It has been fascinating to witness how the use for SOA gateways evolved over time. In 2010, we saw an explosion of market demand for our gateway appliance product. Here are my thoughts for what I expect to see this year and beyond.
Recent use cases for these types of devices largely focused on B2B interactions and internal enterprise integration. Many enterprise architects realized the benefits of using the lightweight ESB-in-a-box deployment model and gateway-based integration. I don’t think we’ve hit the peak of this type of use case. I expect the demand for quickly deployed integration, and a preference for “configure, not code” to continue to accelerate in 2011. The cost and complexity involved in deploying full-blown software-based ESB stacks is becoming well known and the alternative provided by best of breed SOA gateways with their out of box support for existing enterprise standards will continue to gain popularity.
Another source of momentum for SOA gateways is the enterprise adoption of cloud computing. As the enterprise gradually moves some of its IT assets from on-premise to a cloud-based deployment model (SAAS, PAAS or IAAS), the requirement for integration between these IT assets does not simply vanish. Integrating your IT assets is as important in 2011 as it was back when they were all deployed in your own domain. Cloud computing adoption is currently limited by the ability of the enterprise to securely integrate on-premise and off-premise. And what better way is there to enable this secure integration than perimeter deployed SOA gateways? The SOA gateway acts as the glue between your on-premise IT assets and external services that they interact with. Concretely, this means support for federation and trust management. Your SOA gateway at the perimeter is enabling the trust management for the various external domains you interact with and presents a homogenous identity authority on behalf of your existing services. Utilizing the federation capabilities of SOA gateways with support for SAML, OAuth and other relevant standards is increasingly recognized as a winning pattern for integrating enterprise and cloud.