After 24 years, Tuxedo hides its age well and even manages to add SALT features in version 10, released this week.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

October 2, 2007

2 Min Read

The venerable Tuxedo transaction processing monitor is 24 years old. It's survived the decline of the mainframe, witnessed the rise of client/server computing, and is still working hard behind the scenes with the flowering of the Internet.

On Tuesday, at BEA's user group meeting in Barcelona, it's being issued in Version 10 with new features for service-oriented architecture. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

It anticipated service-oriented architecture before there was any Web services-style architecture to invoke. It cut across systems without knowing much about them, in a loosely coupled sort of way. It stored messages in queues, awaiting the moment when the recipient was ready to receive them, also known as the Web's asynchronous communications.

It was invented inside Bell Labs in 1983 to solve AT&T's multisystem transaction processing problems. It was then spun out as part of Unix Systems Labs. USL was purchased by Novell in 1993 and BEA bought Tuxedo from Novell in 1995. It remains an active product in the graying world of Unix software. It's the transaction processing monitor that captured and moved those transactions that weren't already taking place on the IBM mainframe. Its competitors include Encina (now part of IBM), Top End (acquired by BEA in 1998 and phased out as an actively offered product, according to Zois, a transaction processing consultancy), Open UTM (still supplied by Fujitsu Siemens), and UniKix (now offered by Celerity Solutions).

So how is Tuxedo rejuvenating itself?

As a message passing system, it can now invoke Secure Sockets Layer encryption so that messages traveling between two nodes on the network can't be sniffed or altered.

Its ability to connect to C, C++, C#, and Cobol applications allows parts of those programs to be extended as services and linked to other services in composite applications, says Lorenzo Cremona, director of Tuxedo marketing.

BEA is adding SALT, or Services Architecture Leveraging Tuxedo, providing bi-directional Web services support for legacy applications to its Tuxedo product set.

And it's adding Tuxedo System and Application Monitor to monitor application response times and make meeting service level agreements more predictable. Tuxedo 10, SALT, and TSAM are available immediately. Cremona declined to name representative pricing.

There's no such thing as a software hall of fame, but Tuxedo is second only to the mainframe systems, such as IBM's CICS transaction processing monitor, in terms of longevity. BEA says it has 2,400 Tuxedo customers, including many large financial and telecommunications companies. And Tuxedo is showing no let up in its desire to be an alternative to and replace some of those mainframe systems.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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