BEA prepares to unveil SOA strategy

BEA Systems is expected to tout its strategy for services-oriented architectures at its BEA eWorld 2004 show in San Francisco...

BEA Systems is expected to tout its strategy for services-oriented architectures at its BEA eWorld 2004 show in San Francisco next week.
While company officials this week have declined to comment, officials previously have acknowledged plans to make a concerted push into SOAs, using BEA’s WebLogic Platform and its Project Sierra strategy for tools. Recent information posted on the company’s website provides insights into BEA’s thinking on SOAs.

“Sharing of services is central to the SOA approach,” said BEA chief information officer Rhonda Hocker. “The ability to rapidly assemble applications or orchestrate processes is based upon the ready availability of some services that can be shared. Sharing of resources by definition requires governance."

Hocker added that switching to SOA will require a significant shift in development style, with a focus on code reuse, noting that SOA interfaces are based on web services and XML.

Java also is on BEA’s SOA to-do list, although BEA acknowledges Java as just one way to implement services.

“Java is important as the most prevalent programming standard for implementing services” said Hocker. “The scale and skills of the Java community guarantee that plenty of high quality skills will be available to build SOAs.”

An enterprise service bus, which would provide messaging services in an SOA, is likely to be part of BEA’s plan as well.

Hewlett-Packard will be prominent at eWorld, focusing on SOAs as well as on “business agility. Knowledge network provider The Middleware Company, for its part, says it will, in conjunction with BEA, unveil technologies and resources to assist developers in building SOAs and service-oriented applications.

BEA must play in the SOA game because customers are latching onto the concept, seeking to expose applications as services as opposed to using proprietary, synchronous connections, said Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Current Analysis. “Almost all enterprise customers say this is a direction they want to go.”

The company’s SOA strategy will accommodate other suppliers’ technologies, according to Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink.

“First, they are really shifting their strategy from a story that SOAs will be running on the BEA system to the opposite - BEA systems running on SOAs that might or might not be BEA-based,” Schmelzer said.

“As a result, the company will be seeking to integrate with systems that are non-BEA-based and extending the WebLogic value proposition to non-developers.”

BEA’s recent financial reports indicate the company may need to diversify its revenue sources. While the company reported total revenues of $262.6m for the quarter ending 30 April, an increase of 11% from the same quarter of last year, licence revenues were down 2%, to $120.2m, from the same period a year ago.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld

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