BEA Presses on with New WebLogic Platform

Clint Boulton

Updated · Mar 03, 2003

BEA Systems Monday
plans to unveil the latest version of its WebLogic Platform, which company
representatives claim will help it vault “two generations of technology
ahead” of the competition.


The San Jose, Calif.-based software maker will draw the curtain on BEA
WebLogic Platform 8.1 at the BEA eWorld 2003 Conference show in Orlando,
Fla. According to BEA Director of Product Marketing John Kiger, the new
iteration of the firm’s flagship platform takes business integration to
another level by bundling integration and application development into a
single platform.


The news bodes well for BEA, looking for more purchase in a business
integration software market that some research firms estimate will amount to
about $10 billion by 2007. Business integration software combines various
functions — such as customer relationship management (CRM) and order
processing — to ensure that business processes flow across a value chain,
and to analyze and monitor the integration of those processes.


This new approach, Kiger told internetnews.com, gives enterprises a
better way to integrate and use applications and Web services — something
he said the likes of IBM and Oracle do not yet offer. The full-fledged
platform features new versions of BEA’s application server, Java virtual
machine, enterprise portal, application development and deployment
environment and software integration.


Kiger said BEA laid the foundation for Monday’s announcement a year ago with
WebLogic 7, which he said was the first product to bundle integration and
application into one product.


“They were based on different technology foundations [before then],” Kiger said. “We
realized we had to integrate infrastructure before getting around to
applications that deliver a unified architecture geared to reduce
complexity.”


The difference between WebLogic and say, a competing product such as IBM’s
WebSphere, he said, was that “IBM primarily has used brand unification of
300 products that are very disparate.” For example, Kiger said, IBM’s
business integration server does not work with the application server. With
WebLogic 8.1, the integration and application server are harmonious.


Kiger argued that BEA now has a competitive advantage with WebLogic 8.1
because it has simplified the development process because there is one
platform to run build tools on and run business processes. For instance, a
developer could build applications and using the same platform, integrate it
with the backend to cut down on development time.


“But with Websphere, the infrastructure is heterogeneous and so are the
tools,” Kiger said, making the crafting of business applications more
taxing. “There are no transferous skills or knowledge involved.”


As for the different pieces of the WebLogic Platform, BEA WebLogic
Integration 8.1 relies on a new architecture for the creation and
integration of applications, business processes and partner trading
communities. Built on the BEA WebLogic Server, it employs a single
architecture that uses the company’s development environment, BEA WebLogic
Workshop, as well as WebLogic Workshop’s runtime framework to supply a high
level of abstraction. What does this do? It makes application development
and integration on the J2EE platform easier and cleaner.


Slated to be one of the first products to support the new Java portlet
standard, JSR 168, for portlet-level development, and the new Java content
repository standard, JSR 170, for content management system integration, BEA
WebLogic Portal 8.1 will provide customers with a portal framework and
business services to ease the production and management of customized
portals.


The aforementioned WebLogic Workshop 8.1 fuses two different methodologies
around integration and application development into a unified model. The
development environment and runtime framework enables customers to base all
IT projects — including development of Web applications, Web services,
portal and integration projects — on one platform, which will make building
and integrating enterprise assets easier.


Last but not least of the pieces of the revamped WebLogic Platform is the WebLogic
Server 8.1, which Kiger said is the first application server to implement
both Web services security and an infrastructure for delivering SOAP
messages, making it more reassuring for companies to build
and use Web services. WebLogic Server 8.1 allows administrators to configure
a cluster in just minutes, whereas other servers may take hours or days.


The BEA Developer Program also has some new additions to the family. dev2dev
Subscriptions is a tiered program and subscription service to sell WebLogic
developer tools and technologies to the developer community. The dev2dev
Subscription Trial Edition gives developers a one-year license to the entire
WebLogic Enterprise Platform for free.


BEA WebLogic 8.1 is available now in beta from the company’s Web site. It is
expected to roll out this summer to the public.


Not to be outdone, IBM Monday also bolstered its business integration wares, adding the modeling and monitor assets of its Holosofx acquisition. In related BEA eWorld conference news, HP was on hand discuss new investments in the its Web Services products by extending its OpenView management tools.

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton

Clint Boulton, a senior writer at CIO, covers IT leadership, digital transformation, and the CIO role. He was a content marketer for Dell APEX. Inspire IT leaders with tales about the advantages of multi-cloud infrastructures. Dunning-Kruger bias is something that keeps IT leaders sceptical, but curious nonetheless.