Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA Infrastructure Projects
The deployment of an infrastructure, shared across multiple applications and enabling interoperability and governance, is vital for service-oriented architecture initiatives. We assess application infrastructure middleware vendors providing support for the implementation of this infrastructure.
When organizations develop their service-oriented architecture (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 the implementation of the SOA infrastructure for the whole initiative is done "once and for all," because the resulting platform is, almost by definition, shared among all the SOA application projects in the enterprise (or in a specific SOA domain). Therefore, the process of defining the SOA infrastructure architecture, selecting, integrating, implementing and deploying suitable products is a key enabling project in most large-scale SOA initiatives, and must be pursued with systematic rigor.
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, a systematic SOA infrastructure deployment project increasingly precedes every SOA-style application project, because it is intended to provide an 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 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 registries/repositories). 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 startup — developed specific products for SOA infrastructure, and several can now provide the full set of capabilities, either as integrated suites or collections of related products. Because SOA has entered a phase of widespread adoption, mainstream organizations, traditionally reluctant to deal with too many vendors, now look at single sourcing their SOA infrastructure technology from one strategic vendor.
Properly deploying an SOA infrastructure requires a holistic, top-down, systematic architectural approach. However, most organizations don't usually implement the full set of SOA infrastructure 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 or if the SOA initiative is primarily "inward looking" (that is, not meant to support consumers external to the organization). Therefore, most organizations implement their SOA infrastructures by incrementally adding components as necessary, and as relevant investments can be justified in the context of specific projects.
Typically, systematic SOA infrastructure projects are conducted under the responsibility of the enterprise or the domain-level SOA center of excellence (COE), which is in charge of:
- Defining the architecture of the SOA infrastructure
- Selecting the appropriate technical components
- Integrating and putting these technical components into production
- Administering, managing and monitoring the resulting platform
- Supporting application teams that share the SOA infrastructure
To address the SOA infrastructure opportunity several vendors offer integrated suites of products (typically referred to as "SOA suites" or "SOA platforms"), packaging enterprise service bus (ESB) products with orchestration tools, Web services management tools, registry/repository products, policy management and enforcement, API management, and other components, such as activity monitoring and business rules.
Although many organizations will never need to deploy the full set of SOA backplane and governance features, the crystallization of users' 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, and less risky and less expensive.
This Magic Quadrant considers vendors providing all the components required to implement an integrated SOA 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 not essential. Organizations typically aim at deploying a vendor-neutral, shared SOA infrastructure that is able to integrate and govern service consumer and provider applications running on containers from multiple vendors, using heterogeneous technology, and located inside or outside the "four walls" of the organization. Therefore, systematic SOA 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 application projects.
Due to their strategic nature, systematic SOA interoperability infrastructure projects greatly value the technical merits of the enabling technology and a sound medium-term vision for the technology evolution.
Source: Gartner (June 2012)
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 business process management (BPM).
Fujitsu's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by its Interstage family of products. Supporting core ESB requirements, this suite of products includes Interstage Application Server v.10.1, Interstage Business Application Server v.10.1, Interstage Job Workload Server v.9.3, Interstage Service Integrator (ISI) v.9.4, Interstage Information Integrator (III) v.10.3, Interstage Interaction Manager (IIM) v.9.1.1, Interstage Business Operations Platform (BOP) v.12.0, Interstage Business Process Manager v.11.2, Interstage Information Quality v.10.2 and Interstage Studio v.10.1. Interstage Application Development Cycle Manager (ADM) v.10.2 and the Systemwalker products (Service Catalog Manager v.15.1, Software Configuration Manager v.15.1, Runbook Automation v.15.1, Centric Manager v.13.5 and Service Quality Coordinator v.13.5) support SOA governance needs.
- Fujitsu offers comprehensive SOA infrastructure functionality and the Systemwalker products represent a feature-rich IT infrastructure and operational management product set. Both of these product families have a large installed base and are proven in large and complex business-critical scenarios.
- The combination of Interstage BOP (acquired from Cordys through an OEM agreement) and ISI brought Fujitsu a broader range of capabilities for service composition, orchestration and integration. ISI, a proven mediation product, harnesses rich ESB capabilities to support complex and custom integrations with high quality of service (QoS). Interstage BOP offers prebuilt integration solutions to enable rapid linkages between major packaged applications and some common cloud services.
- Fujitsu has introduced four new platform as a service (PaaS) offerings for line of business (LOB) application development, big data, business intelligence (BI)/analytics and BPM, all of which run (or will run) on a Fujitsu infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which is available globally. This IaaS offering is meant to serve as the foundation for additional cloud offerings and to encourage the development of a new ecosystem.
- The combination of Interstage ADM, Systemwalker Software Configuration Manager, Systemwalker Runbook Automation and Systemwalker Service Quality Coordinator offer SOA application development process and life cycle management, across both virtualized and nonvirtualized hardware environments, on-premises, or in the cloud. This enables end-to-end life cycle management with monitoring and control capability that spans the hardware and application layers.
- Fujitsu has not yet clearly articulated its plans for the evolution of Interstage BOP or its role and position in the Fujitsu Interstage portfolio, where its features overlap with several Interstage products.
- Fujitsu's SOA governance capability remains partial and needs some feature enhancement and sophisticated integration across multiple products. Missing features include SOA policy management and enforcement, and interoperability with other SOA governance technologies.
- Fujitsu's Interstage marketing and sales strategy are not sufficiently clear to enable Fujitsu to attract many new customers and partners outside Japan, although combining Fujitsu's global IaaS service with the Interstage PaaS/cloud-enabled application platform (CEAP) could create some leverageable 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, an early form of application platform. 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). Since then, the company has been expanding its offerings in this market, with the introduction of the Java-based WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Message Broker (WMB; formerly MQSeries Integrator), WebSphere Portal and several other products, in part internally developed and in part deriving from acquisitions.
