BEA unveils products to build, manage SOAs

Von Heather Havenstein

BEA Systems Inc. this week unveiled technology to help enterprises build and manage service-oriented architectures (SOA). Executives compared the launch of the AquaLogic line of new and rebranded products to the long-ago introduction of the company"s mainstay, but aging, Tuxedo transaction processing system and WebLogic application server product lines.

The AquaLogic Service Bus, Data Services Platform (a rebranded Liquid Data), Enterprise Security and Service Registry offerings can provide messaging, Web services management and security to ease the flow of services, BEA said. The tools are targeted at architects and application specialists rather than developers.

"Application infrastructure (tools) have done a great job of taking applications ... and exposing them as services," said Marge Breya, chief marketing officer at San Jose-based BEA. "Once people get to the point when they want to go from pilot to production for SOA ... they need a more professional, organized scalable infrastructure to discover the services (and) manage the service."

Accredited Home Lenders Inc. in San Francisco has been using an SOA since the beginning of the year to help transform its business model from traditional mortgage lending to a self-service model where brokers can submit loan applications, get pricing and receive approval online, said CIO Jim Pathman.

Accredited Home Lenders has been a beta user of the AquaLogic Data Services and enterprise service bus products. Pathman relies on the data services platform to extract data from legacy applications at run-time and use it in other applications. That can be done without having to make the legacy application a Web service.

The service bus allows the company to ease the integration of Web services without having to write code in the header of each service to tie them together, he said. Previously, "if we made a change on any of the legacy systems, ... we"d have to go back to the header and recode," Pathman said.

Shawn Willett, an analyst at Current Analysis Inc. in Sterling, Va., said BEA needs a "second act to restart growth" now that the core application server market has leveled.

The new line must add capabilities to meet that requirement, he said, arguing that first and foremost the AquaLogic products must become stand-alone technologies that don"t depend on other BEA offerings, especially WebLogic.

"(The service bus) runs on the (WebLogic) application server -- it is embedded in there," he said. "It needs to be more detached. They need better support for services running on .Net or the mainframe."

All of the new BEA products either are available now or will be available this summer.