BEA Systems chairman and chief executive officer Alfred Chuang unveiled the company's "Liquid Computing" vision for building service-oriented architectures that are responsive to rapid changes in IT needs at the BEA eWorld 2004 conference in San Francisco.
Chuang's keynote speech touched briefly on two development efforts: Project QuickSilver, which provides message-brokering for SOAs, and Alchemy, to boost mobile computing.
BEA also unveiled WebLogic Server Process Edition, a version of the company's application server intended to converge capabilities of application development and BPM (business process management) in building SOAs.
SOAs provide for rapid changes in IT infrastructure through use of composite applications and services, and through connectivity concepts such as web services. SOAs, according to BEA, feature a set of principles and practices for sharing, reusing, and orchestrating business logic represented as services or components.
Liquid Computing features three main themes around SOAs: enterprise compatibility, active adaptability, and breakthrough productivity. With Liquid Computing, BEA is attempting to enable quick changes to IT infrastructure.
"We believe that the SOA is the architecture that will finally deliver the full value of IT," Chuang said, adding that Liquid Computing allows CIOs and IT personnel to align with up-to-the-minute business goals.
Project QuickSilver provides a convergence of message brokering and web services management, for sharing of services across a heterogeneous environment. It will function with environments ranging from Microsoft .net to IBM WebSphere, SAP, and legacy messaging environments such as Tibco Software's Rendezvous.
"QuickSilver will bridge, will route, and coordinate services to flow information anytime within and beyond the enterprise," Chuang said.
Although Chuang never used the term ESB (enterprise service bus), QuickSilver would meet the definition of an ESB, and BEA officials have acknowledged the company has been pondering releasing an ESB.
Glenn Hasen, president and CEO of BEA partner Blue Titan, questioned the need for more ESB products. "The bus is kind of a last resort for EAI folks to service-enable their technologies and that space is becoming quickly commoditised."
Alchemy, meanwhile, is about computing becoming mobile and pursuing truly mobile web applications.
No timelines for product releases were provided for either QuickSilver or Alchemy.
WebLogic Server Process Edition is designed to allow J2EE developers to leverage powerful BPM tools and frameworks for building complex business solutions in a shorter amount of time. The product is scheduled to be available this summer.
Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld