Gartner Research

Communications Middleware

Published: 27 March 2009

ID: G00203711

Analyst(s): Richard Watson


To enable the widest range of consumers and reuse scenarios, services should be accessible across multiple communications middleware technologies. But, when is it appropriate to support particular protocols? How can services support known consumer requirements while remaining open to unknown consumers? Application Platform Strategies Analyst Richard Watson examines typical requirements and technology alternatives for communications middleware.

Table Of Contents

Decision Point

Typical Requirements

  • Consumability
    • Reach
    • Formats and Protocols
    • Communication Styles
    • Service Interface Styles
  • Services Infrastructure Functional Model
    • Amenable to Mediation
    • Able to Externalize Infrastructure Functionality
    • Ecosystem Friendly
  • Developer Productivity
    • Service Design Principles
  • Quality of Service
    • Performance and Scalability
    • Security
    • Integrity


  • XML Messaging Systems
    • Web Services Framework
    • POX, REST, and HTTP
    • XML Syndication Protocols
    • Other XML Messaging Technologies
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC) and Distributed Object Middleware
    • Support for Requirements
  • Message-Oriented Middleware
    • Support for Requirements
    • Advanced Message Queuing Protocol
    • Support for Requirements
  • Comparing and Contrasting Alternatives

Future Developments

  • Growing Adoption of REST
  • Growing Adoption of XMPP
  • MOM Market Transformation

Evaluation Criteria

  • Organization Principles
  • Constraints
  • Prioritizing Requirements

Statement and Basis for Position

  • Multimodal Access Position
    • Expose the service using only one type of middleware.
    • Design a multimodal service that can be accessed using multiple middleware technologies.
  • Scope of the Service Project Position
    • Negotiate the middleware choice with the intended consumer.
    • Use the existing middleware technology.
  • Diversity of Consumers Position
    • Limit your options to middleware that offers low barriers to consumption.
  • Prescribed Communication Requirements Position
    • The prescribed middleware should be supported.
  • Interaction Styles Position
    • Limit your options to message-oriented middleware.
    • Limit your options to middleware technology that is naturally synchronous.
    • Limit your options to middleware that supports resource-oriented interfaces.
  • Quality of Service Position
    • Limit your options to middleware with strong support for security policies and protocol reliability.
  • Specific Middleware Selection Position
    • Use RPC and distributed object middleware when any apply:
    • Use XML-RPC or ebXML when:
    • Use (RESTless) POX when:
    • Use MOM when any apply:
    • Use AMQP when all apply:
    • Use WSF when any apply:
    • Use HTTP/REST when all apply:
    • Use a syndication protocol such as AtomPub when all apply:

Relationship to Other Components

Revision History

Related Research and Recommended Reading


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