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BEA launches WebLogic ISV edition

BEA Systems this week unveiled a specialized version of its WebLogic platform aimed at ISVs. The WebLogic Platform ISV Edition is an integrated application platform suite (APS) designed to enable BEA's partners to meet growing customer demand for Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs).

Available to ISVs who are part of BEA's "partner ecosystem," the new offering ties together several BEA technologies, including WebLogic app server, WebLogic Workshop Java IDE, JRockit JVM, and versions of BEA WebLogic Portal and BEA WebLogic Integration. Portal functionality allows developers to enhance product usability and an integrated user interface; the integration technology helps with development and deployment of process-driven, service-oriented applications.

The product package is the latest to emerge from BEA's "liquid computing" strategy, which was unveiled earlier this year, says Bobby Napiltonia, VP and GM of the worldwide channels and alliances group.

"This [product package] dovetails with our overarching channel strategy," Napiltonia says, "which is to broaden and deepen our relationship with our partners. Those partners have been expressing a strong desire for well-integrated middleware that allows them to focus on what's important to them -- their applications and business processes, not all the enabling technologies around them."

In particular, the ISV Edition helps vendors to jump-start their SOA initiatives, notes Robert Flannigan, technology strategist in BEA's worldwide channels and alliances group.

"When you look at [SOA], it's a new twist on an old theme," Flannigan says. "It involves both reuse and the composition of business processes for a higher-value integrated application. When BEA first went to market with a truly integrated APS [WebLogic platform enterprise edition, released a year ago], it addressed those needs of SOA. That's what's behind the ISV edition. You can think of it as a superset of the standard app server but with the addition of the core functionality to address the SOA wave, which is cresting right now."

As defined by Gartner, an APS has three key pieces of technology: an enterprise app server, an integration server or broker technology, and a portal server or user-interface integration technology.

WebLogic Platform ISV Edition is not general-purpose, full-use middleware, Flannigan explains. It is meant to be an off-the-shelf runtime environment for packaged applications from BEA's partners.

BEA's partner ecosystem consists of ISVs who write to the platform, system integrators who deploy it, distributors and value-added resellers. Topping the list of early adopters of the product (which was soft launched to selected partners about a week ago) are Hewlett-Packard, Veritas, EMC Documentum and Cyclone Commerce.

These are volatile times at BEA. Recent high-level executive departures grabbed headlines and prompted Gartner analysts to warn its customers against any new, large-scale investments in BEA products until things settle down. A month earlier, however, Gartner listed BEA in the coveted Leaders Quadrant of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for application platform suites.

BEA reports a rise in earnings and revenue for the quarter that ended July 31 ($262 million, a 7% increase over last year). Although those numbers fail to meet original projections, they are at the high end of BEA's adjusted forecast. However, licensing revenue, which is considered an indicator of financial health, slipped during that period (down to $116 million from $127 million a year ago, and from $120 million in the first quarter). And BEA added about 500 customers in the quarter.

WebLogic Platform ISV Edition is available for $17,000 per CPU (the same price as WebLogic Server Premium) for ISVs with a channel license agreement with the company.

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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