how important is middleware?

Imagine hosting a party where you invited many people. All of them speak different languages, and none understand the others. You are the only one that can understand and speak all of the languages. To have a successful party, and to be a good host, you’d have to fill the role of translators so everyone can communicate with one another.

Middleware is exactly like that - it enables multiple systems to communicate with each other across different platforms. Some leverages it at Enterprise level involving larger number of applications, while some is on a smaller scale. Middleware is important because it makes synergy and integration across those applications possible.

Major trends around cloud, mobile, and software as a service (SaaS) are dramatically changing the requirements and benefits of application integration.

The term is most commonly used for software that enables communication and management of data in distributed applications. An IETF workshop in 2000 defined middleware as "those services found above the transport (i.e., over TCP/IP) layer set of services but below the application environment" (i.e., below application-level APIs). In this more specific sense middleware can be described as the dash ("-") in client-server, or the -to- in peer-to-peer.[citation needed] Middleware includes web servers, application servers, content management systems, and similar tools that support application development and delivery.

In many respects, the emphasis now on building hybrid business processes from a variety of far-flung sources forces a rethinking of integration and middleware. Integration capabilities themselves often need to be services in order to support a growing universe of internal and external constituent business process component services.

And increasingly, integration needs to be ingrained in applications services, with the costs and complexity hidden. This means that more people can exploit and leverage integration, without being integration technology experts. It means that the applications providers are also the integration providers. It also means the stand-alone integration technology supplier business -- and those that buy from it -- are facing a new reality.