Vendors Wrestle for App Integration Market

FRAMINGHAM (03/17/2000) - With the application integration market expected to grow year over year, it's no surprise that IBM Corp. plans to beef up the rules engine in its MQSeries Integrator business integration tool and lessen its dependence on components from New Era of Networks Inc. (NEON).

IBM released MQSeries Integrator less than two years ago, and the product quickly assumed a market share lead against competitors like Tibco Software Inc. and Mercator Software Ltd. IBM licensed the rules engine from NEON in Englewood, Colo.

But when Version 2.0 ships next month, it will contain a higher degree of IBM-developed content and business rules. IBM officials said NEON's technology is now just one node in the new version.

"IBM has taken a leadership position in the integration market, but NEON is poised to do extremely well in concert and in competition against IBM," said analyst Susan Eustis at Wintergreen Research Inc. in Lexington, Mass.

According to Wintergreen, IBM quadrupled its share of the integration tools market from 16 million to 67 million units sold last year. The marketing research firm expects that market to increase from $552 million last year to $17 billion by 2006.

IBM customer VF Corp. in Greensboro, N.C., the world's top jeans maker, uses MQ Integrator as the middleware between its legacy manufacturing systems and its SAP AG enterprise resource planning systems, said Carl Choate, vice president of information systems at VF Services.

MQ Integrator acts as the go-between for 20 data inventory transaction inputs from the SAP system and six outbound fulfillment requests in the legacy systems. For example, an SAP-generated fabric-cut order gets routed by MQ Integrator to fabric shop systems, which determine the bale size to fulfill that request.

"The only other option would be to custom develop our own software or the very awkward [file transfer protocol] option," Choate explained. "You have to write files of data on the legacy side, then perform separate operations to do file transfers to SAP. So instead of those two or three steps, it handles all of that and gives us a guaranteed delivery."

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