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"What we've done over the years as we've introduced new products is allowed a bit too much divergence," said Scott Dietzen, chief technology officer of BEA, speaking at BEA's eWorld conference. "We're committed to tidying things up so that they taste and smell like one product from top to bottom."
Besides its flagship application server, BEA's products include a portal server, an integration server and its forthcoming Workshop developer framework. By the middle of the year the company plans to release WebLogic Platform Edition 7.0, which will let customers buy those products in a single suite for the first time.
Customers will be able to install the products together in a single deployment. BEA is also standardising toolbars and other features to create a familiar environment for users across its products.
The long-term goal is to provide a single management console for tuning and maintaining its various products after deployment, Dietzen said.
"Providing a single management infrastructure is the hardest thing," he said. "WebLogic 7 gets halfway (to offering a unified suite) but it won't all taste and smell the same immediately."
Presenting a unified platform is important for BEA as it does battle with rivals IBM, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. Its various products will continue to be sold separately, but it hopes that companies will deploy multiple BEA products to run their distributed applications.
The vendor is also addressing concerns about how it distributes new features and service packs. The company will move to a calendar-based model, releasing upgrades to its products in six-month cycles.
When BEA released patches and upgrades in the past, they often were not tested against all BEA products. However, Dietzen pledged: "Service packs will be tested against all Web services products at once".