developer for modeling and development; and WebSphere Application Server for back-end container. Other IBM products relevant to SOA application projects include WebSphere Message Broker (WMB), WebSphere ESB (WESB) and the WebSphere DataPower integration appliances, which provide enterprise service bus (ESB) capabilities; WebSphere MQ for MOM; WebSphere Cast Iron for cloud service integration; IBM BPM for orchestration; WebSphere Registry and Repository (WSRR), the WebSphere DataPower XG45 appliance and IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager to support SOA governance; WebSphere Extreme Scale and WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliance for IMDG and caching; WebSphere Virtual Enterprise and Tivoli Application Performance Management Suite for administration, monitoring and management; and IBM Workload Deployer for elastic application infrastructure deployment.
- IBM's brand recognition, global reach and market share in key application infrastructure middleware segments; its mind share, and its large and loyal installed base of hardware and software products are leveraged by IBM sales to support systematic SOA application projects.
- The company's comprehensive product line has a large installed base, including market-leading SOA application-related products (e.g., WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Application Server) and capabilities (e.g., extensive modeling), targeting emerging requirements (e.g., cloud integration, mobile application enablement), sustained through massive partner programs and complemented by a wide range of consulting and professional services options, with significant deployment successes for large and business-critical systematic SOA application projects in multiple vertical sectors and in virtually all geographical areas, especially in the IBM mainframe installed base.
- Its wealth of marketing and product initiatives (for example, Smarter Planet and Smarter Commerce) drive the adoption of IBM's application infrastructure products for a variety of use cases, including systematic SOA application projects.
- New IBM offerings, such as IBM PureSystems (integrated hardware and software stacks optimized for ease of deployment and management) and IBM SmartCloud (IBM's public cloud), have the potential to drive the adoption of IBM's application infrastructure products. This includes supporting systematic SOA application projects, through innovative distribution channels, as well as targeting key segments, such as small or midsize businesses (SMBs), that traditionally have shown little interest in the most-sophisticated products in IBM's application infrastructure portfolio.
- The implementation of large-scale, systematic SOA application projects may require the acquisition and deployment of a large number of IBM products, including Rational for modeling and development, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Application Server, IBM BPM, WESB, WMB, WebSphere Service Registry and Repository, and WebSphere DataPower appliances, as well as IBM Tivoli technology for monitoring and management. Therefore, when user organizations have complex needs that cannot be addressed by individual products, IBM's offerings can be expensive and may create the need for a significant number of professional services and support to deploy and get the SOA application infrastructure up and running as needed to address specific user requirements.
- The relentless pace of IBM's acquisitions in the application infrastructure space (for example, Lombardi and Cast Iron) continuously challenges IBM with product rationalization and positioning issues and, potentially, exposes users to product discontinuity or migration problems.
- WebSphere Portal is considered a leading product in its space; however, it is suitable primarily for the most-sophisticated SOA application requirements, given its product implementation and configuration costs and complexity, which require advanced IT skills.
- IBM's recently announced (April 2012) strategy for workload optimized systems (IBM Pure Application Systems) fits naturally with the requirements of systematic SOA application projects; however, its value proposition of faster deployments and lower IT operation costs hasn't yet been put to test in a significant number of real-life deployments. Therefore, users should validate IBM Pure Application Systems in their specific scenarios (e.g., through benchmarks or proof of concept projects) before committing. They should also realize that these are high-end systems with a high entry price tag.
A longstanding leader in application infrastructure markets for the healthcare industry, InterSystems shows outstanding execution and understanding of healthcare market requirements, but is slow to expand its successful technology offerings to other verticals. InterSystems Ensemble v.2012.1 is an integrated application development, deployment, composition and integration platform built on the company's Cache object and relational database. Ensemble is also available as a hosted service on Amazon EC2 or as a shared-hardware multitenant service, when used in conjunction with RightScale. The Active Analytics extension to Ensemble supports business analytics, including support for unstructured data types. This privately held company claims more than 1,500 customers.
- InterSystems is an application, integration and database platform provider, with a leading presence in the international healthcare industry. Large numbers of healthcare solution providers and some other ISVs standardize on InterSystems' platform technologies. The company's offerings for electronic health-record exchange with HealthShare and TrakCare maintain the company's leadership as the healthcare industry changes worldwide.
- InterSystems offers an advanced, well-integrated technology suite, including a dual-mode (object-oriented and relational) database (Cache), internal support for event processing in the Ensemble platform, a highly productive (although proprietary) model-driven programming model, a portal builder, a large collection of application and protocol adapters (especially rich for the healthcare industry), high-productivity application development tools, multilayer business process orchestration tools, increasingly sophisticated business analytics and a cloud service delivery option.
- InterSystems is a strong, growing and profitable private business, with no debt and a worldwide presence, including a large international network of ISV and system integrator (SI) partners. This market strength position the company well for continuing growth.
- Despite the multiyear effort, InterSystems is still little-known as a platform vendor for new business applications outside the healthcare industry. That — combined with its minimal presence or influence in industry trends, consortia or standards initiatives (outside healthcare) — pushes the company toward a niche in the overall application infrastructure market.
- Although SOA interoperability is well-supported, the SOA-style application modeling, tracking and governance are limited. The company mostly relies on partnerships for this functionality. Centered around ESB functionality, the InterSystems platform is suitable for the development of new composite applications and is less suitable for substantial new systematic applications.
- Although it partly uses Java, the otherwise nonstandard programming model requires additional training and includes proprietary software that is only useful inside the InterSystems environment. There are no publicly committed plans to respond to mobile, social computing and other new emerging industry trends.
Magic Software Enterprises is a vendor of development and middleware technology. UniPaaS 2.0 was evaluated for this Magic Quadrant, because it is the development and execution platform for building applications. This platform technology has powerful and proven capabilities, but is stylistically different from other systems.
- Magic Software has an easy-to-develop platform, with substantial support for various nonfunctional requirements built in, and it is emerging as a highly capable CEAP.
- The company has an excellent framework for developing mobile enterprise applications using a simplified programming model, and its framework has been shown to be highly productive and to fit well in many organizations.
- Magic Software has a growing network of partners worldwide that are mostly value-added resellers (VARs) delivering prebuilt applications developed with uniPaaS. This network enables broader support than the company's size would indicate.
- The organization has grown steadily since 2010.
- The company's technology has its own idiosyncratic style and metaphor, which are helpful to users of other Magic Software capabilities; however, they are unusual for mainstream Java and .NET developers. Unusual or proprietary styles are gaining acceptance as parts of PaaS platforms; however, most of Magic Software's customers use the products on-premises.
