I have a favor to ask you: Can we please stop saying the end of …..and then whatever technology you hope will stop using? If we have learned one thing over the 30 or 40 years that we have been doing IT, is that technology and software have a remarkable longevity. Look the COBOL language. COBOL stands for Common Business Oriented Language and first appeared in 1959. Almost 60 years ago we saw the first COBOL programs appear in the market. At one point COBOL was the language for business use but its popularity waned. But the simple fact that something is not popular doesn’t mean that it’s not still around! The Dutch tax authority has a summer school for students teaching them among others: you guessed it, COBOL. On their website one of their employees expects COBOL to be around for another two decades or so. But it’s not just Cobol. It is also all of the other languages that we welcomed into our IT landscapes and IT departments. Many of the payment processing systems in banks are written in COBOL. So, let’s stop declaring technology as being dead since in IT we mostly add technology to our IT landscape than deprecate it.
Remember PowerBuilder? Another legacy you either need to phase out and replace with something new or continue to support in one form or the other. Through a wrapper or when it has some sort of proprietary interface, Soap interface for hopefully even an API. Everything we introduce will eventually become a legacy. That is a natural technology progresses we see the opportunity that new technology brings. At the same time we are very good at introducing new buzzwords that will make sure that you will buy new technology or buying into his new paradigm of software development. The same goes for middleware. To quote or paraphrase the American writer Mark Twain in a telegram in 1906 from London to the Associated Press: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”.
Middleware is not dead. We might have found new ways to develop software, or new technologies that we would like to use but it does mean that everything else that we have is suddenly gone. I think there are a lot of organizations would love to have a greenfield technology landscape. Throw everything away and start fresh, no more legacy systems no more piecemeal solutions but everything using the same technology using the same core libraries. It’s a dream, but is probably not going to materialize. Risk and cost is simply too high. You are adding technology to your IT landscape, not so much exchanging one technology for the other. That doesn’t mean that I’m not excited about these new technologies, on the contrary! Containers, micro services and serverless technology surely technologies that will bring value to your organization.
There we go again
The whole process continues we need to maintain the old and we need to support or introduce new technologies. It looks like middleware is not dead in the sense that we stop using it. Look at the concept of the Enterprise Service Bus, I would say it’s pretty much alive and kicking but what we see is that there are going to be sort of hybrid solutions that marry the benefits of enterprise service bus together with the agility and speed that we meet nowadays.
So, you’re not crazy you are currently at this stage that you want to replace your enterprise service bus/Enterprise integrator environment or a new solution. I even got good news for you, if you look at our ESB selection guide you will find the criteria that are important when selecting such a solution which is going to play an important role in parts of your IT landscape for quite some time.