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Middleware is a software architecture concept that refers to integration of disparate applications to facilitate reliable communication.  Middleware frequently relies on encapsulating inter-application communications in the concept of an “message”, and often has the ability to queue or perform optimized delivery or copying of messages to various applications.

Common types of middleware include EAI (“Enterprise Application Integration”) middleware such as ESB (“Enterprise Service Bus”) or the older MOM (“Message-Oriented Middleware”).

File transfer applications are themselves often used as middleware, helping to facilitate bulk data transfers between applications using standards such as FTP.  Managed file transfers often include the ability to perform some intelligent routing of data and sensitivity to particular transmission windows set by the business.