While the concept of putting middleware in the cloud is still relatively new, it should be remembered that such services are really only a means to a business process end.
That's why it's interesting to see how quickly these services are starting to evolve - most recently in the form of an upgrade to the Dell Boomi cloud computing service that now includes business process integration tools on top of the existing application integration service.
According to Dell Boomi CTO Rick Nucci, the addition of business rules support came as a direct request from existing customers who are using the Dell Boomi service to drive projects that involve complex, multi-step processes.
Dell Boomi isn't the only company to think about driving business process integration into the cloud. But it is making strides in terms of making the capability something that is simple to use and to access as part of a larger Dell effort to simplify the management of IT. That doesn't mean that any end user can just invoke the Dell Boomi service on their own. But it does mean that IT organizations don't have to hire expensive application integration talent to integrate a series of discrete business processes.
According to Nucci, Dell Boomi customers are already using the service to integrate, on average, 11 applications each and the platform itself is being used to support over 600 process executions per day. That would suggest that middleware services in the cloud are starting to come of age, and with that the cost of integrating various applications should no longer be much of an inhibitor to coming up with innovative new business processes. And given the current state of the economy, it's pretty clear that the need for that kind of capability has never been more urgent.