- Organizational size and brand awareness are challenges to expanding into new markets and gaining new customers, because customers must invest in skills that are not readily available.
- The company's strategic investment in support of cloud computing (UniPaaS) has not yielded a substantial reward. Few users are using the product to build public cloud applications. Most choose it for its high productivity for on-premises application development.
- Magic Software had a vision for mobile development early, but this is no longer as differentiable as it once was, because many application platforms have adopted mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) capabilities.
Microgen is a software vendor that has successfully delivered applications to the financial services and digital media markets, and has developed a set of general-purpose application infrastructure products. For this Magic Quadrant, the products evaluated include Microgen Aptitude v.3.11, a process-oriented SOA application platform. Microgen Aptitude provides orchestration models and mechanisms, a set of model-driven development tools and various content templates.
- Microgen is a stable company, with a solid financial track record.
- Although its primary footprint is in financial services, Microgen has expanded into new verticals, such as media, telecom and logistics. It has also expanded its geographical coverage to include North America and other regions. Microgen Aptitude is used by nearly 100 companies to develop service-oriented applications.
- Microgen's model-driven environment includes views for many different portions of the system, including business requirements, business rules and in-database processing. This enables developers to use models for nearly all development and integration activities. Standards, such as Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) 2.0, are used where appropriate. The extent of the graphical modeling environment is greater than many other application infrastructure environments to the extent that little or no code is needed to produce complex applications.
- Performance and scalability are good for Microgen Aptitude applications, so that the environment can be used to deliver applications that require high transaction-processing performance. This differs from most model-driven systems, which accept high overhead to support the modeling abstractions. Microgen Aptitude supports a set of tunable performance features, and uses in-memory processing and an event-driven design to increase performance and scalability.
- Microgen delivers a set of process templates for activities in its core financial services and media verticals.
- All modules developed with Microgen Aptitude can be deployed as shared services in an on-premises environment.
- Microgen is a small company, with limited geographic coverage, and Microgen's core customers in financial services may face spending cuts as a result of the European banking crisis. This creates risk for the company, although the organization has historically been well-run, with solid financial performance.
- Microgen is expanding into vertical industries outside financial services and media, but does not have deep vertical expertise in these other areas.
- Microgen Aptitude's graphical approach to modeling is unique, but this uniqueness, and its proprietary nature, may present skills transfer challenges for developers moving from other model-based solutions.
- Microgen has not adopted a formal cloud strategy for Aptitude at present. It has also not articulated strong strategies for mobile computing and the incorporation of social features into applications developed with Microgen Aptitude.
One of the major application infrastructure vendors, Microsoft was slow in adopting SOA as its strategic architecture model; however, most of the company's recent technology introductions (e.g., Windows Server AppFabric and Windows Azure platform services) reflect its understanding and endorsement of the fundamental role of SOA principles and are likely to anticipate continuing Microsoft investment in support of SOA-style application projects. Most of the Microsoft application platform technology is integrated and packaged with the Windows Server OS. These technologies include the .NET framework and ASP.NET, Internet Information Server, Windows Server AppFabric and others. Management is offered through a separately priced Microsoft System Center. In recent years, and especially in its most recent release, Microsoft SharePoint has become a platform in its own right for developing user-facing applications.
Windows Azure platform services now represent a cloud alternative to the on-premises Microsoft application platform, although the content of the Windows Azure offering continues to evolve and does not exactly match the Microsoft's on-premises application platform technologies. Microsoft's reference to Windows Azure includes both IaaS (virtual machine [VM] role) and PaaS functionality (Web role; worker role). We refer to the PaaS services of Windows Azure as "Windows Azure platform services." SharePoint Online is a growing cloud alternative to the traditional SharePoint product, allowing a degree of in-cloud application development, without relying on Windows Azure.
- Microsoft has a massive presence and a proven reputation with mainstream software developers, resulting in the broad use of Microsoft development tools across industries and locations. This establishes a large skills availability in the market and lowers the costs of IT projects.
- The increasingly strong technical performance of Microsoft's application platform technologies exceeds market perceptions. The addition of IMDG and advanced process management capabilities (Windows Server AppFabric), as well as the strong support for security, which has recently been added, further strengthen Microsoft's enterprise computing fit.
- The company made a strategic commitment to cloud computing ahead of its main enterprise rivals (including IBM and Oracle), giving it an advantage in building mind share and technical expertise for this rapidly emerging business. The preferred design model of Web and Worker roles in Windows Azure context encourages SOA-style application design. The company's move toward a strategic cloud-first approach to software development is visionary and reflects Microsoft's growing insight and its commitment to cloud computing.
- The absence of a unified metadata repository and SOA interoperability tools (such as an ESB) challenges Microsoft customers' ability to manage a systematic SOA environment and puts into question Microsoft's commitment to SOA as the principal software design model.
- The overriding emphasis on cloud computing in platform technology engineering, produces delays in the delivery of the on-premises Windows Server platform technologies. Meanwhile, the Windows Server platform and Windows Azure platform services are not fully portable, nor are SQL Server and SQL Azure. This delays the migration of even the interested Microsoft customers from on-premises to Windows Azure platform services.
- The Windows .NET application platform remains a proprietary environment, with strong vendor lock-in for code and skills portability (the platform is sufficiently open for interoperability). Although the Widows Server OS is open to a variety of programming environments, including Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE); Ruby; and PHP, the .NET/Visual Studio application platform is Microsoft-only. In the application infrastructure environment, where open-source, polyglot language support and multiplatform solutions are becoming a norm, such isolation becomes a larger challenge for .NET than before.
Oracle entered the application infrastructure middleware market in the early 2000s. It consolidated its position as one of the top vendors in this space with the acquisition of BEA Systems in 2008. Ever since, the company has constantly extended its offering — called Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM) — through internal developments and acquisitions. Since the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, which closed in early 2010, Oracle also owns the intellectual property of the key Java technology set. Oracle sells OFM as a set of stand-alone products and product suites, but also as an enabler for its packaged application business and as components of its "engineered systems" offering. In October 2011, the company announced its intention to enter the cloud application infrastructure services (commonly referred to as PaaS) market as part of its broader Oracle Cloud offering. Systematic SOA application projects was a key market originally pursued by BEA Systems through its WebLogic and AquaLogic product lines. After the acquisition, Oracle further extended this technology foundation with additional capabilities targeting the requirements of this market.
