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BEA adds real-time platform

BEA Systems, continuing its effort to broaden its product portfolio, took the wraps off of its much-anticipated Liquid Data for WebLogic product last week. Designed to allow a business to exchange data and information across a range of applications on its network, the Liquid Data product offers the promise of real-time, universal data access.

Michele Rosen, research manager at analyst firm IDC, said the offering could provide an oft-promised-by-many-firms but mostly undelivered platform for building standards-based applications that can deliver to managers real-time answers to operations questions.

The XML-based Liquid Data is designed to give workers ''integrated views'' of enterprise data, and to facilitate the exchange of information across a range of applications on the company network. For example, it allows workers to search across corporate networks for e-mail, documents and spreadsheets related to a specific project. The product provides real-time access to databases, XML files, Web applications, integration adapters and others, BEA officials said.

The San Jose, Calif.-based application infrastructure software maker is promoting the product as a solution to long-standing information integration problems. By minimizing the complexity of data aggregation within distributed systems, Liquid Data is said to allow users to access composite views of information, and enable applications and business processes to share common data. As a result, businesses can create real-time views of product information or develop a single view of the customer for service representatives or self-service portals.

BEA has been struggling to expand beyond the flooded app server business over the past couple of years. In addition to the Liquid Data toolset, BEA this year brought out a portal server and an integration server.

The company is first targeting financial services firms with branch offices, online services and call centers with the new real-time offering. Observers note that a dependence on older proprietary, batch-oriented data warehousing software has badly hurt efforts by such firms to build consistent, real-time customer service systems.

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young is the first marquee name to make the BEA Liquid Data for WebLogic customer list. The global systems integrator has agreed to support the product with training, education and co-marketing activities, according to BEA reps.

The product has started shipping as an add-on to BEA WebLogic Enterprise Platform 7.0, BEA WebLogic Integration 7.0 and BEA WebLogic Portal 7.0. The tool is priced at about $25,000 per CPU.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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