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There's a difference between what we'd like our enterprise computing systems to be and what they really are. We like to envision them as orderly multitier arrangements comprising software buses, hubs, gateways, and adapters - all deployed at just the right places to maximize scale, load, application utility, and ultimately, business value. Unfortunately, we know that there's a wide gulf between this idealistic vision and reality. In practice, our enterprise computing systems typically are tangles of numerous technologies, protocols, and applications, often hastily hard-wired together with inflexible point-to-point connections. The whole point of middleware is to hide the diversity and complexity of the computing machinery underneath it. By adopting the abstractions that middleware provides, we're supposedly isolating our applications from the variety of ever-changing hardware platforms, operating systems, networks, protocols, and transports that make up our enterprise computing systems. We can use Web services to provide "middleware for middleware" abstraction layer for modern integration applications.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2003