The evaluation of Oracle's position on this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by the OFM 11g family of products, which includes Oracle WebLogic Suite (Oracle WebLogic Server [already available in the 12c release], Oracle Coherence, Oracle TopLink, Oracle Web Tier and other components), providing Java EE-based back-end container, IMDG, and object-relational mapping and load-balancing capabilities; Oracle SOA Suite (Oracle Service Bus, Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Oracle Business Rules, Oracle B2B, Oracle BAM, Oracle Web Services Manager, Oracle CEP and other components) supporting ESB and orchestration requirements; Oracle WebCenter Portal, providing front-end container capabilities; Oracle JDeveloper modeling and development toolset; and Oracle Enterprise Manager for administration, monitoring and management. Other Oracle products that may be relevant for systematic SOA application projects include Oracle BPM Suite, as well as Oracle Service Registry, Oracle Enterprise Repository and Oracle Enterprise Management SOA Management Pack for SOA governance.
- OFM is a large product family that positions Oracle as the second-largest application infrastructure middleware vendor in the market, according to Gartner's 2011 market share data. The technology is supported by a vast network of partners. Thousands of organizations, in virtually every location and in multiple vertical industries, have successfully deployed combinations of OFM products, in a large number of cases to support large and business-critical SOA application scenarios, at times involving (but often not involving) Oracle's packaged applications.
- OFM provides a comprehensive, integrated (common development toolset, common management environment, common metadata services and common runtime platforms) and feature-rich application infrastructure offering that also provides leading technologies to support systematic SOA application requirements, such as the market-leading Oracle WebLogic Server Java EE application server and the advanced Oracle Coherence IMDG.
- The OFM road map addresses key SOA application-enabling technologies (e.g., HTML 5 and Java EE 7), emerging requirements (e.g., support for mobile devices, multitenancy and social collaboration) and delivery models (e.g., the public cloud and vertically integrated systems).
- The optimized combination of the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and Oracle Exadata Database Machine engineered systems with OFM enables Oracle to address even the most-demanding systematic SOA application needs, including in software as a service (SaaS) and PaaS scenarios.
- In segments such as application servers and SOA governance, Oracle grew substantially; however, in 2011, the company's application integration middleware revenue grew slightly below the industry average (8.5% versus 9.9%), and in key segments such as portals, BPM suites (BPMSs) and ESBs, Oracle's revenue showed flat or small growth, compared with 2010. This slowdown in growth momentum may indicate sales execution problems in some geographies.
- Even if Oracle is addressing the problem, some large and loyal OFM users, especially those accustomed to BEA Systems' support, report dissatisfaction with Oracle's support.
- Oracle has rationalized its portal offering, which included multiple legacy products from the BEA Systems, PeopleSoft and Sun acquisitions, around the strategic WebCenter product line. However, depending on the specific Oracle legacy portal products user organizations have adopted in the past, the migration to WebCenter Portal may require significant licensing costs and porting efforts.
- Some Oracle clients are experiencing licensing and pricing issues when upgrading from Oracle Internet Application Server to WebLogic Server, which implies an upgrade to the functionally richer (e.g., Oracle Coherence), but more expensive, WebLogic Suite to take advantage of the full WebLogic Server capabilities.
On 26 April 2012, Progress Software announced its intention to sell several businesses and focus on the application development and PaaS market. Progress' renewed focus in this area could be positive, if it results in renewed investments and reinvigoration of the OpenEdge technology. The current release, OpenEdge 11, is due in the summer of 2012. OpenEdge is the core product for this market, and Progress will be retaining capabilities from its Apama and DataDirect product lines.
- Its proven high-productivity development environment is used by thousands of customers and should create an opportunity to upsell aPaaS capabilities.
- Good integration with other applications and sources of data through Data Direct should enable the platform to coexist easily with other enterprise software.
- Renewed focus on and investment from the company in the application development platform will make success in this market a "bet the business" effort for Progress. This will enable the company to focus all its financial and talent resources on a unified objective, in contrast with its prior strategy of multiple diverse offerings.
- The new strategy for the company requires it to refocus away from the middleware portfolio, which has been the center of its brand and direct sales efforts for years. This transition is likely to cause challenges in field execution and customer support.
- The company's focus on the OpenEdge environment, with its primary channel through ISVs, will require a significant shift by the field and support organizations, because the direct sales have been focused on the middleware offerings. This is a natural transition as it consolidates its core business. However, such transitions can create challenges until roles and operations are realigned and personnel are up to speed in their new roles.
- Future success is focused on establishing a significant position as an aPaaS provider; however, details of this offering are not yet known. The aPaaS market is hotly contested, with more than 40 vendors providing aPaaS capabilities. Although it is critical that Progress consolidate its base offerings, it can't miss the window for developing an aPaaS track record.
Red Hat is a leading provider of open-source Java EE platform technology. Red Hat JBoss is well-positioned to support SOA-style business application projects, although Red Hat's investment in SOA governance does not match the functional completeness of its application server offering. JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) is Red Hat's primary technology for supporting new SOA application development, and JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform is the technology offering dedicated to managing SOA contexts (including an ESB and jUDDI registry). JBoss Enterprise Web Platform (EWP) is a lightweight version of EAP. The JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform, JBoss Enterprise Business Rules Management System, JBoss Data Service Platform and Red Hat Messaging are also part of the platform technology family.
JBoss OpenShift is an Amazon EC2-based shared-hardware cloud application platform (aPaaS), due for general availability in 3Q12. OpenShift Origin project will target private cloud deployments. A variety of open-source projects that are used in JBoss-supported product assemblies are available for free download from JBoss.org.
- The combination of a leading open-source operating system (RHEL) and a dominating open-source Java EE application server technology (JBoss) positions the company as a major player in the important enterprise software infrastructure market. An all-open-source offering is appealing for many projects, and the company has limited competition. JBoss is established as an independent alternative to software industry giants such as IBM and Oracle. Support of the Infinispan IMDG, Service Component Architecture (SCA) modeling and many SOA-related standards and tools further solidifies the offering.
- The large pool of technologies in the open-source community supports the potentially rapid 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 open-community approach to software engineering that is typical of open-source offerings results in well-designed and well-implemented systems. The company has experienced a steady growth in the adoption of many of its offerings.
- The emerging JBoss cloud service (OpenShift) takes advantage of the synergies between its Red Hat core OS business and JBoss application infrastructure business to offer an aPaaS that is promised to be fully backward compatible with JBoss on-premises deployments. This will benefit early enterprise cloud projects looking to port on-premises workloads and skills to the cloud. OpenShift-derived technology is also expected to be offered in the future for building private cloud PaaS (project "Origin").
- The prevailing JBoss adoption driver — as just a lower-cost alternative to the dominating closed-source application platform offerings — undersells the company products, hiding their technical merits and reducing their adoption for large-scale, mission-critical projects. The company's recent efforts to overcome this challenge and promote the technical excellence of some of its other offerings have not yet been successful.