IBM delivers application infrastructure not only in the form of software products, but also as hardware appliances and cloud services. IBM announced its intention to significantly expand its cloud application infrastructure service offering during the course of 2012. IBM's application infrastructure offerings have been supporting SOA infrastructure requirements since the early 2000s through incremental extensions to established middleware products and by introducing specific products.
The portfolio of products considered to assess IBM's position in this Magic Quadrant includes several items that belong to the WebSphere family and other product lines. The most relevant are WMB, WebSphere ESB (WESB) and the WebSphere DataPower Integration Appliances providing ESB capabilities; IBM BPM for orchestration; and WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR), the WebSphere DataPower Service Gateway XG45 Appliance and IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager suite to support SOA governance. Other IBM products relevant to SOA infrastructure projects include Rational Software Architect and Rational Application Developer for modeling and development; WebSphere MQ for MOM; WebSphere Cast Iron Cloud Integration for cloud services integration; WebSphere eXtreme Scale and WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliance for IMDG and caching; WebSphere Virtual Enterprise and the 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; mind share; and a large and loyal installed base of hardware and software products that are leveraged for IBM sales to support SOA infrastructure projects.
- Comprehensive product line with a large installed base, including market-leading SOA-infrastructure-related products (e.g., WebSphere MQ, WMB and WebSphere DataPower) and capabilities (e.g., runtime governance policy enforcement), sustained through massive partner programs and complemented by a range of consulting and professional services options with significant deployment successes for large and business-critical SOA infrastructure projects in multiple vertical sectors and in virtually all geographical areas, especially in the IBM mainframe installed base.
- Wealth of marketing and product initiatives (Smarter Planet, Smarter Commerce, Smarter Cities) driving adoption of IBM's application infrastructure products for a variety of use cases, including SOA infrastructure 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 adoption for IBM's application infrastructure products, including to support SOA-infrastructure-type projects, through innovative distribution channels targeting key segments (e.g., small or midsize businesses [SMBs]) that traditionally have shown scant interest in the most-sophisticated products in IBM's application infrastructure portfolio.
- The implementation of large-scale SOA infrastructure projects may require the acquisition and deployment of several IBM products, including Rational for modeling and development; IBM BPM, WESB, WMB, WSRR, WebSphere DataPower appliances and IBM Tivoli technology for monitoring and management. Therefore, when user organizations have complex needs that cannot be addressed by individual products, IBM's offerings may be expensive and may create the need for a significant amount of professional services and support to deploy and get the SOA infrastructure up and running as needed to address specific user organizations' requirements.
- The relentless pace of IBM's acquisitions in the application infrastructure space (for example, Cast Iron and Sterling Commerce) continuously challenges IBM with product rationalization and positioning issues, and potentially exposes users to product discontinuity or migration problems.
- Despite plans to rationalize and simplify the product portfolio (e.g., in the ESB area), fine-grained differences, functional overlaps and product integration challenges — for example, among WMB, WESB and the WebSphere DataPower integration appliances — may make it difficult for potential users to determine the best fit for their requirements.
- The end-to-end life cycle management capabilities of IBM's SOA governance offerings are supported by different, sometimes overlapping, products, which is perceived by users as a high cost approach.
Microsoft's SOA infrastructure offerings include the .NET Framework and its Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows Presentation Foundation components, and Windows Server AppFabric, which offers IMDG and hosting services that enable developers to more extensively leverage the .NET Framework components. Microsoft also offers BizTalk Server to support service composition and, when combined with BizTalk ESB Toolkit, a mediation layer for SOA applications.
Microsoft's development tools and application infrastructure are becoming accepted for mission-critical applications, but the lack of an ESB will drive users elsewhere for an out-of-the-box ESB, a critical component for SOA infrastructure.
- Microsoft has a massive presence and a proven reputation with mainstream software developers, resulting in a broad use of Microsoft development tools across industries and geographies. This establishes a large availability of skills in the market, and lowers the costs for IT projects.
- The increasingly strong technical performance of Microsoft SOA platform technologies exceeds market perceptions; the addition of IMDG services and workflow management capabilities accessible through Windows Server AppFabric, as well as the strong support for security added in recent years, further strengthen Microsoft's enterprise computing fit.
- Microsoft uses price as a weapon for its SOA infrastructure offerings. Microsoft .NET Framework and Windows Server AppFabric are provided at no additional cost as a part of Windows operating systems. BizTalk Server is the least expensive licensed integration offering from a leading vendor.
- To extend BizTalk Server to mediation technology for SOA projects, Microsoft offers BizTalk ESB Toolkit at no additional cost.
- For a registry, Microsoft offers a bare-bones Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) 3.0 implementation. While Microsoft partners with HP (Systinet) and SOA Software (Repository Manager) for advanced registry features, it does not provide first-line support for these products.
- Projects that use a systematic approach to deploying SOA infrastructure demand support for SOA governance and life cycle management. Team Foundation Server offers some life cycle management features for Visual Studio artifacts. System Center offers operational policy management in a Windows environment. However, to obtain a unified set of technologies that supports design time and operational governance across assets deployed in a distributed heterogeneous environment, most users rely on technologies from Microsoft partners like HP and SOA Software.
- Microsoft plans to make the Windows Azure Service Bus (ASB) its mediation technology going forward, and Gartner projects its availability as an on-premises product during 2014. Users will then have a choice between using ASB and BizTalk Server for mediation technology. However, Microsoft has committed to, at most, two future releases of BizTalk Server.
- Microsoft has disclosed that BizTalk Server interfaces and, consequently, composite services created using BizTalk Orchestration will not run on ASB. However, Microsoft has not yet identified tooling or best practices for moving interfaces or services deployed on BizTalk Server with ESB Guidance or ESB Toolkit to ASB.
MuleSoft is a venture-capital-funded company that provides license subscriptions for enterprise middleware built on the open-source Mule technologies. This is a commercial, open-core model in which the main offering is license subscriptions that include a support and maintenance component. The Mule open-source software (OSS) community has 100,000 developers, including 60 MuleSoft developers focused on Mule ESB, and an external community of 80 developers. The current unified version of release of the Mule ESB Enterprise suite of products is 3.2 and includes Mule ESB, MQ and Data Integrator (data transformation technology). It became generally available in October 2011. The 3.3 release of the suite is planned for June 2012.
