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December 6, 2009

Commercial middleware reduces cost and risk, says Embedded Market Forecasters

Over half use in-house roll your own middleware offerings

By CBR Staff Writer

Middleware selection can have an impact on the project cost, timeliness, risk and performance, according to market intelligence and advisory firm Embedded Market Forecasters.

The Embedded Market Forecasters report is based on a sample of 166 developers that identified themselves as communication middleware users (out of 476 total survey respondents). The total cost of application development for each project was estimated by multiplying the average development project time to market by the software development team size and average monthly industry cost per developer.

The study showed that slightly over half or 55.6% used in-house roll your own middleware offerings and the remainder comprised commercial communication middleware users, including both embedded and IT communication middleware products. Applications included avionics, automotive, medical, telecom, datacom, electronic instrumentation, industrial automation, military and consumer electronics, among others.

The advisory firm said that the commercial communications middleware consists of embedded vendors and IT middleware vendors selling into the embedded space. There is a difference in the comparative data; however, for purposes of this study they were combined under the commercial category as they together comprise the market.

According to the report, the average cost of application development was substantial for projects using RYO middleware ($1.61m), most commercial offerings ($1.34m) and OIS ($1.49m); while projects using RTI reported lower costs ($0.89m); the average cost overrun was similar for projects using RYO (11.3%) and commercial (10.1%) middleware. 

In addition to comparing the results of commercial and in-house, roll your own middleware, EMF also compared the results of these two categories with vendors of embedded integration middleware, objective interface systems.

In projects where the cost of testing was less than 30% of the total development cost, RYO (72.5%) showed an advantage over commercial (65.5%) middleware and final design outcomes using commercial embedded middleware in general and RTI were closer to pre-design expectations than RYO developments for performance, functionality, features and schedule.

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Jerry Krasner, embedded industry expert, said: “Middleware choice can have a critical impact on development costs, schedules, risk and performance. Developers are challenged by projects that are increasingly complex, with ever-shrinking market windows and increased support requirements.

“While RYO developers often believe that they can develop their middleware at a lower cost or with higher performance than commercial middleware, this study indicates otherwise. They and cost-conscious company management alike should strongly consider the advantages of commercial communication integration middleware and the embedded offerings of OIS and RTI in particular.”

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