Middleware platforms are extremely important to an organization’s IT structure. Multiple product vendors like IBM, Oracle, TIBCO, SAP, Software AG and Open Source communities are offering middleware platforms to enterprises. These platforms exist in organizations for decades and enterprises are content with them. However, several changes in businesses push enterprises to migrate their middleware landscape from one platform to another. Some of the drivers for migration include end of product lifecycle, strategic reasons like platform standardization, mergers & acquisitions, license issues, etc. Industries such as Financial Services, Retail, Manufacturing, Healthcare and Energy have a need to migrate from one middleware platform to another.
The immediate question that comes up is how to make this middleware transformation a pleasant journey? The answer lies in understanding the first step that a matured migration solution should follow – middleware assessment. Middleware assessment is all about understanding the various nuances and details of how the existing middleware platform is constructed. This includes an understanding of various constructs and building blocks in a middleware. The quality of this assessment is crucial for a successful migration.
Middleware assessment should focus on three areas.
- First is the external constructs of middleware including number of interfaces and end point applications.
- Second is the internal constructs of middleware including configurations, rules, transformation logic, flows, pattern usage, custom code, etc.
- Third is on supporting information such as resource profiles in the current landscape, SLAs, quality management, governance, non- functional requirements, etc.
Missing any of these aspects while making an assessment may make the middleware migration difficult. Hence, we need to assess from the core or the kernel to get a holistic view. Mere outside assessment will help understand certain quantitative information on the number of interfaces and end applications integrated, but this is not sufficient. The most crucial information resides in the internal constructs of middleware.
Having said that, at this point in time, industry does not have much by way of sophisticated assessment tools for all middleware platforms and this also poses a challenge to teams involved in the migration. The discussion so far makes it very clear we need an assessment where the details of middleware need to be completely assessed to the granular level.
Assessment of middleware helps in understanding the existing landscape and does away with redundancies. Enterprises that are undergoing middleware migration will use this opportunity to rationalize their interfaces to avoid redundancies. Rationalization is all about consolidation, retirement or retention of interfaces during migration. However, manual assessment will not be able to provide much information for this rationalization process as it is extremely time-consuming. The biggest challenge for the migration team in doing a detailed assessment is the lack of a mechanism or tools.
Considering all the needs of assessment, automation should be the way going forward. Automation can help understand the finer details of middleware in a faster and error-free manner. Automation in middleware assessment will be a crucial step in middleware migration. What challenges do you face and how have you have tackled it? Feel free to write in.