Gartner: 2009 wasn't such a bad year after all for middleware spending

The global middleware market, which includes SOA and BPM solutions, grew up three percent last year -- not bad in the middle of an economic hurricane.

When the economic crisis and downturn began to hit big time toward the end of 2008, massive cuts in IT budgets looked all but certain. This certainly spelled doom for many SOA and infrastructure development and modernization projects.

However, 2009 didn't turn out to be such a horrendous year after all for middleware-related initiatives, or so Gartner is now saying. While down from the previous year, the overall middleware market still grew during the tumultuous times of 2009, Gartner now concludes. Revenue in what the consultancy calls the "application infrastructure and middleware (AIM) software" market totaled $15.9 billion worldwide in 2009, a 2.8 percent increase from 2008.

In 2008, worldwide AIM revenue grew 7.1 percent and totaled $15.5 billion.

This has been a good week of data for the middleware market folks. A new study out of WinterGreen Research predicted that the global SOA application middleware market will more than double in size over the next few years, growing at least a 15% clip annually.

Gartner defines the AIM market in 12 segments, including general-purpose portal products, business-process-management-enabling technologies, application integration and platform middleware, business-to-business/multienterprise products, integration as a service, SOA governance technologies, and AIM appliances. The analyst firm says the fastest-growing segments, with double-digit increases, are SOA governance technologies, message-oriented middleware, AIM appliances and BPM suites.

Vendors leading the middleware pack are IBM (31.5% share), Oracle (17%), Microsoft (4%), Software AG (3%), and Tibco (3%).  Forty-two percent of the market is controlled by other vendors. This is the same order as in 2008.

While mergers and acquisitions were relatively quiet during 2009, expect things to heat up very soon, according to Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner. "The AIM market continues to be in a creative turmoil with vendors at the high end continuing to consolidate with major acquisitions and sound organic growth, while there is a huge variety of up-and-coming players, particularly in some hot spots such as low- latency messaging (LLM), managed file transfer (MFT), extreme transaction processing (XTP), complex event processing (CEP), and business process analysis (BPA)."

Cloud computing is also shaking things up, Biscotti adds. "We see mounting attention to application-platform-as-a-service (APaaS) offerings from an increasingly large number of organizations looking for fast return of their software development investments. Software-as-hardware is a nascent trend demonstrated by the solid growth of AIM appliances."


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