The core ESB offering is an OSS community product. MuleSoft sells license subscriptions to Mule ESB Enterprise. The list price of the subscription is $48,000 per year for eight processing cores at the silver level (eight hours per day, five days per week) of maintenance.
Although MuleSoft offers a more narrow set of features than other SOA infrastructure vendors, its offerings are lightweight, easy to learn, and easy to deploy and configure.
- The company has more than 2 million downloads, 3,200 estimated production deployments and 300 supported customers.
- Mule ESB is a part of a growing number of mission-critical projects of several reference accounts.
- Starting with version 3.0, Mule ESB natively includes representational state transfer (REST) capabilities in MuleSoft's RESTx open-source project. This establishes a platform providing native support for hosting RESTful services. It supports multiple languages (currently, Java and Python), and contains a reverse proxy server to support the composite service use of cloud-based RESTful services.
- While not OSGi-compliant, Mule ESB uses a staged, event-driven architecture that enables hot deployment of services or groups to the Mule container, allowing for changes on the fly. It also results in an offering that supports high-performance requirements.
- The market for SOA infrastructure continues to consolidate. The jury is still out as to whether a vendor that relies on subscription revenue can carve out a space in this consolidating market.
- MuleSoft's focused offerings are being confronted by other open-core, commercial model vendors providing broader feature sets.
- Although MuleSoft boasts a large number of technical adapters, it lists very few for widely deployed commercial packaged applications, such as Oracle's JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel. This puts developers of composite applications attempting to leverage deployed ERP functionality at a disadvantage.
- MuleSoft provides no front-end container and has only limited SOA governance features. Specifically, there is very little policy management and enforcement capabilities.
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. Since then, the company has constantly extended its offering — called Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM) — through internal developments and acquisitions. As a result of the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, which closed in early 2010, Oracle has 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 vendor announced its intention to enter the cloud application infrastructure service (commonly referred to as PaaS) market as part of its broader Oracle Cloud offering.
BEA Systems was in the early stages of its systematic SOA infrastructure project strategy at the time it was acquired, whereas Oracle already had a successful platform for orchestration; therefore, Oracle's current offering for this market derives from a mix of BEA Systems and Oracle technology.
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 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 Enterprise Manager for administration, monitoring and management; Oracle Service Registry, Oracle Enterprise Repository and Oracle Enterprise Manager SOA Management Pack for SOA governance; and the Oracle JDeveloper modeling and development toolset. Other Oracle products that may be relevant for SOA infrastructure projects include Oracle BPM Suite and 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, object-relational mapping and load balancing capabilities.
- OFM is a large, multibillion-dollar business. This 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 geography and in multiple vertical industries, have successfully deployed combinations of OFM products, in many cases to support large and business-critical SOA infrastructure scenarios, at times involving (but equally as often not involving) Oracle's packaged applications.
- OFM provides a comprehensive, integrated (common development toolset, common management environment, common metadata services and common runtime platform) and feature-rich application infrastructure offering that also provides leading technologies to support systematic SOA infrastructure requirements, such as those incorporated in the widely adopted Oracle SOA Suite and in the fast-growing SOA governance offering.
- The OFM road map addresses key SOA-infrastructure-enabling technologies (e.g., Oracle SOA Suite optimization for the Oracle Exalogic Engineered Systems), emerging requirements (e.g., federated SOA and cloud services integration), and delivery models (e.g., public cloud and vertically integrated systems).
- Synergies with Oracle's large database management system (DBMS) and packaged application businesses create opportunities for cross-selling OFM technologies to support SOA infrastructure projects.
- Although in 2011 Oracle improved substantially in segments such as application servers and SOA governance, the company's application integration middleware revenue grew slightly below the industry average (8.5% versus 9.9%). In key segments such as portal, business process management suites (BPMSs) and ESB, Oracle's revenue showed flat or small growth versus 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.
- Users report complexity in selecting and deploying the appropriate OFM componentry to implement SOA governance infrastructure due to the multiple, partially overlapping products addressing this requirement (Oracle Registry, Oracle Enterprise Repository, Oracle Web Services Manager, and Oracle Enterprise Manager and SOA Management Pack).
- Some Oracle clients are experiencing licensing and pricing issues when upgrading from pre-11g versions of OFM, due to the change in the underlying application server platform (from Oracle Internet Application Server Enterprise Edition to Oracle WebLogic Suite), which is required to leverage the full capabilities of Oracle SOA Suite 11g (e.g., Oracle Service Bus or Oracle CEP). Oracle WebLogic Suite provides extended functionality (e.g., Oracle Coherence), but results in higher licensing costs.
The leading provider of open-source implementation of Java EE specifications, Red Hat JBoss is a frequent player in SOA-style business application projects, but its support of comprehensive governance of an SOA application environment is less than fully functional and often relies, in part, on partner technologies.
Red Hat's application infrastructure offerings in support of a comprehensive SOA platform infrastructure include JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.2 (integration, flow orchestration and composition platform, including JBoss ESB, JBoss Rules, Apache jUDDI, jBPM and multiple other open-source components) and JBoss Operations Network 3.0.1 (a comprehensive management tool), aided by Red Hat Enterprise MRG Messaging 2.0. JBoss Developer Studio 4.1.1 provides relevant development support.
- The combination of a leading open-source operating system (Red Hat Enterprise Linux [RHEL]) and a dominating open-source Java EE application server technology (JBoss Application Server) positions the vendor as a major player in the important enterprise software infrastructure market and offers promising opportunities, including in private and public cloud computing contexts. An all-open-source offering has particular appeal to many projects, and has limited competition. Many JBoss Application Server customers build SOA-style applications and have a keen interest in SOA infrastructure solutions.
