Middleware software enables communication or connectivity between two or more applications or application components in a distributed network. By making it easier to connect applications that weren't designed to connect with one another - and providing functionality to connect them in intelligent ways - Middleware "glues together" separate, often complex and already existing programs to streamline application development and speeds time to market.
There are many types of middleware. Some, such as message brokers or transaction processing monitors (e.g. Amazon Web Services Simple Queue Service, MicrosoftTransactionServer or TuxedoMonitor for the Unix environment), focus on one type of communication. Others, such as web application servers or mobile device middleware (e.g. vCenter Server or Apache Tomcat), provide the full range of communication and connectivity capabilities needed to build a particular type of application. Still others such as SphereEx’s cloud-based integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offering or an enterprise service bus (e.g. IBM App Connect or Microsoft Azure), function as a centralized integration hub for connecting all the components in an enterprise.
The advantages brought by the implementation of Middleware solutions could be resumed into the three ways an integrated software layer can deliver a competitive edge. Nowadays customers interact with organizations through an increasing number of technology interfaces-including mobile, cloud, and onsite applications.
These applications are generally built individually and reactively, making it difficult for businesses to react rapidly to business changes caused by everchanging customer demands, market fluctuations or regulatory changes. Middleware technologies can help by providing a flexible layer between applications and technologies.
This layer of flexibility is represented by software that creates a common platform for all interactions internal and external to the organization- system-to-system, system-to-database, human-to-system, Web-based, and mobile-device-based interactions.
Successful organizations recognize the advantages of this service-oriented architecture and implement it intelligently in their enterprises, generally reaping three major benefits.
- Enhanced Efficiency
Successful organizations continuously streamline the way they do business by automating their business processes with technology. Middleware technology allows for process automation – such as product ordering and configuration - and reduces costs that would come with a staff member performing the setup manually. This improved cycle time ultimately increases the total volume of business because of the simplified customer interactions.
- Boosted Agility
Delivering services across the mobile, cloud, and traditional application platforms is a major challenge. As services converge, customers expect a common and improved user experience. The current IT landscape needs to be agile to meet these requirements. Middleware technology can help reconcile legacy IT systems into reusable, general-purpose functionality blocks that facilitate quicker changes to business processes. As a result, the business is better supported for changes in products and services as well as the introduction of new channels.
ShardingSphere users including China Minsheng Banking Corp., JD.com, Trip.com, iQiyi, OPPO, Vivo and TCL provide feedback showing faster time to market for products and services where Middleware can aid the process.
- Fast Innovation
Product development cycles need to be shorter to introduce new, innovative products before competitors. An IT landscape of reusable software services helps the business roll out new products and services faster while maintaining lower development costs. SphereEx and ShardingSphere users can achieve a reduction in total cost of ownership for their existing environments—freeing up valuable resources to invest in new product development.
To get the most out of middleware technology, business and IT team managers should choose the best middleware solution that is complete, integrated, and pluggable.
Business leaders should view their work with their middleware partner as a strategic partnership that simplifies processes. IT managers can require certified integrations between middleware, database, and applications or choose an open source solution such as ShardingSphere that if fully customizable and allows them to implement the middleware products right into their existing environment and reduce costs. The right middleware technology enables an enterprise to create and run agile, intelligent business applications while maximizing IT efficiency through full utilization of modern hardware and software architectures.
ShardingSphere is a data and SQL control and management layer connecting applications and databases, introducing a new ecosystem concept that goes far beyond the traditional Middleware concept and capabilities.
As the commercial company behind the ShardingSphere open source project development, SphereEx provides enterprise solutions and support that better meet the needs of partners that require enterprise-level support services. Concurrently, SphereEx continues to uphold its commitment to the Apache ShardingSphere project and the open source community – always striving for openness, diversification, co-development, and linking world developers and users.