Middleware Flashback: Midtier technology is where innovative enterprise IT projects happen.
by Aaron Lazenby
Way back in 2003, I wrote my first feature for Profit. It was titled “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Application Servers (But Were Afraid to Ask)”—a mid-tier IT primer for business readers. It discussed “cutting-edge” technologies like portals and XML and the brand-new Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE; we’re now on Java EE 7).
So it’s obvious that a lot has changed since I last focused my attention on application servers. Most notably, Oracle Application Server is just one facet of a broader suite of mid-tier technologies called Oracle Fusion Middleware. Also, as business has grown increasingly intertwined with technology—both inside the enterprise and beyond the corporate firewall—the role of middleware has expanded exponentially to address myriad business challenges. Integration. Identity management. Business process management. Business intelligence. And that’s just a few.
But despite the dated terms I used in my Profit debut, I noticed something in rereading that old story that has stayed constant: mid-tier technology is where innovative enterprise IT projects happen. It may have been XML in 2003, but it’s SOA in 2012.
The drive to innovate and the desire to succeed are business principles that never go out of fashion.
This is a point I think we’ve demonstrated well in the current issue. Take a look at “ Playing to Win”: Oracle Fusion Middleware has helped management transform Electronic Arts from a manufacturer of physical products to one focused on digital distribution. Smart IT leaders are also using middleware to do calculations based on massive sets of sensor data and to externalize enterprise data and combine it with internet search results in real time (“Future Proof”). That’s modern, IT-driven business, unfolding at the pace of the market. And it all happens in the mid tier.
While preparing the August issue of Profit was more than just a stroll down memory lane for me (check out our stories on Oracle Exadata and Oracle’s customer experience solutions), it has provided a nice bit of perspective about what changes and what doesn’t in this dynamic IT industry. Technologies continuously evolve—some become standard practice, some are revived or reinvented, and some are left by the wayside. But the drive to innovate and the desire to succeed are business principles that never go out of fashion.
Editor in Chief, Profit