SOA Report: BEAWorld Brings New Initiatives

The summer break is no longer holding back companies from talking about their latest service-oriented architecture (SOA) initiatives. Last week, a number of SOA products, contracts and partnerships were announced.

BEA Systems had plenty to say about SOA at its BEAWorld event last week. For starters, the company is now offering its AquaLogic Registry Repository 3.0 product, which combines governance and registry functions into a single solution. The product can trace an organization's services and assets, enabling centralized management of various application components in an SOA.

BEA plans to release its WebLogic Server version 10.3 in the next six months. The Java Enterprise Edition 5-based application server will support Web 2.0 applications as well as BEA's microService Architecture approach. The microService Architecture is BEA's way of making the server more open and extensible for third-party development. WebLogic Server 10.3 will feature lightweight options for installation to increase performance and speed. The server will be interoperable with Microsoft.NET as well as Java SE 6, SAML 2 and Spring 2.1.

BEA has been enhancing its SOA product virtualization capabilities. Early next year, the company plans to release components of its Enterprise 360 offering as virtual appliances that can be run using VMware Infrastructure. The first components to feature this virtualization capability will be WebLogic Portal and AquaLogic Service Bus. BEA has also conducted virtualization product tests with Intel. According to an announcement issued by BEA, the company's LiquidVM, which is part of the WebLogic Server Virtual Edition, "runs Java over two times more efficiently than using the normal OS-based software stack on VMware Infrastructure." The WebLogic Server Virtual Edition is currently available.

BEA also introduced a new instance-based pricing model that takes account of virtualization. Under this plan, customers will pay for actual software usage. It won't be based on the traditional per-CPU formula. The policy enables customers to pay the same price even if they run the software using multicore CPUs on a virtual machine using several physical servers.

BEA plans to help business speed up application delivery within the enterprise through an initiative code-named "Genesis." Few details were given, but the initiative aims to converge "SOA, business process management and enterprise social computing." It will let users and IT "assemble, change and deploy dynamic business applications," according to an announcement issued by the company.

BEA also announced a couple of partnerships last week -- with Adobe and EnterConnect -- that are briefly described toward the end of this article.

Infor's Open SOA
Infor plans to add SOA-based interoperability to its enterprise solutions through incremental upgrades as part of its Open SOA effort. Using Infor Open SOA, users can combine Infor ERP SL, Infor Enterprise Asset Management Enterprise Edition and Infor SRM SupplyWEB applications. The integrated suite helps better enable manufacturing process operations, supplier collaboration and asset tracking. In mid-2008, Infor plans to roll out dynamic and configurable AJAX-based Web pages to present data from multiple systems in a mashup. The first generation of this dynamic home page app is currently available in Infor ERP LN. In other news, Infor has partnered with IBM Global Services, which plans to become a worldwide reseller of Infor ERP LN after an initial launch in the North American market.

Software AG's SOA Upgrade
Software AG released version 7.1 of its webMethods SOA product suite. The upgrade features the debut of a new enterprise service bus called webMethods ESB that helps integrate disparate IT assets. Software AG also enhanced the solution's business process management functionality with simulation capabilities. Users can test proposed business processes before implementing them. The company also improved its business activity monitoring solution, adding better support for applications such as supply chain management.

SOA Contracts
Intelligent Chaos, a division of EMS Consulting, was named in January as the exclusive provider of SOA solutions to Northwestern University, based in Evanston, Ill. The company plans to use various software systems to replace the university's financial systems. Intelligent Chaos currently serves about "28 percent of the largest universities," according to an announcement issued by the company.

Tibco Software was selected by the UK's Environment Agency to help with compliance support. Tibco will serve as agency's technology partner as part of a three-year initiative centered on the agency's Modernizing Regulation Program. Tibco's business process management and SOA software will support a shared infrastructure to better enable permitting and compliance activities by the agency.

SOA Testing
dynaTrace Software, a provider of performance diagnostics software that works across Java and .NET applications, has released the next version of its tracking solution that can diagnose problems in distributed SOA environments. dynaTrace Diagnostics 2.5 can follow individual transactions across various servers, according to Bernd Greifeneder, dynaTrace's CEO, in a press release. The new version adds support for "JBoss remoting, JAX-WS (Web Services), and MSMQ (Messaging)," he added.

iTKO has added user interface testing features to its LISA SOA test product that lets users test rich browser-based Web 2.0 applications. Testers can record the performance dynamic Web applications that use Java applets, AJAX, and widgets created using Swing and AWT technologies. In other iTKO news, Raytheon has incorporated iTKO's solution in its Federated Development Certification Environment to validate SOA components for the U.S. Department of Defense. iTKO also recently sponsored an Aberdeen Research Report called "SOA and Web Services Testing: How Different Can It Be?" The report, which is available here, surveyed more than 240 end users to examine the best-in-class practices of companies.

SOA Partnerships
Adobe Systems and BEA Systems have inked a marketing and product distribution agreement centered on enabling rich Internet application development for the enterprise. BEA will bundle Adobe Flex Builder 2 software with BEA Workshop Studio to support enterprise mashup applications. The bundled product is expected by year end. For its part, Adobe will distribute licenses for BEA's WebLogic Server, which will be bundled with Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite software. This bundled offering is expected to ship in early 2008.

EnterConnect, a deployer of intranets and extranets for businesses, has gone into the software-as-a-service business in partnership with BEA Systems. EnterConnect launched a new portal that aims to help ISVs distribute their SaaS applications to mid-market businesses. For its part, BEA will enable the portal through its enterprise infrastructure software, including the use of BEA AquaLogic and WebLogic products. ISVs can join the Charter Partner Program, starting this month. More information on the partner program is available by sending an e-mail to EnterConnect.

PMOLink, based in Mandeville, La., has formed a partnership with Basel, Switzerland-based E2E Technologies Ltd. to distribute E2E's enterprise service bus product in the U.S. market. The E2E Bridge uses modeling technology to integrate applications in an SOA. E2E's solution will enable PMOLink to "accelerate process integration and large-scale SOA integration initiatives" for its business and government clients.

Skyway Software formed a partnership with BEA Systems. Under the deal, Skyway has integrated its modeling tool with the BEA AquaLogic Registry Repository. Services that are modeled and created in Skyway Visual Workspace now can be maintained automatically via BEA's lifecycle governance solution for SOAs. Skyway's tool lets end users visually set up business requirements and then develop and deploy the software from the model.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.