- The large pool of technologies in the open-source communities allows for the potential rapid expansion of Red Hat's offerings and relatively fast add-ons of missing functionality, as long as the company's leadership sees the need for such extensions. The open-community approach to software engineering, typical of open-source offerings, results in well-designed and well-implemented systems.
- JBoss Developer Studio provides a comprehensive Service Component Architecture (SCA)-based design and development environment of SOA interfaces and BPEL-based SOA flow orchestration. Support of BPMN 2.0 (now in early access prebeta) will add a standard SOA modeling environment usable by business analysts and with direct communication of the process metadata to an SCA model and BPEL engine for execution; a common repository of metadata will unify the development process across most JBoss SOA development, management and orchestration tools.
- Dependence on HP Systinet and SOA Software for comprehensive repository services — a key enabling technology for an SOA infrastructure platform — makes the overall offering less cohesive in deployment, management and administration. The closed-source nature of these partner offerings also compromises the positioning of Red Hat's offering as an end-to-end, open-source platform and increases overall project technology costs.
- Limited JBoss marketing budget (typical to an open-source community of vendors) leaves a lot of mind share building for the JBoss family of products to word of mouth. Dependence on the word-of-mouth marketing and on the upsell from the (highly popular) JBoss enterprise application platform limits the reachable market for JBoss application infrastructure platform offerings.
- Traditional focus of JBoss marketing and product positioning on lower total cost of ownership as the key differentiator reduces the vendor's ability to compete on the merits of its technology, because many prospects only turn to JBoss if they are looking for a low-cost offering, not because of its technical and functional excellence. The vendor's recent efforts to overcome this challenge and promote the technical excellence of some of its offerings have not yet been effective.
- Limited record of use of the JBoss family of products for building an SOA management and operations infrastructure, beyond the context of JBoss application-server-based applications.
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 SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration for BPMS and business rules capabilities.
- SAP has used its platform successfully to deliver many SOA-enabled applications, and is developing a portfolio of even more modular, on-demand solutions.
- SAP's vision of SOA-enabled in-memory applications developed for cloud deployment is a leading-edge vision that supports big data, analytics and mobile user interactions.
- SAP Enterprise Service Repository contains thousands of predefined services that SAP applications can provide, and which could be used as predefined service interfaces.
- Additional mechanisms, such as SAP NetWeaver Gateway, increase service-based access to applications through standard OData feeds.
- Complex-event processing will be incorporated with rules and process orchestration to provide a broad range of decision automation within the platform.
- SAP has enabled thousands of companies to create services and SOA-based integration with its platform, and it still has a tremendous opportunity within the application customer base.
- SAP has several different versions of its platform to address the heterogeneity of its offerings. The future versions will be optimized for cloud and Hana Database, and will have different capabilities from current versions. This is necessary, but the diversity will challenge users seeking a comprehensive SOA platform in the medium term.
- A huge number of highly detailed service definitions needed to expose SAP application functionality makes it difficult for users to adopt those services as their general-purpose solution.
- Multiple service interaction methods (such as IDocs, BAPI, WS for services and OData/REST for Gateway) mean users are confronted with many choices and little prescriptive advice on how to use the platform.
- Platform value is primarily in application content, which means use is very modest outside of application customers.
Software AG started in the late 1960s as a provider of DBMS (Adabas) and fourth-generation-language (Natural) mainframe-based products. In the early 2000s, the vendor repositioned itself as an application infrastructure technology provider through a combination of internal developments and acquisitions, with webMethods (in 2007) and IDS Scheer (completed in 2010) being the most notable. Currently, application infrastructure is the main business for Software AG, generating more than 50% of its product revenue.
Although the webMethods technology was originally aimed at application integration projects, its focus has evolved to also target SOA infrastructure initiatives.
The evaluation of Software AG's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by the webMethods Suite 8.2.2 family of products (released in November 2011), which includes webMethods Integration Server, supporting ESB and orchestration requirements; webMethods BPMS, providing process orchestration capabilities (along with other BPMS features); CentraSite, webMethods Mediator, webMethods Insight and webMethods Optimize for SOA governance; and webMethods Designer for modeling and development. Other Software AG products relevant to SOA infrastructure projects include the ARIS Platform for enterprise modeling, process performance monitoring and dashboard design; webMethods Broker and webMethods Nirvana Messaging MOM; Terracotta Enterprise Ehcache and BigMemory IMDG technology; webMethods Business Events for complex-event processing; and webMethods EntireX and webMethods ApplinX for mainframe integration.
- The webMethods Suite provides a large and growing application infrastructure business with a large installed base of approximately 3,500 clients leveraging the technology in the context of multiple usage scenarios, including numerous large-scale and business-critical SOA infrastructure deployments in multiple verticals and geographies.
- The webMethods Suite is a comprehensive, advanced and proven product set for SOA infrastructure projects that is well-integrated on a coherent, OSGi-based foundation (e.g., a common runtime container, unified design and development tool, unified metadata management and integrated business/technical modeling through BPMN 2.0) and that also incorporates leading technologies (universal messaging, event processing platform, IMDG and mobile devices support). In particular, Software AG is a recognized leader in SOA governance technology through CentraSite and other relevant webMethods components.
- Software AG's vision for the evolution of the webMethods Suite addresses key SOA standards (e.g., SCA, AMQP and S-RAMP), technologies (in-memory data management, public and private cloud support, PaaS, and mobile enablement) and emerging requirements (e.g., cloud/software as a service [SaaS] integration, big data support and analytics).
- Software AG is investing in strengthening its sales and marketing operations in North America, including the creation of a unit dedicated to serving the U.S. federal government, to improve its business in the region.
- During the course of 2011, Software AG experienced uneven business performance primarily attributed to sales execution problems, especially in North America. Although the company has taken corrective actions to improve its business performance in the region, organizations in North America may occasionally experience changes in their sales and support interfaces with the company when engaging in SOA infrastructure initiatives.
- Implementing the ambitious road map that Software AG has announced is challenging from a technology, go-to-market and sales perspective. Despite Software AG's track record of sticking with announced plans and providing backward compatibility, user organizations should anticipate potential delays, plan reformulations and migration issues as the webMethods Suite goes through this transition.