- Most of JBoss product sales are upsells to the established users of JBoss application server, limiting the total reachable market for the JBoss division of Red Hat. The limited JBoss marketing budget (which is typical in the open-source community of vendors) leaves a lot of the mind share building for the JBoss products to word-of-mouth.
- The focus on backward compatibility in its cloud platform offering (OpenShift) and the lack of high-productivity tooling for the cloud offering is likely to limit the potential market for Red Hat in the PaaS market. The absence of a social strategy and the company's minimal mobile strategy will further challenge Red Hat's competitive appeal in the cloud computing market.
- Most enterprise production use of JBoss technology is still with the Java EE application server. Although other offerings (such as BRMS) have gained popularity and adoption in recent years, overall, the company has not yet fully extended its success with the application server to the rest of its middleware portfolio.
A visionary and market-leading SaaS vendor, salesforce.com offers its cloud application infrastructure services (PaaS) to empower the users of its SaaS services to innovate and to expand its software industry presence and influence by building an ecosystem of partners and cloud-based business solutions beyond its core SaaS offerings. Salesforce Platform is the unified family of platform services available from salesforce.com. Database.com is a cloud-enabled, proprietary relational database management system (RDBMS) that includes APEX Code stored procedures capability. Force.com is a development environment for Database.com applications; Site.com is a development environment for public websites, with the emphasis on marketing-style sites; ISVforce is a development environment focused on the needs of SaaS-building ISVs; Data.com is a business information source offered as a service; and Heroku is a separately standing aPaaS that supports Ruby on Rails and other languages. Visual Workflow is a high-productivity development tool for the orchestration of software flows. All salesforce.com offerings are cloud services. The company offers no software products for deployment in a data center of the customer's choice.
- Salesforce.com is a leading cloud computing innovator and has the industry's most utilized enterprise aPaaS (Force.com). Some of the largest custom cloud-based enterprise applications are developed using Force.com (for example, Japan's Ministry of the Environment, Burberry and Activision). The company claims more than 110,000 enterprise customers worldwide for its CRM services, and Gartner estimates that Force.com has up to 2,000 direct-paying customers for Force.com aPaaS. The massive CRM installed base provides a strong channel to upsell Force.com services.
- The company's innovative enterprise/social collaboration platform (Chatter) offers a new pattern for cloud SOA applications, where enterprise back-end applications (based on Force.com or others) participate in event-exchange with other applications and with people in Chatter social communities. Its announced mobile touch-based user interface (UI) technology is ahead of most cloud platform service providers. Streaming APIs enable the Force.com environment to participate in CEP applications, which is another visionary feature rarely found in cloud platform offerings.
- The acquisition of Heroku enables the company to extend its platform services with an open-source, multilingual standard programming environment. This makes Salesforce Platform, through the Heroku partnership with Facebook, a default choice for building Facebook applications.
- The nonstandard programming model of Force.com deters some mainstream adoption. The Heroku addition has not mitigated this challenge so far, because the company has failed to migrate Heroku from its Amazon EC2 base to the Database.com data centers. Heroku and Force.com/Database.com technology stacks are minimally integrated.
- Although much of the Force.com functionality is offered via SOA-style programmatic interfaces, and the service interfaces can be catalogued in the AppExchange directory, there is limited support for SOA design or governance. Some of the SOA application management and design must be custom programmed by the application project. The absence of ESB functionality for application integration in Salesforce Platform and a lack of software offerings for deployment on-premises further distances salesforce.com from the enterprise-style hybrid SOA support.
- The time of Force.com being nearly the "only game in town" for enterprise cloud projects is coming to an end: Microsoft is making steady progress as a PaaS provider, and Oracle, IBM, Red Hat, VMware and SAP are all committed to entering the market with production offerings during the next six to 12 months.
- Salesforce.com continues to be perceived as primarily a CRM application vendor (rather than a platform vendor), reducing, in some scenarios, its ability to compete against the established enterprise platform vendors entering this market.
The products considered to assess SAP's position in this Magic Quadrant belong to the SAP NetWeaver 7.3 family, and include SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP/Application Server Java as an execution environment, and SAP NetWeaver Portal for organizing front-end capabilities. Also included for consideration were the features of NetWeaver Process Orchestration, for BPMS and business rules capabilities.
- SAP has used their platform successfully to deliver many SAP applications and establish themselves as a leader in the delivery of business applications.
- SAP is introducing a new cloud-ready application platform, that is more standard and fully integrated with SAP's Hana architecture.
- For organizations already committed to SAP technology, the application development platform is a natural way to create application capabilities that interact and sit alongside SAP applications. This is a vast market for their application infrastructure capabilities.
- SAP's vision of in-memory applications developed for cloud deployment is arguably the correct approach for the next generation of applications, and positions the company to provide additional capabilities, including big-data processing.
- The current generation of NetWeaver technologies is used to develop extensions to SAP applications, but has not found much traction outside this realm, due to the operational capabilities and skill-set availability. SAP has continued to improve the platform, but the current focus is on cloud and Hana capabilities, which are based on a new SOA-enabled platform, which is focused on Hana development and cloud software, rather than traditional SOA applications. Although multiple platforms are needed to address the heterogeneity of the SAP offerings, SAP is still challenged to get users to buy into broad-based support for SOA application development.
- The platform for on-premises applications differs from the platform for on-premises extensions, which is different from the platform for cloud offerings. This diversity of offerings results from the breadth of the portfolio; however, it creates some complexity that will become more visible as the cloud strategy accelerates.
- SAP's application platform capabilities are still mostly used by its application customers, and SAP has not had widespread success promoting their use outside this context.
- The lack of a coherent UI strategy has challenged some users looking to develop lookalike extensions for SAP applications. The problem is too many choices and too little prescriptive advice.
- The aPaaS strategy has only been outlined at this time; however, it is a critical component of the Hana platform. SAP has begun promoting its homegrown social capabilities, but it has also made a significant investment in the mobile technology it acquired as part of Sybase.
A longstanding player in middleware markets, Tibco Software has evolved to offer platform technologies suitable for supporting some advanced SOA-style projects. These platform technologies include ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks 5.9.2, ActiveMatrix Service Grid 3.1.2, ActiveMatrix Life Cycle Governance Framework 4.0.2, Tibco ActiveSpaces 2.0, Tibco BusinessEvents 5.0 and other, more-narrowly-focused, application infrastructure offerings.
