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A Look at the Future: 2012 Middleware Trends, Part 1

The role of middleware software as a crucial component of automating businesses will continue in 2012, but the ways in which it plays a part in automating businesses will inevitably change. New platforms, technologies and ideologies continue to present themselves, and enterprises' needs and demands for middleware are evolving.

Two Red Hat executives – Craig Muzilla, vice president and general manager, middleware business and Ashesh Badani, senior director, middleware business – have been at the frontline of this evolution and are well-equipped to offer unique perspectives on middleware trends. Here, they provide their own insights into emerging trends for next year and beyond.

What do you see as the biggest middleware trends taking shape in 2012?

Muzilla:

Mobile is going to be very big in 2012. Right now, developers are building small mobile apps for iOS and Android, but the marketplace will begin to incorporate a much broader and more sophisticated use of mobile technology. We'll begin to see increased integration with backend applications – integration that will tie into customer relationship management, enterprise resource management systems and more.

More people and applications will not only be using mobile phones, but also incorporating many types of remote devices, including remote sensors. Middleware will be necessary to support these types of applications through advanced messaging and complex event processing (CEP) technology.

Cloud computing will continue to be huge. We expect offerings like Red Hat OpenShift and other Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions will continue to mature, and the need for PaaS solutions to support more enterprise-related applications will continue to grow. We'll also begin to see more sophisticated services offered in PaaS. So far, most have focused on container technology – writing code and getting it up and running. We'll soon see developers using technology to create cloud-based solutions that move beyond the core application server to include other middleware capabilities such as integration, workflow and process management.

Badani:

As Craig said, we fully expect to see increased adoption of middleware technology leveraging cloud architecture. That's because more and more enterprises are looking at how to best develop and deploy applications on and off premise. They want to make sure those skills are reusable and to take advantage of everything cloud has to offer – more effective economics, the shift to operational expenses from capital expenses, increased ability to scale, quicker time to market, etc.

We're also seeing the rise of dynamic languages using Java virtual machines such as Scala, Ceylon and others. The interest in these languages, frameworks and styles of programming will continue to grow in 2012.

And expect to see further intersections between middleware and big data. People look at big data as a way to store and analyze vast amounts of information. Middleware can help to leverage and extend that information into applications via a more robust process and analytics platform.

What are your thoughts on the state of Java and Java EE for the coming year?

Badani:

Java continues to lead when looking at an overall adoption perspective; however, there are an increasing number of dynamic languages gaining traction using Java runtimes. One size simply does not fit all. But many emerging frameworks do not offer the kind of stability and robustness of Java EE. So while we fully expect developers to take a Swiss Army knife approach, adopting the tools that best help their individual organizations scale, we'll continue to see widespread adoption of enterprise Java.

Muzilla:

I think we'll also begin to see new Java standards, which started with the introduction of Java EE 6. There's a big developer interest in standards-based flexibility, which Java EE offers. It's portable and highly adaptable, which is what developers are looking for. We'll also see a new movement around Contexts and Dependency Injection (CDI). Developers will begin developing extensions and new communities will evolve. We'll also see Java begin to standardize around the cloud and PaaS with the advent of Java EE 7.

Speaking of developers – is their role changing? If so, how?

Badani:

For Red Hat, 2012 will be the year of the developer. Our goal is to greatly simplify what developers are able to do by making it easy to develop, test, deploy, integrate, scale and manage. We want to make it as simple as possible for a single person to quickly get his/her applications up and running and not get overly concerned about deployment mechanics. Red Hat’s focus on the developer will continue in 2012 as we develop and re-architect solutions to make it easier for the developer community to get the job done.

Muzilla:

Because of cloud computing, more developers are deploying in addition to developing. As the emergence of this new role of developer operations, or dev-ops, becomes more apparent, we'll begin to see developers taking on more and more responsibilities.

In addition, greater levels of abstraction, as a result of PaaS and cloud in general, will allow less skilled developers to create resources like sophisticated e-commerce websites without the skills needed in the past. Solutions like JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform make it easier for developers to complete these tasks in the cloud, allowing more people to become involved in building applications than ever before.

So, essentially, the nature of the developer is changing as more people are able to participate in both the creation and deployment processes.

In Part 2 of this interview, Muzilla and Badani will expand on the trends discussion by addressing a number of other topics, including the growing call for middleware-based standards, integration with cloud services, middleware and mobile and more.