- The webMethods Suite 8.2.2 product set requires more extensive proof points of its production readiness, in terms of real-life deployments. Many of the newly introduced SOA-infrastructure-relevant products (e.g., webMethods Business Events and webMethods OneData) and capabilities (e.g., the IMDG enablement of webMethods Integration Server and CentraSite) still have a limited, albeit growing, installed base.
- Although Software AG is planning to release a unified deployment, administration and management environment across the product set in December 2012, webMethods Suite 8.2.2 doesn't yet provide such a capability. This makes IT operations challenging when users need to deploy multiple webMethods products to support their SOA infrastructure requirements, thus contributing to the further increasing costs of a quite expensive (in some cases) product set.
Talend acquired the foundation for its SOA infrastructure platform through its November 2010 acquisition of Sopera. That foundation has been extended to its current open-source offering, Talend Open Studio for ESB (OS ESB). That set of OSS features is complemented by additional OSS offerings that can be applied to SOA infrastructure and application integration problems, including Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, Talend Open Studio for Data Quality and Talend Open Studio for MDM.
Talend pursues an open-core, commercial, open-source model. Its subscription offerings that align with its OSS offerings include Talend Enterprise Data Integration, Talend Enterprise Data Quality and Talend Enterprise ESB. The vendor also offers Talend Enterprise BPM via a partnership with BonitaSoft.
Although a relative newcomer to the SOA infrastructure market, Talend is the first vendor to offer a platform that integrates a suite for SOA, data integration and BPM technologies through the use of a common repository.
- OS ESB is a robust suite founded on the broadly adopted Apache ServiceMix open-source offering. It is available for the Linux operating environment and OSS application servers like Tomcat and JBoss. It has a library of over 350 connectors for data migration and synchronization, which it shares with Talend's data integration, data quality and MDM offerings.
- OS ESB's features include governance, security and identity management, and service and system management. It is available for multiple operating environments (e.g., Windows and Unix) and execution containers (e.g., WebSphere Application Server and .NET).
- Unique to Talend is the integration of the suites via underlying metadata within a single repository.
- Talend offers an all-in-one feature for testing the implementation of services and simulating their execution.
- Talend is a relatively young company, founded in 2005 and headquartered in Suresnes, France. It is methodically expanding outside EMEA into the U.S. Although it has a substantial installed base for its integration products, adoption of OS ESB trails that of the leading vendors. It has a limited presence in the Asia/Pacific region, with offices in Tokyo and Beijing.
- Talend uses the Apache Camel-based approach to enterprise integration patterns. For example, the routing slip pattern is a more technical approach to implementing interface flows than the orchestration-based approach used by closed-source software products. A stateful, process management approach to implementing interface flows (using BPMN) is available via Talend Enterprise BPM, but at an additional cost.
- The application infrastructure market is dominated by megavendors and a few application infrastructure specialists. Although there is evidence that a vendor can carve out a niche using an OSS business model that relies solely on support, maintenance and consulting, doing so will be an uphill battle. Young vendors (less than 10 years old) using this business model must be considered less viable than vendors offering conventionally licensed software.
- Talend's platform supports WS-Policy, SAML and WS-Trust, including a registry/repository that manages policy information. However, there is no gateway with runtime responsibility for ensuring compliance with policies.
The evaluation of Tibco Software's position in this Magic Quadrant is based on the functionality provided by the Tibco ActiveMatrix 3.1.2 family of products, which includes Tibco ActiveMatrix Service Bus and Tibco ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks for ESB and orchestration; Tibco ActiveMatrix Policy Manager, Tibco ActiveMatrix Lifecycle Governance Framework and Tibco ActiveMatrix Service Performance Manager for SOA governance; and Tibco Hawk for administration, monitoring and management. Other Tibco products relevant to SOA infrastructure projects include Tibco Rendezvous, Tibco EMS and Tibco FTL for MOM; Tibco ActiveMatrix BPM; Tibco ActiveSpaces for IMDG; Tibco BusinessEvents for complex-event processing; and Tibco Silver Fabric for application virtualization.
Tibco has extended its offerings from an application integration base to a comprehensive suite of offerings capable of supporting the deployment and operation of complex SOA infrastructures with stringent performance requirements.
- Tibco is a well-executing company approaching $1 billion in revenue. The ActiveMatrix suite is a large and growing application infrastructure business, with a large installed base of approximately 3,500 clients leveraging the technology in the context of multiple usage scenarios, including numerous large-scale and business-critical SOA infrastructure deployments in multiple verticals and geographies. Such a large installed base offers numerous opportunities for cross-selling and upselling Tibco's SOA infrastructure-oriented products.
- The ActiveMatrix suite provides a comprehensive, advanced and proven product set for SOA infrastructure projects that is well-integrated on a coherent, OSGi-based foundation (e.g., a common runtime container; a unified design and development tool through Tibco Business Studio; and unified administration, monitoring and management via Tibco Hawk). The suite also incorporates leading technologies (event processing platform, IMDG, grid computing platform, application virtualization and in-memory analytics).
- 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-*.
- Through progressive integration with the Tibco Silver Fabric application virtualization platform, ActiveMatrix components can support elastically scalable, private cloud PaaS deployments.
- The Tibco application infrastructure offering is generally targeted at large-scale and complex SOA infrastructure projects requiring significant investments and advanced skills. Therefore, it may not be ideal to support less demanding requirements, especially in midsize organizations.
- Tibco was one of the first application infrastructure middleware vendors to target the PaaS opportunity by providing a significant subset of its platform in the form of a public cloud service through the Tibco Silver offering. However, in its initial embodiment, the public cloud aspect of Tibco Silver, which included ESB, orchestration and BPM capabilities, failed to reach significant traction in the market, because of positioning, pricing and sales execution issues, as well as limited "cloudiness." It was, therefore, withdrawn from the market and, in its current form, it no longer supports SOA infrastructure requirements. This leaves the industry without a clear statement regarding Tibco's strategy in the public cloud PaaS area.
