Companies are ready to start spending again on application infrastructure and middleware as the recession eases, according to the latest figures from Gartner.
The analyst firm said that worldwide revenues in the sector had risen by just under three per cent to $15.9bn (£10.3bn), up from $15.5bn (£10bn) the year before.
"All factors considered, the application infrastructure and middleware market performed better than most software segments in 2009," said Fabrizio Biscotti, a research director at Gartner.
"As far as growth rates are concerned, 2009 was the worst year ever for application infrastructure and middleware spending. The increasing adoption of open source has hit commercial revenues."
Biscotti explained that the sector had seen strong drivers for sales, including increased adoption of service-orientated architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) software.
"The market has remained positive, unlike most software segments, where revenues have generally declined," he said.
Five vendors account for just under 60 per cent of all application infrastructure and middleware spending (IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Software AG and Tibco) and IBM has by far the biggest share at 31.5 per cent.
The fastest growing areas are SOA, message-orientated middleware, appliances and BPM suites.
Companies in North America and Western Europe are the most likely to make purchases, but Oracle's acquisition of BEA had a profound effect on Asia-Pacific customers where it had been a "significant vendor".
Asheesh Raina, lead analyst for application infrastructure and middleware in Asia-Pacific at Gartner, suggested that other consolidation initiatives had resulted in a similar impact.
"The same stood for Sun Microsystems since the announcement of the acquisition by Oracle in 2009, because organisations in the region had been using Sun offerings for quite some time," he said.
"The uncertainty surrounding the outcome has driven potential or undecided customers to further delay purchases."
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