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BEA Nets Flashline in SOA Play

Building on its AquaLogic roll out a year ago, BEA Systems today announced the purchase of Flashline, a leading metadata repository supplier.

With the addition of Flashline, BEA  said the AquaLogic product family will track, govern and manage software assets in a common repository for sharing across multiple projects and measuring the resulting business value.

The Flashline repository now becomes the BEA AquaLogic Enterprise Repository and a key component of the company's goal of providing enterprise customers with a more unified environment for service-oriented architecture (SOA) .

Terms of the deal for the privately-held Flashline were not disclosed. Flashline's employees, including founder and CEO Charles Stack will stay in Cleveland where the company is based and join the BEA AquaLogic business group. The company has a number of blue chip clients, including Countrywide Home Loans, Sabre Holdings and Wells Fargo.

"There is no question that a repository is a key enabler for SOA, and the Flashline repository will serve as the basis for providing a more unified environment for SOA," said Rob Levy, executive vice president and chief technology officer at BEA, in a statement.

Flashline's repository, first released in 2001, is designed to provide enterprise-wide visibility into an organization's software assets. The idea is to help IT reduce costs using the software's tracking and analytics features.

BEA said the combination of Flashline's metadata repository with the UDDI  service registry and AquaLogic's Service Registry gives BEA customers the capability to manage and govern the full SOA lifecycle, from planning and design through runtime and maintenance.

Pund-It Research analyst Charles King called the purchase is a logical, competitive move by BEA.

"IBM is charging BEA on one side and Oracle on the other," King told internetnews.com. "I do know that IBM, with Websphere, has tools that address the same sorts of issues BEA is. Now BEA has strengthened its hand in the SOA service development space."

BEA said it intends to continue selling a registry based on a third-party product from Systinet under the AquaLogic brand. The registry will be used to manage shared software components in use; the Flashline repository will store information collected while software is still being designed.

King noted Flashline's capabilities that help deliver the benefits of SOA.

"With SOA, you're putting together a structure where software assets and bits and pieces of custom applications can be re-purposed for different projects and delivered as a service to different parts of the company and to partners," said King.

"But if you're re-purposing applications, it's critical to know how they connect to other applications, databases, etc., so you don't end up with conflicts that affect performance. Flashline uses a metadata repository to do a proof-of-concept so nothing slips under the radar."