- The visionary technology of ActiveMatrix ServiceGrid enables well-managed, heterogeneous, composite SOA applications. Tibco ActiveSpaces enables high-performance in-memory computing. Tibco BusinessEvents provides a platform for advanced, event-driven SOA applications. Together, combined with SCA-based development tools and life cycle management, these capabilities create a high-function environment for advanced SOA-style business application projects.
- Tibco has a well-established reputation in enterprise-class messaging, event processing and application integration; a large, loyal installed base; and a network of established partners that serve as a fertile base for upselling new technologies and expanding into adjacent markets.
- The company's technology road map and current offerings reflect most innovation trends in the industry: in-memory computing (Tibco ActiveSpaces), social computing (TIBBR), mobile (Tibco Silver Mobile), business analytics (Tibco Spotfire), agile modularity (OSGi), support of private cloud (Tibco Silver Fabric) and event-driven SOA (Tibco BusinessEvents).
- Excellent business execution in recent quarters has created a strong financial foundation for further growth.
- Although Tibco is well-regarded as an enterprise-class middleware provider, it is relatively unknown as an application platform provider. Limited company investment in marketing (across the board) further holds back its recognition in this relatively new (for Tibco) market. Tibco has developed its own Java application container, which is an uncertified implementation of Java EE. However, it is rarely considered by new prospects choosing a Java EE application server.
- Tibco's offerings are relatively expensive and complex, targeting the more-advanced and more-demanding IT projects. The breadth and sophistication of the Tibco product portfolio can be overkill for smaller-scale, SOA-style application projects. High price, as well as the company's historical focus on high-end/high-demand projects, has delayed the company's entry into the high-productivity mainstream application platform markets, despite the available productivity development tool.
- Although Tibco was one of the first application infrastructure vendors to offer production cloud services, its first entry into cloud computing (Tibco Silver) has been a disappointment, replaced recently with a less ambitious composition of services. Tibco Silver is deployed on Amazon EC2 and, unlike most competitors, its key platform service (Tibco Silver Grid) requires that customers first establish credentials with Amazon, pay separately to Amazon and manage the allocation of computing resources separately from managing Tibco services. This is an approach that will be appreciated by some technically advanced users, but not by the mainstream, which expects a PaaS offering to hide underlying computing resources.
A recent and relatively unproven entry in the application infrastructure market, VMware is an ambitious newcomer with the strategy of establishing a leading position in the market by attracting users to private and public cloud models of application design and deployment. VMware vFabric Suite v.5 is a family of software products, assembled through acquisitions and built up during the past two years, that represent the company's on-premises application platform. The vFabric Suite includes Spring Framework v.3.1 as its main development model, tcServer v.2.6 Java application server, GemFire v.6.6 in-memory computing technology, RabbitMQ v.2.4 messaging and other components. VMware Cloud Foundry (including CloudFoundry.com, which is now in beta, the open-source CloudFoundry.org, and Micro Cloud Foundry for desktop/laptop development and testing) represents its cloud application infrastructure (PaaS) offering. WaveMaker is a separately offered, high-productivity application PaaS.
- VMware's leading position in the server virtualization market establishes the company's leadership in private cloud projects, which are typically based on management of pools of VMs. From its credibility in private cloud projects, the company has derived name recognition for public cloud offerings as well. The strategic acquisition of SpringSource — the company behind the highly popular open-source Spring Framework — further helps VMware enter the application infrastructure market. Despite its minimal experience in this market, VMware has developed strong name recognition in the emerging cloud application infrastructure (PaaS) market ahead of delivering any generally available offerings.
- EMC's 80% ownership of VMware provides the company with solid financing for acquisitions and access to cloud data centers and expertise developed by EMC in offering its cloud storage services.
- The popularity of the open-source Spring Framework, Apache Tomcat and other open-source CloudFoundry.org projects helps to familiarize developers with VMware technologies (both on-premises and in the cloud) and attracts a growing ecosystem of partners. The partner implementations of Cloud Foundry are likely to be partly or mostly portable among themselves and with CloudFoundry.com. This creates a partly compatible multivendor environment that VMware credits to its vision of open PaaS.
- GemFire and GemSQL — two in-memory computing offerings inherited through acquisition of GemStone company — add a visionary component to the company's on-premises application infrastructure portfolio.
- Inconsistent strategic positioning on cloud computing which combines a focus on enabling partners to build their own PaaS services (CloudFoundry.org and "Project Bento") with the offering of its own PaaS services (CloudFoundry.com and WaveMaker) has created confusion in the market and inside the company as well.
- The company offers three options for on-premises middleware: vFabric suite, CloudFoundry.org open-source middleware and the future Project Bento. Although each is intended for different use scenarios, much of the technology used in these offerings is the same, which confuses prospective customers about VMware's long-term road map for on-premises application infrastructure.
- New to application infrastructure markets, VMware will have to build an installed base and a reputation both on-premises and in the cloud, while facing the dominating presence on-premises of the software industry giants (including Microsoft, IBM and Oracle), all of which are on an aggressive path to offer competitive cloud services as well. VMware will have to build a differentiated brand in the application infrastructure markets to meet its ambitious objectives.
- The departure of the founder of Spring Framework and SpringSource from active participation in the VMware business and the slowing down of adoption rates for Spring Framework challenge VMware's exclusive commitment to Spring as its main programming model for enterprise applications. Lacking support for Java EE and .NET (as well as such essential application infrastructure capabilities as application integration and BPM) VMware risks failing to meet enterprise prospects requirements for application infrastructure offerings.
WSO2 provides a broad, streamlined open-source platform that has been developed in conjunction with a number of open-source communities (especially Apache). This platform is intended to be good-enough for most users who can do without the less commonly used features of established integration products. WSO2 is evaluated in this market on its open-source suite of platform technologies including:
- WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus 4.0.3
- WSO2 Application Server 4.1.2
- WSO2 Data Services Server 2.6.3
- WSO2 Governance Registry 4.1.1
- WSO2 Business Process Server 2.1.2
- WSO2 Business Rules Server
- WSO2 Mashup Server 2.1.0
- WSO2 Web Services Framework
- WSO2 Business Activity Monitor 1.3.2
- WSO2 Complex Event Processing Server 1.0.2
- WSO2 Message Broker 1.0.2
- WSO2 Carbon Studio (for developing across all products) 1.0.14
WSO2 has created a compelling offering for organizations looking to simplify and streamline their integration solutions.
- Lightweight open-source versions of core platform capabilities, linked via OSGi, deliver a highly flexible environment with straightforward usage and capabilities.
- Successful deployments in high-volume environments add to the credibility of WSO2's solutions for larger enterprises and mission-critical systems.
- A highly standardized and open architecture gives substantial freedom for organizations to combine and enhance solutions with established integration-related technology.
