Don Linstedt has been watching something that I think I should be watching, and that is the emergence of appliances into the enterprise applications space.
Every so often a future suggestion that I've discussed (made by more than just me) actually happens. Now I'm not the kind of guy to normally say "I told you so." However on this occasion, I feel it's important to announce that the market is changing, dramatically - and that software vendors NEED TO TAKE NOTE!!! EAI is now available in plug-and-play appliance format. In this entry we'll discuss what this means, and how it will affect ETL/ELT, EII, and EIEIO (old Mac Donald had an appliance... E-I-E-I-O).
Cast Iron Systems announced in 2006 their EAI appliance. They've made some incredible enhancements, and were recently reviewed again: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/01/26/05TCcastiron_1.html?APPLICATION+DEVELOPMENT
While the review was neither favorable nor unfavorable, it highlights an important point I've been making about appliances: they will become a combination of hardware and software vendors, specifically ETL/ELT and hardware, EII and hardware, EAI and hardware, and eventually BI and hardware will hook up. Why not? Hardware increases sales, increases price points - at the same time, it can increase ease of use.
He's right. And moreover if these appliances work as advertised, then they will be the counterbalancing force to the ever increasing complexity of tiered services. That means IT can take control where it was losing ground to complexity and simplify at the same time.
My experience is telling me that IT is having increasingly difficult times managing all of the tiers required for the web-centric enterprise. When a repository is not on the same subnet as an application server which is located somewhere else than authentication, stuff gets crazy and nobody wants to debug that. We get a cascade of bouncing servers because the people who installed whatever ear file aren't around any longer or nobody quite knows why some rows are locked in a database whose name doesn't really explain which application is using it. Let's not even get into the prodigious number of bot users which administer tasks for each and every one of the applications dancing in unison. It has been a nightmare, and because of that nightmare I had predicted that more and more companies will find SaaS an increasingly irresistable option.
This appliance technology promises plug and play enterprise applications and that's even more irresistable, especially as vendors collaborate. I'm excited.