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Application Integration and Middleware Software Evolution

Enterprise software is evolving and adapting to new requirements.  The worldwide application integration and middleware (AIM) software segment is growing faster than the overall infrastructure software market, with revenue reaching $27 billion in 2017 -- that's an increase of 7 percent over 2016, according to the latest market study by Gartner.

"Established approaches to application infrastructure are too rigid, closed and cumbersome to support many digital transformation requirements," said Fabrizio Biscotti, research vice president at Gartner.

AIM Software Market Development Trends

Growth in mobile, big data, analytics, in-memory computing, cloud services and Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives requires application and integration professionals to invest in new AIM technologies. This drives innovative integration approaches with new AIM technologies at their core -- such as application programmable interface management and integration platform as a service.

Three main requirements are central to this shift. Firstly, digital business organizations need an open, flexible and lightweight model that enables simpler and faster configuration, as well as deployment of both cloud computing and on-premises resources.

In addition, they need platforms that support diverse combinations of resources, applications, data, processes and things from within and outside the organization. Finally, they need self-service middleware that can increase and decrease in scale rapidly.

"Cloud application infrastructure offerings are still maturing, yet already meet market demands for greater agility, scalability, productivity and efficiency better than their on-premises alternatives," said Mr Biscotti. "The older technology, however, often remains more suitable for the most demanding scenarios."

The AIM software market is split into mature and emerging segments. Mature segments are large in size, and most of the market is consolidated in a few vendors. A high proportion of revenue is generated from maintenance fees and growth is slow, typically single-digit. Examples of mature segments include application servers and business process management suites.

Outlook for AIM Software Growth

The emerging segments include mobile app development platforms, in-memory data grids and platform as a service (PaaS). These segments are smaller in size, but offer double-digit growth rates as they expand rapidly with digital business needs and the market demand for increased agility and scalability. The segment shows a high level of fragmentation, as new vendors attempt to gain market share before the market consolidates.

"The emerging segments are bolstering the above-average revenue growth within the AIM software market," said Mr Biscotti. "Organizations seeking competitive advantage through digital business transformation need new approaches to application infrastructure and integration, a trend shown clearly in the fast-growing emerging segments."

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