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BEA launches SOA kick-start kit

BEA Systems is characterizing a new high-end version of its WebLogic Server -- the BEA WebLogic Server Process Edition, which begins shipping today -- as the convergence of business process management (BPM) and service-oriented application development.

"It has this unique combination of functionality that reflects what customers have been telling us they want to do in starting down the road to service-oriented development," Peter Linkin, BEA's senior director of product marketing, told eADT. "You could think of it as a Service-Oriented Architecture [SOA] kick-start kit."

The result of the combo, explained Herain Oberoi, BEA's product marketing manager, is what BEA calls "process-driven application development. Applications are typically driven by business requirements," he explained. "Processes happen to be a very good way of defining and automating those business requirements. Almost any application that is automating some kind of business requirement and has a process doing it is a process-driven application. The format for developing in that is what we call 'process-driven development.'

"What became obvious to us was that a lot of our existing application server users -- the guys building apps, not the EAI guys -- had started seeing tremendous value in the BPM or process-engine side of things," Oberoi added. "They saw that they could use this process engine to build a business-level service or a horizontal service that spans a lot of these finer-grained controls or services. And they saw that the engine would take care of a lot of the low-level plumbing and the difficult architectural things that they would have had to build from scratch."

BEA WebLogic Server Process Edition provides service enablement, service orchestration and composite application development from a single IDE running on a unified runtime architecture. "It is basically providing developers with the framework and the tools to help them with a process-driven approach," Oberoi said. "It's inherently the right framework for them to develop in that model."

"Our customers have told us that their developers get the point about making a more service-oriented abstraction to the applications, which means, essentially, breaking things down to a bit more modularity and granularity, and then rearranging and orchestrating those pieces up to a higher level," added Linkin. "That model -- that architecture -- is pretty much a best practice principle for going SOA. This release is addressing this intersection of process-driven development resulting in Service-Oriented Applications, which is a key way of getting a jump start on doing SOA."

First announced at the eWorld conference in May, WebLogic Server Process Edition is part of BEA's Liquid Computing initiative for improving IT responsiveness from "months-to-minutes." Liquid Computing is an SOA-based approach to IT that focuses on business integration to reduce the complexity of enterprise computing.

BEA WebLogic Server Process Edition is available starting today for $27,000 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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