- Tibco Silver Fabric enablement of the ActiveMatrix suite components is new and has a relatively small number of clients, although some of them use the technology to support very large and demanding requirements. Therefore, Tibco Silver Fabric's ability to support large-scale, elastic SOA infrastructure deployments in private cloud scenarios requires further proof of production readiness through a significant number of real-life deployments.
- The vendor's pricing and flexibility in negotiations differ widely from sale to sale, making it difficult to predict the cost of licenses (generally, they are quite expensive).
WSO2 provides a streamlined open-source suite of application infrastructure technologies that is developed in conjunction with a number of open-source communities (particularly Apache). This platform is intended to be "good enough" for the majority of noncomplex user requirements.
WSO2 is evaluated in this market on its open-source technology suite, 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 Gadget Server 1.4.2, WSO2 Business Rules Server, WSO2 Mashup Server 2.1.0, WSO2 Identity Server 3.2.3, WSO2 Web Services Frameworks, WSO2 Business Activity Monitor 1.3.2, WSO2 Complex Event Processing Server 1.0.2, WSO2 Message Broker 1.0.2 and WSO2 Carbon Studio (for developing across all products) 1.0.14.
- Lightweight open-source versions of SOA capabilities and governance, linked via OSGi, deliver a highly flexible environment with straightforward usage and capabilities.
- Highly standardized and open architecture that gives substantial freedom to organizations to combine and enhance solutions with existing application platform technology.
- Minimalist approach also simplifies operational complexity.
- The concept of providing a complete platform that includes only required functionality, and that can be tailored to the needs of individual deployments, dramatically simplifies the onboarding and operations of the solutions.
- Offerings are available both on-premises, and in the cloud.
- The vendor is growing and has acquired capital for expansion and further development.
- WSO2 is still a small company (with 130 customers and 160 employees), compared with industry-leading commercial software providers in this space, and it remains smaller than other OSS providers on this Magic Quadrant.
- The minimalist approach to capabilities, and minimal supported integration adapters, may mean some additional configuration and integration work for users in complex situations.
- Some integration with on-premises development technologies may be needed to extend WSO2 offering footprint into enterprise development and integration.
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.
- Talend acquired Sopera, a company rated in the previous version of this Magic Quadrant.
- Hitachi did not meet the geographical coverage criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
- NEC did not meet the geographical coverage criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
- On 26 April 2012, Progress Software announced the intent to divest most of its middleware and integration portfolio, and to focus on its application development platforms, with the intent of becoming an application platform as a service (aPaaS) vendor. Without these products, Progress Software cannot be considered a vendor of SOA platforms, and thus has been excluded from this Magic Quadrant.
- Sopera was acquired by Talend.
- TmaxSoft did not meet the geographical coverage criteria required to be included in this Magic Quadrant.
Gartner defines application infrastructure as the technology that underlies and enables the development, deployment and execution of business applications. This technology is also often referred to as middleware.
This Magic Quadrant considers the application infrastructure market from the perspective of buyers whose primary interest is the implementation of an SOA-enabling infrastructure consisting of two macrocomponents:
- SOA backplane — the interoperability and integration components that make it possible for consumer programs and service provider programs (both internal and external to the enterprise) to interoperate in a secure, manageable, reliable, highly available and high-performance way, using a variety of protocols and communication styles.
- SOA governance — the comprehensive set of capabilities needed to support the orderly definition and enforcement of the governance processes required to successfully support a long-term, strategic SOA initiative.
This Magic Quadrant considers vendors that can provide the components required to implement an SOA backplane and to put SOA governance in place. Availability from the vendor of other SOA application infrastructure components — such as portals, application servers, business rules and other container technologies aimed at running service consumer or service provider applications — is of limited relevance in this context. This is because organizations implementing an SOA infrastructure may aim at a vendor-neutral infrastructure that is able to integrate and govern service consumers and service providers of a heterogeneous nature, and that is located within or outside the "four walls" of the organization.
Due to their strategic nature, these projects choose enabling technologies based on the technical merits of the middleware products, as well as on the vendor's ability to support this infrastructure over a long time frame.
Each of the vendors included in this Magic Quadrant has sufficient technology and expertise in their total portfolio to be the sole application infrastructure provider for systematic SOA infrastructure projects.
The key characteristics that are essential to such an offering (as reflected by technical features in the Offering [Product] Strategy criterion of the Completeness of Vision section below, which were assigned a high evaluation weighting) are:
- Capabilities to implement the SOA backplane (see Note 1), including:
- ESB core functionality — i.e., technology that:
- Implements communications that reliably move messages between endpoints
- Supports fundamental Web and Web services standards
- Implements the bindings necessary to create associations between consumer and provider endpoints
- Has an architecture that enables it to apply optional intermediary functions to in-flight messages
- Supports typed messages
- Provides adapters for applications, databases, application to application (A2A) and B2B protocols, SaaS, cloud APIs, etc.
- Service orchestration — i.e., a development tool and a process execution engine for designing and implementing micro-flows (i.e., short-duration, stateless program logic), service composition and multistep process integration. Support for human-centric workflow is not required. Service orchestration can be offered either as a separate product (or products) or as part of an ESB providing the features listed above.
- ESB core functionality — i.e., technology that:
- Capabilities to implement SOA governance (see Note 2), including:
- SOA policy management and enforcement
- Registry/repository and metadata management
- Statistical and key performance indicator (KPI) data collection
- Monitoring and management
- Application and service life cycle management
- Interoperability with other SOA governance technologies
- Cloud API management
Vendors must provide all the governance capabilities listed above to be included in this Magic Quadrant; however, given the relatively small size of the SOA governance market, these capabilities may be provided through various forms of partnerships. Therefore, they may not be fully integrated into each vendor's offering.
The strategic nature of SOA infrastructure projects implies anticipation of major future requirements and a capacity for long-term management and extensibility for the deployed infrastructure, as well as dependable QoS, functionality and the nondisruptive evolution of the vendor's technology.
