iStock_000008310336SmallIn a previous Blog on WSO2Con 2013 US, I discussed the adoption of WSO2 open source middleware to support business applications in several large enterprises.  As part of a customer’s technical due diligence process, they will depend on analyst’s views to provide them an opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of vendors technology products offering. I was curious to see how WSO2 stacks up against other commercial software vendors in several reports completed by Gartner and Forrester, two of the major software analysts that are relied upon for their market and technical analysis. The question from my perspective was how WSO2 technology compares to other vendors in the middleware space based on the objectives of the various analyst’s studies.  This information is valuable for a customer evaluating a solution for their middleware needs as they modernize existing applications or develop new applications.

Analysts View of WSO2

The primary reason that companies make use of analyst information is to validate an IT strategy and to choose the best products and technologies. Analysts have developed frameworks that are used to easily communicate their view, based on business, technical, market and other information, of companies providing products in a particular market space. So, I thought I would do some research to find out if open source middleware fits into any analyst categories. Specifically, I was interested in WSO2 since my company is a WSO2 Business Partner and it was part of a due diligence process that was performed to determine the capabilities and adoption of open source middleware. There are good business reasons to evaluate open source middleware as an option to commercial sources notwithstanding the potential savings in software license costs.

WSO2 was evaluated by two of the major software analyst firms. The following table shows the subject area and analyst positioning of several studies that have been released since 2010:


Analyst Publication
Firm Title Position
Gartner The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Services Governance, August 2013 Visionary
Gartner The Gartner Magic Quadrant for On-Premises Application Integration Suites, July 2013 Visionary
Gartner The Gartner Magic Quadrant for On-Premises Application Platforms, July 2013 Visionary
Gartner Gartner Compares Vendors of Comprehensive Application Insfrastructure Suites, January 2013 Visionary
Forrester The Forrester WaveTM: API Management Platforms, Q1 2013 Leader
Gartner The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Systematic SOA Application Projects, June 2012 Visionary
Gartner The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Systematic Application Integration Projects, June 2012 Visionary
Gartner The Gartner Magic Quadrant for SOA Infrastructure Projects, June 2012 Visionary
Forrester The Forrester WaveTM: Integrated SOA Governance, Q1, 2012 Strong Performer
Forrester The Forrester WaveTM: SOA Service Life-Cycle Management, Q1, 2012 Strong Performer
Forrester The Forester WaveTM: Standalone SOA Management Solutions, Q4, 2011 Strong Performer
Gartner The Gartner Magic Quadrant for GOA Governance Technologies, 2011 Visionary
Forrester The Forrester WaveTM: Enterprise Service Bus, Q2 2011 Leader
Gartner Magic Quadrant Positions – Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries, Niche Players
Forrester Wave Positions – Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, Risky Bets

Table 1. Analyst Reports on WSO2 Open Source Middleware

The table indicates that WSO2 technology received excellent rankings for the technologies of the middleware stack that were evaluated in the referenced studies.

SOA Middleware Stack and the Analyst’s View

Although not meant to be a complete analysis of all the categories where a particular middleware technology may be used, my interest in general focused on the usage of middleware in applications where a service oriented architecture (SOA) style is used as an architecture principle or where there are application integration needs such as in SaaS and on-premises application integrations. A series of reports by Gartner provides an excellent source of information on vendors and middleware technology stacks that could meet these requirements and a specific report gives a summary of the results of their vendor analysis. Gartner released their report titled “Comparing Vendors of Comprehensive Application Infrastructure Suites” in January 2013 that reviewed and reported on commercial and open source vendors who deliver a full stack implementation of middleware according to their definitions of evaluation criteria. The focus of that report was to summarize the analysis presented in three other prior reports: 1) Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA Application Projects, 2) Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA Infrastructure Projects, and 3) Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects. In these reports, WSO2 was the only open source middleware vendor that met the requirements for the analysis categories. The summary analysis of the positioning of the various vendors that were evaluated in these reports is shown in Table 2.

  Magic Quadrant
Vendor (Headquarters) Systematic SOA Application SOA Infrastructure Systematic Application Integration
Fujitsu (Japan) Challenger Challenger Challenger
IBM (U.S.) Leader Leader Leader
Microsoft (U.S.) Leader Challenger Leader
Oracle (U.S.) Leader Leader Leader
SAP (Germany) Visionary Leader Leader
Tibco Software (U.S.) Visionary Leader Leader
WSO2 (U.S.) Visionary Visionary Visionary

Source: Gartner (January 2013)

Table 2. Vendors of Comprehensive Application Infrastructure Product Suites

WSO2 has developed a broad enough set of middleware capabilities to be placed in all three application infrastructure Magic Quadrants according to Gartner. Given the commercial competitors also included in the Magic Quadrant, this speaks highly of the WSO2 middleware stack for building out a systematic SOA infrastructure and for developing SOA composite business applications.

Open Source Choice

Modern applications today are typically developed using a service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach. It is especially the case today with the availability of SaaS applications where multiple SaaS and on-premises applications are integrated and orchestrated through RESTful and SOAP methods. Combining an open source middleware technology stack such as WSO2 as well as pay-as-you-go SaaS applications such as Salesforce gives the enterprise and SMB customer a powerful combination to streamline their existing or new business applications. The decision to adopt an open source approach for building new SOA composite business applications is further enhanced by positive reviews from the analyst community. As I see it, WSO2, has done a great job of developing and delivering the right open source products in line with the market direction. Being evaluated positively along with major commercial vendors is further justification for moving to an open source middleware option.

David Ching

David has founded or co-founded companies that delivered cutting edge monitoring and management products. He spearheaded the development of one of the first business transaction monitoring products in the APM market. David currently is the founder of iBIT, a consultancy that delivers application consulting, implementation and managed services using an open source middleware platform from WSO2. He believes that the use of open source software will become mainstream among both enterprise and small medium business organizations. He has Bachelor of Science, Master of Civil Engineering and Doctorate in Civil Engineering degrees from the University of Minnesota.

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