- The company is growing and has acquired capital for expansion and further development.
- WSO2 is still a small company (130 customers; 160 employees), compared with the industry-leading commercial software providers in this market.
- Although the breadth of the platform is impressive, the deployments have mainly been driven by integration needs and the use of the ESB. Some platform components (such as the gadget server) are based on technologies whose future is uncertain.
- A limited selection of prebuilt adapters and frameworks means users must add more of their own solution content than is the case with more-mature vendors.
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.
Progress Software has recently announced a restructuring that creates a vendor focused on providing application platform solutions both on-premises and in the cloud. Although the cloud and aPaaS strategies have yet to play out, Progress has been a provider of application platform and development technology for decades, and meets the criteria for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant.
VMware solidified its multiple application infrastructure acquisitions into the vFabric platform, which features a Spring Application Server, IMDG, in-memory database (IMDB), MOM and other platform capabilities. It is in beta with an aPaaS (Cloud Foundry), and is competing in the systematic SOA-style application platform market.
Compuware has withdrawn from active sales and marketing in this market.
E2E does not meet the market-specific revenue criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
Google does not meet the functional criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
Heroku was acquired by salesforce.com.
Hitachi does not meet the geographical-coverage criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
LongJump does not meet the market-specific revenue criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
NEC does not meet the geographical-coverage criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
Pramati Technologies does not meet the geographical-coverage criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
TmaxSoft does not meet the geographical-coverage criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
Zend does not meet the market-specific revenue criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
Vendors that are included in this Magic Quadrant have sufficient technology and expertise in their total portfolios (regardless of packaging) to be sole application infrastructure providers for systematic projects that develop, deploy and maintain self-contained or composite SOA-style business applications.
The key technical characteristics that are essential to such an offering are:
- Back-end application execution container(s), including support for access to SOA-style services implemented in a broad range of technologies, deployed onto a broad range of platforms and accessed via event-driven, method-based and resource-based interaction models
- Deployment capabilities that target multiple front-end execution container(s), including support for a broad range of client programs and devices
- Development and runtime modeling, design, maintenance and management tools able to establish and manage a complete service-oriented application
- Development and runtime capability for service orchestration and flow control sufficient to support development and deployment of composite SOA-style applications
The ability of these products to support systematic applications implies that they must enable developers to design, develop and maintain service-oriented applications over an extended life cycle and deploy them to environments that permit high throughput, low latency and high availability.
Both as-a-product and as-a-service offerings are covered, because the cloud is considered an alternative development and deployment platform for these services. However, specific user organizations may require solutions that run only on-premises or only in the cloud, and some organizations will plan for hybrid applications. Hence, the ability to meet the enumerated requirements with both delivery models is advantageous to the vendor.
Each vendor's entire offering is considered, without regard to product packaging. All of the above capabilities must be delivered and supported by the vendor being assessed. Some of the technology in the evaluated portfolio might be OEMed from a third party. This is acceptable as long as the user's primary support experience is with the vendor being assessed. Delegating Level 3 support is acceptable.
There must be evidence of production success (paying production customers) by this vendor as a sole provider of technology for this project type.
Vendors with product license and maintenance revenue from application infrastructure deployments of less than $10 million may not be included. In the case of vendors pursuing a subscription-based, open-source business model, the subscription revenue limit for exclusion is $5 million. Vendors must also realize substantial revenue from two of the five global regions: the Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region to be included.
The vendors included on this Magic Quadrant will be limited to approximately 15 vendors who offer the greatest and broadest market penetration and meet all of the functional inclusion criteria noted above.
A software vendor's Ability to Execute in any market indicates the provider's attained industry influence, market presence and reputation, the record of its business and technical execution, its attained financial position and the degree to which it has delivered the essential core functionality expected from a competitive product in the specified market.
The systematic SOA-style application projects considered herein have an intended long-term impact. Thus, the project attitude toward technology selection must include a degree of caution (despite the unrelenting pressure to innovate). Ability to Execute is a significant consideration in these selections, because the buyer expects to establish a long-term relationship with and some degree of dependence on the vendor. In addition to the importance of an established presence in the relevant markets, buyers highly value the record of other customers' experiences with the vendor.
Given the rapid strategic changes in the business use of IT, buyers value the vendor's ability to respond to market trends in a mature and timely manner. These characteristics are more important here than the flamboyance of the vendor's marketing or the effectiveness of its internal operations (although all of these are notable). Thus, in the application infrastructure market for systematically building and deploying new SOA-style business applications, the following criteria and weightings determine the Ability to Execute rating (see Table 1).
Source: Gartner (June 2012)
The Product/Service criterion is the only category that has subcategories. To rate vendors' Ability to Execute for the Product/Service criterion, we considered the following three defining characteristics, as they apply to a vendor's entire portfolio of application infrastructure offerings in the context of this market:
- Functional Completeness (weight: standard): Evaluates the extent to which the vendor's application infrastructure offering supports the full range of technical features and capabilities listed in the Completeness of Vision section.
- Technical and Business Maturity (weight: standard): Evaluates the maturity of the offering in terms of its longevity in the marketplace, architectural stability, installed base and proven ability to support the requirements of the application infrastructure market for business-critical scenarios.
- Technical Extensibility (weight: high): Evaluates the ability of the platform to easily, quickly and effectively incorporate new standards, technologies, as well as acquired and third-party products, in terms of the platform technology and internal architecture, as well as the vendor's track record in extending its offering.
A detailed description of the other 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."
The fundamental indication of a software vendor's Completeness of Vision in any market is the degree to which the vendor anticipates and influences prevailing market trends.
For systematic SOA-style application projects, the vendor's vision is reflected in its ability to track the changing mainstream enterprise requirements, offer long-lasting standards support and enhance the product with modern competitive capabilities, without detracting from its reliability and established levels of service. Thus, the vendor's Market Understanding and the resulting product directions and positioning, as well as the vendor's investments in intelligent innovation, are all important as prospective users try to estimate how well the vendors will remain aligned with their (and the market's) long-term requirements.
Geographic Strategy is important mostly to the largest multinational corporations. However, it is also significant for the organizations considering technology for which the support center may be many time zones away. Vertical/Industry Strategy is naturally a distinct value to the relevant buyers, but the rest of the market only notices that as an additional channel for vendor's sales efforts. Sales, Marketing and Business Model Strategies are of secondary importance to users, as further assurances of the continuing popularity of the vendor's products in this market. Thus, in the application infrastructure market for building and deploying new systematic SOA-style applications, the following criteria and weightings determine the Completeness of Vision rating (see Table 2).
