App servers in battle for OEMs
- By Peter Bochner
OEM deals have gained in significance for application server maker BEA
Systems since it first brought the WebLogic server on the scene. The company
will often herald its position as an independent app server vendor vs. database
and applications house Oracle, as it pursues bigger and bigger deals with ERP
and CRM stalwarts such as PeopleSoft Inc.
PeopleSoft, based in Pleasanton, Calif., became an OEM of BEA Systems in 1996
when it began embedding the Tuxedo transaction server in its enterprise
application software suite.
PeopleSoft made the deal because 'we wanted to allow our customers to take
full advantage of the standardization that the Internet was bringing,' said
Paola Lubet, vice president of PeopleTools product marketing. Six years later,
PeopleSoft continues to private-label Tuxedo, embedding the transaction managing
software into its solutions 'to be sure that the power of the applications skies
high,' she noted.
In September 2001, the relationship between the two companies deepened when
PeopleSoft began embedding WebLogic into the Version 8 offering of its
enterprise application suite. 'That [deal marked] our recognition of the
underlying infrastructure of the Internet,' said Lubet. She claims PeopleSoft
was one of the first major application software companies to provide recognition
of open J2EE standards, and the fact that other companies are now entering into
similar agreements with application server providers 'proves we made the right
decision,' said Lubet.
Coupling WebLogic with PeopleSoft's Internet architecture provides a strong
cost-of-ownership argument to potential customers 'because the work is already
done for them,' explained Lubet. 'It's a pure Internet architecture. The
customer doesn't need to install anything on the client machine. Everything is
accessible from the browser. You don't need to train users.'
According to Lubet, PeopleSoft never considered building its own application
server. 'We rely on the Internet infrastructure giants for those things,' she
said. 'Our business is to leverage our business process expertise and bring a
total solution to market that provides real value to our customers.'
In March 2002, PeopleSoft entered a similar deal to offer IBM's WebSphere.
Today, PeopleSoft customers can select either WebLogic or WebSphere as their
application server, with the choice most likely determined by their in-house
expertise. 'A heavy IBM shop would probably choose to go with WebSphere,' said
PepleSoft's Lubet. (Support for the app server portion of the suite is provided
by the app server vendor, she noted.)
According to Lubet, since adding the WebSphere option, PeopleSoft sees no
slowdown in demand for WebLogic. Although she would not provide a sales
breakdown by product, she said PeopleSoft currently has 'close to 1,000
customers who are using our suite with an application server.'
PeopleSoft's application suite is based on a three-tier model. At the bottom
is the application server infrastructure. Over that is PeopleSoft's own
application development platform. The applications themselves reside on top.
To read ADT's special report on BEA software strategies, go to http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6562
and read 'What's behind BEA's big bet on tools?'.