The ability of vendors' products to support systematic SOA infrastructure projects implies that they must enable developers to design, develop and maintain services over an extended life cycle, and deploy them to environments that permit high throughput, low latency and high availability.
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.
Traditional, as-a-product offerings are considered in this Magic Quadrant; therefore, support for as-a-service delivery of SOA infrastructure is not required to qualify for inclusion. However the ability to provide (or having plans to provide) an as-a-service offering is advantageous for the vendor in terms of evaluation, because the cloud is increasingly considered by users, in certain cases, as an alternative development and deployment platform for SOA infrastructure capabilities.
Each vendor's entire offering is considered, without regard to product packaging. All the above capabilities must be delivered and supported by the vendor being assessed. Some of the technology in the evaluated portfolio might be procured from a third party via an OEM agreement. This is acceptable as long as the user's primary support experience is with the vendor being assessed. Delegating Level 3 support to the OEM provider is also acceptable.
There must be evidence of production success by this vendor as a sole provider of technology for this project type.
Vendors with 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 revenue limit for exclusion is $5 million. Also, vendors must realize substantial revenue from two out of five global regions (the Americas; Europe, the Middle and Africa; and the Asia/Pacific region) to be included.
The vendors included in this Magic Quadrant are limited to the 11 players that meet all the functional inclusion criteria noted above and offer the greatest and broadest market penetration on the basis of the nonfunctional inclusion criteria (minimal revenue and geographic coverage).
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."
Systematic SOA infrastructure 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 a minimum. Moreover, as mainstream enterprises launch systematic SOA infrastructure projects, they look for a viable vendor that can provide reliable and widely proven products in their geography and industry sector, and they favor vendors that can demonstrate an ability to execute with several successful and proven case histories and references.
Therefore, a vendor's viability, product/service excellence (in terms of the offering's 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. Sales execution/pricing, marketing responsiveness and track record and excellence in operations are also important evaluation criteria, but no more than in any other software market. An efficient marketing machine is considered not as critical, because the number of competitors is limited, and the market is growing.
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. Following is a list of technical features and capabilities considered for this and the related application infrastructure Magic Quadrants:
- Functional completeness (standard weighting): 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 (standard weighting): 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.
- Technical extensibility (high weighting): 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 vendor's track record for extending its offering.
Source: Gartner (June 2012)
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 systematic SOA infrastructure projects know that the effort will be multiyear and will require continuous refinement and extension as new requirements (e.g., cloud/SaaS, mobile and social integration) emerge, and as the number of services and applications to be enabled and the supported workload grow, perhaps by orders of magnitude. Therefore, users favor vendors that provide the proven and reliable set of capabilities needed to address current requirements, as well as vendors that can present a credible road map for the evolution of their application infrastructure offerings to address emerging standards (e.g., WebSockets, AMQP and BPMN), technologies (e.g., in-memory data management, public and private cloud support, PaaS, and mobile enablement) and usage scenarios (e.g., cloud/SaaS integration, big data support and analytics).
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 others. Sound business model, sales, and vertical/industry and geographic strategies are also important for a vendor to succeed in this market, but no more so than in other markets (experience shows that the many SOA infrastructure products have been successful in multiple industry sectors and geographies). An aggressive marketing strategy is 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 project type to which the Magic Quadrant refers. Following is a list of the technical features and capabilities considered and their weightings for this Magic Quadrant:
- Back-end containers (low weighting): 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 (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 weighting): 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 weighting): 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 weighting): 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
- Cloud API management
- Core ESB (high weighting): Features and capabilities to support core ESB functionality, including reliable communication 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 and routing) to messages in-flight; and the ability to support messages for which contents are explicitly defined and documented.
- Advanced ESB (standard weighting): Features and capabilities to support reliable communication 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 demilitarized zone (DMZ)-based reverse proxy servers.
- Orchestration (microflow, service composition and straight-through processes) design and execution (high weighting): 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 weighting): 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, ACORD, RosettaNet and others; and WSDL. 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 weighting): Features and capabilities to support adapters for packaged applications, DBMSs, MOM, application servers, transaction processing monitors, standard and proprietary A2A and B2B protocols, cloud/SaaS APIs, and other application and technology environments.
- External partner community management (low weighting): Features and capabilities to support external partner 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 weighting): 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 and SCA).
- Openness and interoperability (standard weighting): 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 weighting): Features and capabilities to support the operations (administration, security, governance, version management, disaster recovery, etc.) of projects based on the vendor's 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 weightings. Such road maps are subject to change, but still reflect the current vision of the vendor's business and engineering leadership.
Source: Gartner (June 2012)
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 infrastructure deployment projects. The installed base of these vendors is on the order of multiple hundreds of users that have adopted the full spectrum of their SOA infrastructure technologies, and in the thousands (at least 3,000) for the more-popular individual components (typically, the ESB products).
Leaders in systematic SOA 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 service offerings specific for this market); support for the most relevant industry standards (e.g., BPEL, BPMN and OSGi); and a well-defined road map addressing most of the emerging requirements (such as federated SOA, cloud/SaaS integration, support for mobile application and PaaS support).
Established leadership (achieved through organic growth or via acquisitions) in the adjacent systematic application integration market is a common trait across all the Leaders. This reflects, in part, some commonality in the technology between the two usage scenarios, and, in part, is a consequence of the logical progression of most advanced users from having adopted a systematic approach to application integration to selecting a shared approach to SOA infrastructure. 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 extension and/or variant) to also support their SOA infrastructure requirements.
The offerings of the Leaders are rich and mature; however, in some cases, they're also biased toward the vendors' packaged application portfolio. At times, they are too complex or too expensive for organizations with minimal experience in systematic SOA initiatives, 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 all the technology components in their portfolios — 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 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 infrastructure; however, the Challengers' ability to serve customers with heterogeneous technologies or organizations distributed across multiple geographies is constrained.
