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Once upon a time, I couldn’t do without my middleware. To make my application resilient and scalable, and to allow it to talk to everything else in the enterprise, I had no choice but to stand up an ESB in my architecture. It was literally in the middle of everything I did. Then, when I moved to the cloud, my world began to change.

First, my middleware could not scale fast enough to support millions of new Internet users. To help, my PaaS vendors started giving me infinitely scalable databases and file-systems that came with their own resiliency fabrics. My application development frameworks and SaaS providers made it a snap for me to stand up RESTful interfaces to any bit of code. Then, the microservice was born, enterprise interoperability had a standard, and life seemed easy.

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One-by-one, the functions of my traditional middleware were subsumed by these cloud services. And more and more, my middleware seemed to move toward the edge. Was it “Edgeware?” API Gateway sounds better.  This API Gateway now acted as a single entry point for clients to consume my microservices––allowing the enforcement of SLA tiers, throttling, rate limiting, client ID protection, and so on.

Working in tandem with my traditional ESB for process orchestration and legacy connectivity, my API Gateway allowed me to compose and expose full stack microservices.

Now as I look now at this rapidly expanding landscape of APIs and microservices, a new set of challenges is emerging. Less integration; more governance and discovery. This translates to the need for a service-mesh that operates at the microservice layer, rather than the network or application layer. Goodbye application delivery; hello application network!

My application network can discover, circuit break, timeout and dynamically route at the service level. Alongside managing all these services, my apps now generate huge amounts of observational data that I need to combine in real-time with my traditional transactional data to deliver insight. By leveraging core application network services such as streaming, eternal queues and distributed ledgers,  and event sourcing, I can now handle all my transactional data and reporting data with one runtime framework.

A new middleware is born, long live the application network!

To learn more, download our whitepaper: The Application Network.