BEA brings WebLogic 7 to market

BEA Systems' latest upgrade to its suite of middleware products, WebLogic Platform 7.0, will go on sale this week. The company...

BEA Systems' latest upgrade to its suite of middleware products, WebLogic Platform 7.0, will go on sale this week. The company has also announced a partnership with Hewlett-Packard that may shed light on HP's own middleware plans.

The application software company BEA has pitched WebLogic Platform 7.0 as a more unified environment for developing and deploying e-business applications. For the first time, customers will be able to purchase and install BEA's application server, portal server and integration server, which are all included in the suite, from a single CD or download, Mark Carges, president of BEA's enterprise framework division, said.

Updates and patches will also be released together as part of an effort to address criticisms from some BEA customers who have said installing a patch for one product can disrupt other software from the vendor that is already up and running. Providing patches and updates for all its products simultaneously should fix this issue, company officials have said.

WebLogic Platform 7.0 also includes the first commercial release of WebLogic Workshop, a developer framework that has been compared to Microsoft's Visual Basic. The product includes visual modelling tools designed to let developers who are not experts in J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) play a role in developing Web services. Also known by its code name, Cajun, the product was first detailed earlier this year.

The announcements were made at BEA's eWorld Europe developer conference, which takes place in Paris.

BEA and IBM each held about one third of the application server market in 2001, according to recent figures from Dataquest, with Sun, Oracle and others battling over the remainder. IBM began 2001 with a smaller share of the market than BEA, however, and attracted new licence revenue at a rate three times greater than that of BEA, said Dataquest, a unit of Gartner.

BEA's position should be helped by an expansion to its relationship with HP which was also announced Tuesday. The companies will jointly market BEA's software across all of HP's operating systems including HP-UX, OpenVMS, NonStop Kernel and Tru64 Unix, as well as Windows and Linux, the companies said.

HP will become a preferred strategic systems integrator for BEA with a dedicated team of BEA-certified consultants, and HP-UX will become BEA's first enterprise-class Unix operating system supported by Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor, the companies said.

The deal may help to shed some light on HP's own middleware plans. The company disclosed to financial analysts earlier this month that it would "retire" its money-losing middleware products, which include the application server acquired two years ago from Bluestone Software.

BEA's WebLogic Platform 7.0 will be priced at $90,000 (£59,890) per processor, including WebLogic Server 7.0, WebLogic Portal 7.0, WebLogic Integration 7.0 and WebLogic Workshop, the company said. That compares to $117,000 (£78,000) if customers were to pay list prices and acquire the products separately.

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