Middleware Software

Middleware software allows two separate software applications to interact and share data. Middleware could also act as a software layer between an application and an operating system. This type of software usually supports distributed systems and facilitates messaging services, making application development easier for programmers. Middleware does not disclose the complex nature of distributed applications, and provides the uniform, high-end interfaces necessary for making applications reusable and interoperable. Features of Middleware software typically focus on transaction management, API management and messaging.  Read the full software guide...

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What is Middleware Software?

Middleware is a type of software solution, effectively the thread, that connects applications to operating systems. It essentially bridges the gap between network-based requests from a client and the back-end information that particular client has requested.

Middleware is the general or standard term used to identify software solutions situated between separate and often complex existing systems. It serves as the glue that holds together all of the programs in an organization’s entire network infrastructure.

Middleware is normally utilized by organizations with distributed systems where it helps to simplify software development processes by masking the intricacies of most distributed applications.

It also helps to hide the heterogeneity of operating systems, protocols, and hardware; provides a core set of services that help minimize repetitive tasks and enhance collaboration between applications; and grants standard and high-level interfaces used to create reusable, portable, and interoperable applications.

Middleware can essentially be applied to every aspect of an organization’s network infrastructure, including system security, message queues, application servers, transaction management, directories, and web servers.

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Types of Middleware Software

Getting a better comprehension of middleware solutions can be a bit difficult and confusing at times, especially for non-IT inclined individuals. However, if you check out the different types of middleware solutions and how they fit into your entire network infrastructure, you might be able to see how these systems can encompass a wide range of software.

Application Programming Interface (API)

APIs are generally a comprehensive toolset. They provide the definitions and protocols utilized for designing and creating applications. APIs also enable your created product or service to communicate seamlessly with other products and services without really having to know how they are implemented.

Application Integration

Application integration is the process of combining different data sets from several applications through an integration framework, serving as a middleware solution. The framework is susceptible to limiting the availability of point-to-point connections across the network, which may then lead to complex dependencies and possible points of failure.

Application Server

An application server is essentially a platform for application development that comes with all the tools and services a developer needs to usher any software application from conception to release and implementation. It is a framework that offers the functionality that allows users to create and develop apps and a platform on which to run them on. Application servers enable software developers to troubleshoot apps for potential issues or refine them prior to release.

Data Integration

Data integration is the practice of merging different information from heterogeneous sources into a single, unified dashboard or view screen so that users will be able to access, consume, and/or manipulate data as quickly and easily as possible.

Message-Oriented Middleware (MOM)

MOM is essentially an improvement on the remote procedure call, or RPC, protocol with the implementation of a queuing mechanism. It allows client-server interaction to occur asynchronously, especially in scenarios where a target node is particularly slow or busy.

Object Request Broker (ORB)

Object request broker, or ORB, is another kind of middleware. It is a client-server interaction solution that enables remote services to be accessed as though they were locally based. Crucial server processes have to be registered with the ORB. Clients then locate their services by simply contacting the ORB.

Remote Procedure Call (RPC)

Remote procedure call, or RPC, is a client-server interaction protocol. It is a less comprehensive rendition of message-oriented middleware. It enables a specific application or functionality to be disseminated across multiple platforms more easily and efficiently.

Transaction Processing (TP)

Transaction processing helps to maintain the integrity of any system (i.e. databases, file systems, etc.) by simply configuring and controlling transaction applications, implementing business logic and rules, and/or pushing database updates and permissions.

How to Choose Middleware Software

Middleware solutions are an integral component in any complex framework. In the world of business technology, it can often make a huge difference in the efficiency and functionality of integrated software solutions.

Middleware allows for an optimal integration of otherwise disparate data processors, platforms, and network infrastructures. However, not all middleware solutions are created equal. Some solutions are more effective in certain functions than others, and finding the right middleware solution to fit the needs of an organization can be confusing and difficult at times.

Choosing the right middleware solution means establishing the purpose, which is done by identifying the software programs that require the support of a good middleware solution.

Middleware for Development Purposes

Acquiring a middleware solution for software development purposes is perhaps one of the most common reasons why organizations seek out such a solution. The processes and demands typically associated with software development can be tough and complicated, especially when you factor in the need for powerful processing tools and a plethora of system types.

To effectively manage this aspect of the software development process, most organizations, businesses, and development teams often turn to middleware solutions for assistance. Since middleware essentially fills in the layer between the machine and the application that it interacts with, it goes without saying that middleware solutions are critical to the proper development of the program being created.

Middleware for Platform Integration

When you’re using a single platform or suite that essentially runs a myriad of tools and applications, you will undoubtedly need a solution that works to integrate all of the apps in a seamless, problem-free, and efficient way. Even if the applications managed by a single suite are different from each other, a good middleware solution will be able to fully integrate them without issue.

When it comes to multi-platform or multi-app integration, middleware solutions are necessary for improving global and comprehensive analysis efforts within the organization. However, most large-scale companies using a proprietary system to manage all of their business process applications and software programs already have a middleware solution established to properly connect all existing systems within the organization.

Middleware for Automation Purposes

Automation has become a significant aspect of the day-to-day processes of most businesses and development teams nowadays. For some organizations that haven’t adopted automation as part of their daily operations, whether it’s software development, CRM, employee management, and so on, integrating automation solutions can be a serious concern.

Utilizing a good middleware solution can make integrating automation options into an existing framework or network infrastructure a lot easier and more manageable. Middleware addresses the possible issues and concerns directly by providing the right set of circumstances so that two or more programs can co-exist, communicate, and work together in a seamless fashion, as well as subsequently be unified for proper automation.

Benefits of Middleware Software

Middleware serves a very important purpose in the world of business. Regardless of which industry a company falls into, whether they operate internationally or locally and whether they’re utilizing a simple software platform or a vast and complex network infrastructure, middleware is the connective tissue that ties all software solutions together. An organization simply can’t operate or manage their business at a higher, competitive level without it.

Common Features of Middleware

API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.

Latest User Reviews of Middleware Products

Heimdall Data
Chris Fauerbach
29 Dec 2016
"Very easy to install & get cacheing"

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