Five Questions with…Rich Heironimus, middleware practice lead, Red Hat Consulting

by Rich Heironimus (Red Hat)

It’s no secret that middleware is increasingly a critical component of integrating, automating and accelerating business. With the rapid development of new technologies and platforms, we caught up with Rich Heironimus for his thoughts as to the latest trends arounds middleware, and what it means for developers.

How are customers using middleware today?
Today, middleware is increasingly helping customers achieve business agility. The flexibility that a well-architected system brings to the customer ultimately translates into better business efficiency. Legacy systems are often tightly coupled and making changes becomes more and more expensive over time. Many customers are building an integration or SOA foundation that leverages BPM and BRMS to achieve business agility by deploying their key processes and rules in middleware platforms. As more customers become more globalized, many customers are trying to deploy standardized processes and rules across the region or globe with localized changes or differences. BPM and BRMS middleware is enabling this flexibility.

What are some trends happening right now in the middleware space?
Middleware is being used to reduce the time to market for new applications by leveraging the efficiency driven through integration and BPM/BRMS platforms. Customers are revamping legacy workflow driven applications by refactoring them on a BPM/BRMS platform and owning the changes. Big data is also driving Complex Event processing, rules and process adoption.

Why do you think the middleware market is growing so quickly?
Mobile applications are driving a lot of applications to ensure they provide a web API (mostly REST interfaces) and this drives integration requirements. Adoption of cloud SaaS apps like Salesforce also require integration and synchronization of data between cloud and on premise applications. Legacy application migration or modernization will continue as usual and when the time comes, customers are looking for ways to preserve as much of their existing investments as possible while looking for ways to modernize those apps.

What sort of challenges are customers facing when it comes to middleware?
Developer skill sets, speed to market and heterogeneous applications are challenges that many customers face. Monitoring and managing a heterogeneous multi-vendor middleware environment is also challenging especially in the area of application and transaction tracking and troubleshooting. Highly complex SOA based architectures can bring about challenges in tracking down the root cause of issues.

How is the role of the developer changing?
Developers today have to learn quickly, adapt to evolving technology standards, and collaborate/share with peers and their business counterparts in agile or development models. Developer operations are certainly a key area of interest in many organizations. Many organizations are starting to move from the typical vendor/outsource based model and move more development in house. The challenge remains that many organizations have been reliant on vendors for far too long and will take some time to build up their own internal team.

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