In this market, Challengers have had a historically strong presence in the adjacent systematic application integration space. However, because their strategic priorities are elsewhere, these vendors have had limited success in becoming strategic providers of SOA infrastructure technology for their application integration clients. This is because of a lack of sales and marketing focus, or because of a noncomprehensive technology platform.
A Challenger's offering can be a good, even excellent, fit for a user already adopting that particular vendor's technology environment, 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. Visionaries' products have either been more recently released (therefore, they have a lower degree of proven production readiness and smaller installed bases) and are generally less comprehensive than the Leaders' offerings (therefore, showing strengths in some areas, but not in others).
Currently, open source (in some cases, in combination with a PaaS, go-to-market approach) is the only viable strategy devised by small vendors to survive and prosper in this market. Therefore, all Visionaries' offerings are 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 products. However, these vendors are constrained from becoming Leaders by their small size or relatively narrow geographic coverage, or by inconsistent execution. Often, these vendors' platforms are less expensive and easier to implement and deploy than Leaders' or Challengers' product portfolios. Hence, the requirements of SMBs and users looking for easy-to-use/low-cost application infrastructures are often better-supported by products from these vendors than by those of the Leaders.
A factor holding back Visionaries' Ability to Execute is the often limited support from global or regional system integrators. On the other hand, Visionaries are often closer to their clients than are Leaders in terms of support and assistance.
Niche Players in this market are primarily vendors with a narrow geographic or vertical industry focus, although, from a technology perspective, they may have good or even excellent products, perhaps with a limited feature set. The medium-term strategy of a Niche Player doesn't give any indication of upcoming aggressive actions to move into other geographies and expand market coverage, although its technology road map is, at times, promising. Niche Players may have a minimal focus on the SOA infrastructure market, but they have the technology components required to address this market 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 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 can provide an excellent option for users looking for a simple and low-cost application infrastructure platform to support their SOA interoperability requirements.
However, no vendor with these characteristics qualified for this Magic Quadrant, typically because none could meet the minimum geographic coverage or revenue threshold requirements.
In the context of systematically oriented projects, SOA is a mainstream approach to application development and integration adopted by a large and growing number of users in virtually every geography and in most vertical sectors. Because of its growing technology maturity, as well as reductions in associated costs and risks, SOA is increasingly being adopted by midsize organizations that couldn't previously afford to consider this architectural approach. Packaged application vendors' strategy to SOA-enable their products, the growing number of users adopting BPM strategies, and the mounting requirement for integration with SaaS and other cloud services have also contributed to the widespread adoption of 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 Magic Quadrant is focused on the scenario referred to as a systematic SOA infrastructure project — 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 project. To be included in this Magic Quadrant, vendors must provide the functionality of an ESB, orchestration features (such as 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:
- "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA 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.
- "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects" analyzes vendors that can supply all the capabilities needed to support a wide range of internal 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 systematic SOA 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 systematic SOA infrastructure project is usually driven by the organization's SOA 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 governance macrocomponents can be implemented at different times for convenience, depending on the particular SOA style adopted by the organization (see "Gartner's Four Styles of SOA"), but they are designed as an integrated, enterprisewide (or domainwide) SOA-enabling infrastructure. In any case, the SOA infrastructure is meant to be shared by virtually any SOA application project in the enterprise (or domain).
In the past, many users developed their own SOA infrastructure by aggregating components from multiple vendors and, in some cases, developing custom solutions (especially for SOA registry/repository and other governance components). However, many vendors now can provide application infrastructure offerings that include all the technologies required to implement a comprehensive, enterprisewide SOA infrastructure.
Many users continue to prefer a best-of-breed approach, which involves procuring the individual components from multiple vendors, because they want to leverage the most-advanced technologies or because they have requirements (for example, ultralow-latency messaging) that only specialized players can support. However, the majority of user organizations usually prefer to procure all the technical components of their SOA backplane and governance infrastructure (ESBs, orchestration tools, registries/repositories, policy management, etc.) from a single provider.
In this Magic Quadrant, we focus on the now-prevailing "one stop shopping" approach. Therefore, we evaluate the strategies of application infrastructure vendors that can play the single-supplier role for all the technology components needed in systematic SOA infrastructure projects.
For historical reasons, several vendors rated in this Magic Quadrant (including all the Leaders) have solid backgrounds in the adjacent systematic application integration projects market. However, a few specialized companies challenge the established players by proposing open-source platforms and focusing on low-cost and ease of use as their main differentiators.
Therefore, users should not assume that only products from Leaders must be considered in their selection processes. Products from other players may be a better fit for their requirements on the basis of support, geographic vicinity, functional fitness and/or cost considerations.
Several years ago, Gartner identified in enterprise IT projects a trend 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. This defined a type of market on the basis of 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 BI tools), we also provide analysis of the vendors capable of offering most of these products in support for some specific usage scenarios (see "Application Infrastructure Magic Quadrants Reflect Evolving IT Demands"). 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 (see "Gartner's Reference Architecture for SOA 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, API management, and policy management and enforcement tools.
- SOA containers — Application infrastructure components that can host various forms of application logic, such as 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 systematic SOA infrastructure project as "the set of activities needed to implement the SOA backplane and SOA governance macrocomponents of the SOA application infrastructure." Therefore, in this research, we use the terms systematic SOA interoperability infrastructure projects and SOA backplane and SOA governance projects interchangeably.
Deployment of these macrocomponents is considered by users as the foundation infrastructure for their SOA initiatives. Therefore, it is planned for, designed, implemented and deployed through a specific and dedicated systematically oriented 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 infrastructure and can play the role of single supplier or primary provider of these capabilities to end-user organizations. In reality, projects 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 systematic SOA infrastructure project is also intended to make decisions or provide recommendations about the tooling for supporting the implementation of SOA applications, then Gartner recommends that users examine the "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA 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.
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 and/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)
Life cycle management: Management of SOA assets (e.g., 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
API management: The ability to enforce, at runtime, access control and traffic management policies to govern service access from client programs both internal and external to the user organization
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.