BEA hails app server upgrade

Not to be outdone by rival Oracle, BEA Systems has unveiled version 9.0 of its WebLogic Server application server.

Not to be outdone by rival Oracle, BEA Systems has unveiled version 9.0 of its WebLogic Server application server.

Homing in on the theme of service-oriented architecture deployment, BEA said the product would simplify the development of service-oriented applications to help lower development and operational costs.

Highlights of WebLogic Server 9.0 include support for J2EE 1.4 and web services standards such as WS-ReliableMessaging. According to BEA, the server's messaging infrastructure can process thousands of messages a second.

The server also allows administrators to identify and resolve issues in applications running in production in real-time, as well as auto-tuning to help specify service levels.

At its OpenWorld conference on Monday, Oracle touted similar functionality for Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2.

WebLogic Server 9.0 is scheduled for download in beta form from 16 December, with general availability set for next summer. One BEA user said he looked forward to disruption-free capabilities in version 9.0

"We're really looking to WebLogic Server 9.0's disruption-free deployment because it's still the customer-facing apps that we have the problem with," said Jeff Davies, director of software architecture and standards at DSL supplier Covad Communications.

BEA declares itself an industry leader ready to move forward, but the company has undergone a lot of personnel changes at the top lately, with the departures of its chief technology officer and chief architect.

According to Alfred Chuang, BEA president and chief operating officer, the company is focused on innovation and is top on throughput and price/performance. "From JRockit [Java virtual machine] to component technology, we have the absolute cheapest technology out there, or the biggest bang for the buck," he said.

He also scoffed at the threat that freely available open-source application servers might present to the company's commercially available application server. He stressed that BEA's revenues dwarved those of open source, and said that users cared about the APIs and openness that BEA could provide.

"I think open source is way overblown in the marketplace," he said.

BEA this week is also announcing general availability of the WebLogic JRockit 5.0 Java Development Kit, for the company's JRockit JVM for Intel systems.

JRockit 5.0, which also is scheduled to be available in beta from 16 December, is designed for more easy diagnosis of problems and to help analyse an application's behaviour and performance in real-time during production, without sustaining a noticeable performance penalty.

The SDK includes the Java Runtime Environment, which includes the JVM and Java class libraries. It also contains development tools such as a compiler and debugger, compliant with the J2SE 5.0 specification.

BEA has also presented a roadmap of several technologies, including the following:

  • Devils Thumb portal product beta release, due in summer 2005
  • QuickSilver beta, due in spring 2005, with general availability next summer. The product combines web services and enterprise service bus technologies
  •  Liquid Data 8.2, codenamed Danube, shipping early next year
  • Davinci telecoms product for SIP and VOIP support, due in winter 2005, with a follow-up planned for the following spring.
  • Liquid Data 9.0, shipping in autumn 2005
  • Dublin business process management product, due in winter 2006
  • Taurus version of the Tuxedo transaction processing monitor, due in summer 2005
  • Ripcurl RFID edge product, due in spring 2005.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld

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