Oracle is a Leader in the recently published Gartner Magic Quadrants for Application Infrastructure (including SOA and SOA Governance).
Products that provide support for integration require a set of features that ranges from robust messaging to support for B2B protocols. This Magic Quadrant examines vendors whose products provide features that address the needs of systematic A2A, B2B and cloud-based application integration projects.
Application integration is getting applications that were designed independently to work together. Most everyone in IT understands the challenges created by stand-alone, stovepiped applications. Consequently, virtually every software project that deploys a new application involves application integration tasks.
The part of the application infrastructure market focused on integration products for application-to-application (A2A), B2B and cloud-based application integration will undergo consolidation, because multiple product features are used across each of the project types. Many users are looking to support their integration projects with an integrated suite provided by one vendor, thus eliminating the burden to act as a system integrator for application infrastructure. To address this, even market-leading vendors have more work to do to complete modernization and consolidation of the technologies to support these types of integration projects, and to secure long-term retention and the long-term retention of their market shares in an economic environment that is driving organizations to implement extensive cost-cutting measures.
This Magic Quadrant focuses on support for systematic integration projects that span internal, B2B and cloud applications, data and interfaces, particularly for projects that include long-term consideration and project planning in the process of design and technology selection for interfaces. The IT projects addressed by solutions and vendors evaluated in this Magic Quadrant target integration interfaces that are intended for an extended period of use, carry advanced service-level requirements and typically have an impact on the overall information context of the business organization. These are distinct from opportunistic projects that are undertaken in response to urgent demands and target interfaces of limited life, responsibility and complexity. Opportunistic projects value time to market and cost optimization above the long-term use and flexibility of the interface. Here, we focus only on the systematic project types, in part because opportunistic projects rarely focus on selection of the integration infrastructure, but focus instead on using the approach and technology that yield the least-expensive interface in the shortest time.
In this Magic Quadrant, we examine a market where buyers (IT projects) are looking for application infrastructure technology to fulfill the end-to-end requirements of a systematic application integration project. For each competing vendor, we evaluate how well that vendor's portfolio of application infrastructure offerings fulfills the requirements of such projects. The evaluation of a particular vendor is based on the premise that the vendor is the sole provider of the complete, end-to-end set of requirements for this project type.
Gartner offers analysis of application infrastructure for two additional project types. One analysis is for systematic, service-oriented-architecture (SOA)-style application projects. This is the type of project where the effort centers on the modeling and design of an SOA-style application topology, and the development of service implementations and user-facing logic (which is often multichannel). The orchestration of new and pre-existing like and unlike services is a key requirement (including some degree of SOA-style integration and governance). If your project, while implementing the strategic SOA backplane and governance for your organization/domain, is also intended to make decisions or provide recommendations about the tooling for supporting the implementation of SOA applications, see "Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for New Systematic SOA Application Projects" for more details.
Additionally, Gartner offers analysis of technology vendors for systematic SOA interoperability infrastructure projects. Those projects are usually driven by the organization's SOA center of excellence (COE), and typically consists of the architecture, design, implementation and deployment of two macrocomponents — the SOA backplane and SOA governance — that can be implemented at different times for convenience, though they are designed as an integrated, enterprisewide (or domainwide) SOA. SOA-enabling infrastructures are meant to be shared by virtually any SOA application project in the enterprise (or domain).
Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects Source: Gartner (October 2010)
The deployment of comprehensive interoperability and governance capabilities, shared across multiple applications and processes, is key to successful SOA initiatives. This Magic Quadrant assesses the vendors that provide these capabilities in their application infrastructure middleware offerings.
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is an accepted fact of life for a large and growing number of users in virtually every geography and in most vertical sectors. Because of the growing technology maturity, the diminishing costs and the associated risks, SOA is increasingly being adopted by midsize organizations that couldn't previously afford to consider this architectural approach. Packaged application vendors' strategy to increasingly "SOA enable" their products, the growing number of users adopting business process management (BPM) strategies, and the emerging requirement for integration with software as a service (SaaS) and other cloud services are encouraging more and more organizations to move toward SOA.
Implementing a strategic, large-scale SOA initiative requires the deployment of application infrastructure and middleware (AIM) technology. Gartner has identified three common types of projects in which this technology is typically implemented. This particular Magic Quadrant is being published for the first time, and is focused on the scenario we call "shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects" — that is, the effort to implement an enterprisewide infrastructure (shared across multiple SOA-style application projects) to enable any-to-any interoperability and to provide SOA governance capabilities. Vendors rated in this Magic Quadrant can play a single-supplier role for all the capabilities required by this type of projects. To be included in this Magic Quadrant, vendors must provide the functionality of an enterprise service bus (ESB), orchestration features (microflow and service composition) and SOA governance capabilities.