Source: Gartner (June 2012)
The Offering (Product) Strategy criterion is the only category that has subcategories. To rate vendors' vision for the Offering (Product) Strategy criterion, we considered the following defining characteristics, as they apply to a vendor's entire portfolio of application infrastructure offerings in the context of this market:
- Back-End Containers (weight: high): Features and capabilities to support the execution of mainstream SOA-style, custom-built back-end business logic (i.e., basic server application container features, such as programming frameworks and languages, runtime interpreters and VMs [Java Virtual Machine or similar], interoperability and access from like and unlike platforms, management and quality of service [QoS] support, including performance, availability, security, manageability, scalability and other like capabilities). Advanced examples will also include support for leading-edge and high-demand SOA-style, custom-built, back-end application logic (i.e., extreme transaction processing, event processing, parallel processing, support for multitenant deployments of applications as a service, footprint optimization, nonintrusive versioning and other capabilities).
- SOA Modeling, Design and Composition Tools (weight: high): Features and capabilities to support SOA-style modeling, design and development, including separation of front-end and back-end business logic, the design of service interfaces, metadata management, choice of SOA patterns (remote procedure call [RPC], event-driven architecture [EDA], Web-oriented architecture [WOA], custom), service composition and mediation, productivity aids and other capabilities.
- Front-End Containers (weight: high): Features and capabilities to support the execution of SOA-style, user-facing, front-end business logic in a multichannel environment (i.e., supporting a choice of front-end architectures, such as traditional rich client, traditional Web client, rich Internet client, Ajax, mobile and portal) and its ability to access standard and nonstandard SOA-style interfaces of like and unlike platforms.
- SOA Governance (weight: standard): Features and capabilities to support the implementation of SOA governance processes, with specific reference to such aspects as SOA policy management and enforcement, registry/repository and metadata management, statistical and key performance indicator (KPI) data collection, the governance of services in the cloud, monitoring and management, applications and service life cycle management, and interoperability with other SOA governance technologies.
- Core ESB (weight: low): Features and capabilities to support core ESB capabilities, including reliable communications among endpoints through a variety of protocols, support for fundamental Web and Web services standards, the ability to bind between consumer and provider endpoints, the ability to apply optional intermediary functions (e.g., transformation or routing) to messages in flight and support of messages for which the contents are explicitly defined and documented.
- Orchestration (microflow, service composition and straight-through process) Design and Execution (weight: standard): Features and capabilities to support application composition, including design tools and execution engines for supporting the implementation of microflow, service composition and straight-through processes (human-centric workflow is not required). The emphasis of this capability in this market is on building composite applications.
- Architectural Consistency (weight: standard): Initiatives, patterns, features, capabilities and standards to support the integration and architectural coherence of the vendors' application infrastructure offerings — e.g., common (across the individual products) development tools, metadata repository, runtime containers, flow managers, monitoring and management tools, security and other components, as well as support for "pluggability" standards, such as OSGi.
- Openness and Interoperability (weight: standard): 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 vendor's application infrastructure offering.
- Monitoring, Management and Administration (weight: standard): Features and capabilities to support the operation (administration, security, governance, version management, disaster recovery, etc.) of projects based on the vendor's application infrastructure.
A detailed description of the other Completeness of Vision criteria can be found in Section 2.3.1 of the "Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes: How Gartner Evaluates Vendors Within a Market."
In addition to the evaluation of released or imminent product features, the products' road maps were 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.
Leaders combine an insightful understanding of the realities of the market, a reliable record, the ability to influence the market's direction, the capability to attract and keep a following, and the capacity to lead. A Leader has the proven ability to deliver on its vision and to support its customers through periods of stability, as well as periods of change. Leaders control most of the market's business activity, and are the primary influencers of market evolution.
A Leader, however, is not always the best choice for a particular user's project. A focused, smaller vendor can provide excellent support and commitment to individual mainstream customers, especially when geographic or vertical-industry specifics are of importance. With some notable exceptions, Leaders are typically large vendors with long-term industry records. They represent safe choices, but they are not necessarily the state-of-the-art vendors in every aspect of the technology suite, or the leaders of industry innovation. Some are also known to be mostly focused on their larger customers, leaving the rest of the installed base with less-than-stellar support or pricing options.
In this relatively conservative, but changing market, leadership is earned through a well-established record of execution and vision. It also requires the stability and reliability of a proven vendor — such qualities include a long-term presence in the market and, as a result, Leaders are typically the largest vendors in the market. However, longevity alone does not make a Leader; Leaders may not be first to adopt some breakthrough innovations, but they retain the agility to stay abreast of the market, to pursue new directions, and, often, to deploy their considerable capital and talent to forward-looking research, partnerships and acquisitions. It is not enough to be dependable in this market, despite its maturity — prospects expect industry leadership in innovation as well.
Challengers excel in their ability to attract a large user following, but typically owe that ability to a relatively narrow focus on a particular use pattern or user type, or to their past accomplishments. Challengers excel in their chosen patterns, and can be the best choice for a subset of users, although they lack some capabilities for the requirements of other users, especially the Type A innovators. These vendors are typically more conservative, and rarely offer competitive innovation, although their support of market fundamentals is generally well-proven.
A well-established market presence is one prerequisite for inclusion in this market, and an understanding and the adoption of multifaceted market requirements is the other. A vendor that builds a successful business, serving a subset of project categories or technical project requirements, but ignores some significant areas of market growth (industry, geography or use-pattern) is likely to be rated a Challenger. Challengers are well-positioned to evolve into Leaders, but this change often requires a cultural change, including adding some risk taking into the mix of the company road map.
Visionaries are innovators that offer emerging technologies or are invested in addressing the limitations of the dominating vendors. Some will eventually grow to become Leaders or will be acquired by them (or by the Challengers seeking a leadership position in the market). Others will limit their target markets to focus on their core competencies and will become Niche Players, or they will grow in their specialty to become Challengers. Others will exit the market. Visionary vendors are relatively weak in their execution record and, thus, represent higher long-term risk; however, they offer the greatest opportunity for differentiation for users looking for the competitive use of IT. Although the Leaders have strong vision rating as well — the Visionaries, less burdened by the size of business they must maintain — often excel beyond the Leaders in their chosen areas of specialty.
In this market, Visionaries invest in market-leading technologies, patterns and best practices for new systematic SOA-style application projects. These could be cloud computing, mobile, social, big data, business analytics, context-awareness, advanced forms of SOA (event-driven and federated), or breakthrough levels of productivity, performance, platform independence or user interaction. They invest in new software development and the composition of new and old software. Relatively new to the market, Visionaries are smaller than Leaders and Challengers. Being substantially smaller than the Leaders, Visionaries are not able to advance in every aspect of the complex technology of this market. As a result, the relatively narrow focus of their investments keeps Visionaries behind Leaders in the total vision rating.
