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The success of iPaaS has led to the emergence of “middleware-as-a-service” (MWaaS), which is a cohesive stack of cloud-based integration services aimed at key use cases, such as cloud service integration, API management, mobile application/backend integration, and B2B integration. The upcoming Ovum report, 2017 Trends to Watch: API-led and Cloud-based Integration, explores the core architectural attributes and key use cases for MWaaS and gauges the extent to which it can cannibalize the market for traditional heavyweight middleware platforms.

A major market shift to middleware-as-a-service has begun and will not slow down

An interesting trend is how almost all the major middleware vendors, including IBM, Tibco, and others have re-architected or developed from scratch their new MWaaS offerings to ensure that different components of the middleware stack can interact with each other via APIs. A good case in point is Liaison Technologies’ Alloy platform, which offers a combination of software components composed of APIs/microservices. Depending on the requirements of a specific use case, Liaison has the capability to call specific APIs/microservices and offer a newly composed functionality. Moreover, Axway’s recently announced Amplify platform is based on an API-centric architecture. Tibco has similar provisions for its new set of middleware products. and MuleSoft has implemented a similar architectural approach for its Anypoint Platform. IBM’s Connect offerings, including IBM App Connect, IBM API Connect, and IBM WebSphere Connect, use a similar architectural approach.

MWaaS will significantly cannibalize the established on-premise middleware market in 2017, and by the end of 2018, we expect over 50% of the new spend (not including upgrades of on-premise middleware or renewal of similar licenses) on middleware to be accounted from by MWaaS or at least some form of cloud-based integration services. The center of gravity of integration infrastructure will rapidly shift to the cloud. This change is inevitable and will lead to a gradual decline in business for integration vendors that could not look beyond on-premise integration platforms.

A comprehensive MWaaS suite combines iPaaS, apiPaaS, mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS), and other cloud-based integration services, such as data-centric PaaS and cloud-based B2B integration services, to offer a cohesive suite of integration capabilities required to support digital business. These individual, cloud-based integration services are offered on a subscription basis, with each component having essential cloud characteristics, such as multi-tenancy, resource sharing, and rapid scalability. We expect the overall MWaaS market to grow by over 35% over the next couple of years, with pure-play iPaaS a major contributor to market spend.

The success of iPaaS as an agile approach to hybrid integration has played a key role in the evolution of MWaaS era. For enterprises, MWaaS represents a good opportunity to shift from legacy middleware platforms that require significant upgrades and investment to remain relevant in the current operating environment. IT leaders need to evaluate the proposition of MWaaS and how it can be used to fill the gaps in existing integration capabilities. With lower barriers to exit, enterprises can afford to experiment and pick and choose MWaaS offerings/vendors according to their specific requirements.



Saurabh Sharma, Senior Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions

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