This research is accompanied by Magic Quadrants covering the other two prevailing types of application infrastructure projects:
Although shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects and systematic application integration projects may adopt similar technologies (for example, an ESB and adapters), they have different goals and objectives — establishing a common infrastructure to support a variety of SOA application projects versus enabling A2A and B2B integration. However, in the future, as SOA adoption increases to support B2B integration, the requirements of these two types of projects are likely to converge on a single set of common functionalities and capabilities.
A shared SOA interoperability infrastructure project is usually driven by the organization's SOA center of excellence (COE) and typically consists of the architecture, design, implementation and deployment of two macrocomponents:
The SOA backplane and SOA government macrocomponents can be implemented at different times for convenience, but they are designed as an integrated, enterprisewide (or domainwide) SOA-enabling infrastructure. In any case, the SOA backplane and governance platforms are meant to be shared by virtually any SOA application project in the enterprise (or domain).
In the past, many users developed their own SOA backplanes and governance platforms by aggregating application infrastructure components from multiple vendors and, in some cases, developing custom solutions (especially for SOA registry/repository and other governance components). However, during the past three or four years, many vendors have released application infrastructure offerings that include all the technologies required to implement a comprehensive, enterprisewide SOA backplane and governance infrastructure.
Many users continue to prefer a best-of-breed approach that involves procuring the individual components from multiple vendors to leverage the most-advanced technologies or because of requirements (for example, ultralow-latency messaging) that only specialized players can support. However, a growing number of user organizations are looking to procure all the technical components of their SOA backplane and governance infrastructure (ESBs, orchestration tools, registries/repositories, policy management, etc.) from a single AIM provider.
In this Magic Quadrant, we focus on the now-prevailing "one-stop shopping" approach. Therefore, we evaluate the strategy of application infrastructure vendors that can play the single-supplier role for all the technology components needed in shared SOA interoperability infrastructure projects.
For historical reasons, several vendors rated in this Magic Quadrant (including all the Leaders) have solid backgrounds in the adjacent application infrastructure for systematic application integration projects market. However, a few startup companies challenge the established players by proposing innovative platforms. These startup vendors' products are typically based on open-source technologies and focus on low-cost and ease of use as their main differentiators.
Therefore, users should not assume that only products from Leaders should be considered in their selection processes. Products from other players may be a better fit for their requirements on the basis of support, geographic affinity, functional or cost considerations.
Figure 2. Magic Quadrant for Shared SOA Interoperability Infrastructure Projects Source: Gartner (October 2010)
New and composite service-oriented business applications require a complex collection of capabilities in runtime technologies and development tools. We examine the ability of leading application infrastructure vendors to provide users with complete end-to-end support for SOA-style application projects.
Most new software projects target a service-oriented software model. Service-oriented applications separate the front-end business logic of the application from its back-end business logic. They are modular, and the modules (services and clients) are loosely coupled, shareable and distributable. They are also encapsulated behind documented programmatic interfaces. Most such applications are composites — that is, they partly use services that are newly designed for this application, and partly use services that already exist as part of other applications. Support of such architecture requires a multifunctional, underlying application infrastructure technology (middleware), often assembled by users from offerings of potentially different vendors. Some IT projects prefer this best-of-breed approach to assembling their enabling application infrastructure environments, although it requires IT organizations to act as system integrators (SIs) in assembling the disparate pieces into a cohesive platform for the project.
Many users are looking to support their projects with an integrated application infrastructure suite provided by one vendor, thus eliminating the burden to act as an SI for the application infrastructure. Most vendors recognize this buying pattern by offering technology suites targeting some popular and/or important project styles.
The application infrastructure suite of a vendor can be applied to different types of projects. Here, we examine vendors' application infrastructure worthiness for systematic service-oriented architecture (SOA)-style application projects. At the same time, two other Magic Quadrants have been published examining vendors' application infrastructure suites against the requirements of application integration and SOA interoperability and governance projects.
Systematic projects include long-term consideration and project planning in the process of design and technology selection for the application. They target applications that are intended for extended periods of use, carry advanced service-level requirements and typically have an impact on the overall information context of the business organization. These are distinct from opportunistic projects that are undertaken in response to urgent demands and target applications of limited lifetime, responsibility and complexity. These projects value time to market and cost optimization above the long-term use and flexibility of the application. This Magic Quadrant focuses only on the systematic project types, in part because the opportunistic projects rarely focus on selection of the application infrastructure, rather focusing on finding the best-fit development environment that encapsulates everything else.
In this Magic Quadrant, we examine a market where buyers (IT projects) are looking for application infrastructure technology to fulfill the end-to-end requirements of a systematic, SOA-style application project. For each competing vendor, we evaluate how well that vendor's portfolio of application infrastructure offerings fulfills the requirements of such projects. The evaluation of a particular vendor is based on the premise that the vendor is the sole provider of the complete end-to-end set of requirements for this project type.
Figure 3. Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA-Style Application Projects Source: Gartner (October 2010)
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