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BEA Unveils SOA Infrastructure Platform

BEA Systems has unveiled a software platform for building service-oriented architectures, reflecting a trend among infrastructure vendors to provide as many tools as possible to companies adopting the standards-based form of distributed computing.
BEA Systems on Tuesday unveiled a software platform for building service-oriented architectures, reflecting a trend among infrastructure vendors to provide as many tools as possible to companies adopting the standards-based form of distributed computing.

SOA 360 spans three product families -- Tuxedo, WebLogic and AquaLogic -- and presents what the company says is a "unified SOA platform," which also includes a collaborative development environment called WorkSpace 360, and support and education services. The platform was unveiled at the company's BEAWorld user conference in San Francisco.

Infrastructure vendors are buying or developing technology to meet growing customer demand for a larger set of tools for building SOAs, which are loosely coupled networks of applications for automating business processes. Software functionality is exposed through interfaces based on Web service standards.

Besides BEA, Oracle, WebMethods and Mercury, which is now part of Hewlett-Packard Co., have also taken steps toward bolstering their SOA infrastructure platforms, Ronald Schmelzer, analyst for ZapThink LLC, said.

"BEA is making the right moves with respect to fleshing out their platform, as well as their professional services capabilities," Schmelzer said in an email. "While BEA's work is not done in consolidating and improving the strength and competitiveness of their offerings, BEA 360 represents this latest trend in SOA evolution towards a complete 'stack' of product, processes, professional services, and methodologies."

SOA 360 is built on what BEA calls its event-driven "microServices Architecture" that uses notification services to publish and discover modular components within a SOA. BEA's goal is to have all its products leverage the MSA by the end of 2008.

As part of the platform launch, BEA, based in San Jose, Calif., unveiled upgrades to key components, including the Aqualogic Data Service Platform, which provides a unified view of data within an SOA. In addition, BEA released the AquaLogic Enterprise Repository, which is a re-branding of the Flashline metadata repository acquired by BEA last month.

BEA also released an upgrade of the Services Architecture Leveraging Tuxedo, or SALT, which is designed to allow applications based on the transaction-processing monitor to be exposed as services within an SOA.

For automated SOA support, BEA plans to release in December the Guardian Pre-Emptive Support Service, an integrated maintenance tool that scans and analyzes domains for potential troubles.

Finally, WorkSpace 360 is BEA's recognition that SOAs go beyond the IT department, and involve implementing business processes often governed by corporate rules and government regulations. The collaborative tool environment makes it possible to bring into the development process business analysts, architects, developers and IT operations professionals.