Niche Players operate well in a vertical industry, a geographic segment or other specialized market segments, such as serving the installed base of a particular application. They are specialists in their areas, and may represent the optimum choice for some projects or some IT organizations, offering specialized expertise, focused support practices, flexible terms and conditions, and greater dedication to a particular market segment and its customers.
Some of the more insightful cloud platform players, for example, begin to compete for mainstream enterprise application projects. Typically, their investment in SOA capabilities is limited (so far), which renders them Niche Players until their vision extends beyond primarily meeting base project requirements. The potential for these vendors can be high, but success will depend on the growing breadth of their market understanding and their Ability to Execute over time.
Some Niche Players look to grow their businesses to challenge Leaders. Others discover innovative solutions that attract interest beyond their target market segments, and emerge as Visionaries. However, most Niche Players focus on serving their market segments and customer bases, and generally limit their ambitions to maintaining their segment excellence.
Most new software projects target the service-oriented software model. Service-oriented applications separate the front-end business logic of the application from its back-end business logic. They are modular, and the modules (services and clients) are loosely coupled, shareable and distributable. They are also encapsulated behind documented programmatic interfaces. Most such applications are composites — that is, they partly use services that are newly designed for this application, and partly use services that already exist as part of other applications. Support of such architecture requires a multifunctional, underlying application infrastructure technology (middleware). In some cases, the deployed infrastructure is assembled by users from middleware offerings of different vendors. Some IT projects prefer this best-of-breed approach, although it requires IT organizations to act as SIs in assembling the disparate pieces into a cohesive platform for the project.
Many users prefer to support their projects with an integrated application infrastructure suite provided by one vendor, thus eliminating the burden to act as an SI for the application infrastructure. Most vendors recognize this buying pattern by offering technology suites targeting some popular project styles.
The total application infrastructure capability of a vendor can be applied to different types of projects, and it can be offered as an integrated assembled suite or as a collection of separately packaged products. Here, we examine vendors' application infrastructure worthiness, regardless of the packaging, for systematic SOA-style application projects. Simultaneous with this report, two other Magic Quadrants are published that examine the vendors' application infrastructure suites against the requirements of systematic application integration and systematic SOA infrastructure projects (see "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects" and "Magic Quadrant Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA Infrastructure Projects").
Systematic projects include long-term consideration and project planning in the process of design and technology selection for the application. They target applications that are intended for extended periods of use, carry advanced service-level requirements and typically have an impact on the overall information context of the business organization. These are distinct from opportunistic projects that are undertaken in response to urgent demands, and they target applications of limited lifetime, responsibility and complexity (see "Opportunistic vs. Systematic AD Projects" [Note: This document has been archived; some of its content may not reflect current conditions.]). These projects value time to market and cost optimization above the long-term use and flexibility of the application. This Magic Quadrant focuses only on the systematic project types, in part because the opportunistic projects rarely focus on selection of the application infrastructure, rather focusing on finding the best-fit development environment that encapsulates everything else.
In recent years, Gartner has identified a trend in enterprise IT projects away from the best-of-breed middleware selection 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, defined by the requirements of a particular type of IT project, rather than by the taxonomy of vendor offerings (the traditional type of technology markets).
While continuing to analyze markets for specialized products — for example, enterprise application servers, horizontal portals, BPMSs and business intelligence (BI) tools — Gartner is also providing analysis of the overall application infrastructure market through the lenses of some prevailing use patterns (see "Application Infrastructure Magic Quadrants Reflect Evolving IT Demands"). Buyers in such markets are not looking to invest in grand, all-encompassing application infrastructure technology stacks, but rather are looking for vendors that understand and support the kind of project requirements they face.
A systematic SOA-style business application development project is the type of project that is frequently the initiative of mainstream enterprise IT, and it is likely to continue to be through the next five years. With this project type, the effort centers on the modeling and design of an SOA-style application topology, and the development of service implementations and user-facing logic (which is often multichannel). The orchestration of new and existing, like and unlike services is a key requirement (including some degree of SOA-style integration and governance).
Users and vendors that meet in this market are driven to support systematic software development and deployment projects designed to deliver new and/or composite SOA business applications. The "new" in the project characterization indicates that most software and the data model of the application are newly designed for this project. The "composite" refers to use of existing external services. The service-oriented characterization means that the software architecture will consist of clients, service interfaces and service implementations.
Gartner also offers a separate analysis of the market for application infrastructure designed to support strategic SOA infrastructure projects (see "Magic Quadrant Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA Infrastructure Projects"), where the market is focused on establishing the operational and governance environments for coexistence and interoperation of multiple SOA-style applications. This market does not address the requirements of building new services or clients, and it does not target any one application project. Rather, it targets the establishment of a long-term infrastructure platform for current and future SOA-style software resources — internal, purchased, remote (B2B) and cloud-sourced. If your project looks to build a systematic SOA application and, in the process, establish the governance and operational platform for future SOA-style application projects and acquisitions, we recommend that you examine the "Magic Quadrant Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA Infrastructure Projects," together with the vendor assessments presented in this research.
Gartner also offers analysis of systematic application integration projects (see "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects"). This type of project focuses on the integration of existing software that is resident in a variety of different systems, custom-designed, purchased, contracted as a cloud service or offered by partner enterprises. There is no focus on the ability to construct new applications. There is also no priority for SOA-style integration at the expense of other integration practices. If your project, while building a new SOA application, must substantially interact with non-SOA external resources, then we recommend that you examine the application integration Magic Quadrant, along with this research, to fine-tune your decision process.
Recently, a new category of application infrastructure has emerged. As cloud computing moves toward the mainstream, application infrastructure technology emerges that is designed specifically for the requirements of that use pattern (see "Platform as a Service: Definition, Taxonomy and Vendor Landscape, 2012"). In this Magic Quadrant, we examine several cloud technology providers to reflect this trend and to acknowledge that, as IT organizations evaluate enabling technology for their projects, PaaS options may compete with traditional on-premises alternatives.
This Magic Quadrant is intended for IT projects that are looking for a single vendor to support all or most of the project requirements end to end. Projects that prefer custom best-of-breed selection of component technologies for their new SOA-style applications should examine multiple Gartner technology-centered Magic Quadrants, including "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Application Servers," "Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals," "Magic Quadrant for Business Process Management Suites" and "Magic Quadrant for Integration Service Providers."
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, skills and so on, 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 presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales 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 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 website, 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.