RealTime IT News

BEA Distributing 'AquaLogic' SOA Family

NEW YORK -- BEA Systems made good on its promise to dive deeper into the distributed computing ocean, unveiling its "Think Liquid" brand and AquaLogic service-oriented architecture software family.

Formerly dubbed Project FreeFlow, AquaLogic consists of an enterprise service bus (ESB) to help computers exchange Web services .

It also includes a data services platform to centralize Web services and a security stack to make sure service integrity is preserved. Several other development tools will appear in the next year or so.

Top company executives, including CEO Alfred Chuang, CTO Mark Carges and Chief Marketing Officer Marge Breya, touted the new technology at the Nasdaq Marketsite building in New York, a common venue for significant technology unveilings.

The executives repeated what they see as a tidal shift from siloed enterprise software, in which corporations would typically run infrastructure and applications from one vendor, be it IBM, BEA, HP or Sun Microsystems, to more heterogeneous approaches.

Chuang touched on how BEA's new Think Liquid charge and products are very different from the WebLogic family because it is more open, supporting J2EE, .NET, SAP, Oracle and IBM systems in more ways than were previously possible.

"Think Liquid defines what we do for a living," Chuang said. "I remember talking to many of you in '94 or '95 about our vision to bring you simplicity and fluidity in enterprise computing. Think Liquid is our challenge to move beyond siloed software stacks to a new world order that is open, flexible and ultimately much better integrated."

Breya, who joined BEA as CTO from Sun as part of a plan to jumpstart the company's marketing efforts, echoed Chuang's proclamations about a software infrastructure market that analysts say represents a $6 billion to $10 billion opportunity over the next few years.

"Our job is to make this all about and and not or," Breya said, summing up the stance BEA is now preaching to support competing products. The end goal is to ensure that SOAs work well for customers with infrastructure from different vendors, a key part of BEA's plan to steal market share from rivals.

Zapthink analysts Ronald Schmelzer and Jason Bloomberg, who chart XML, Web services and SOA development, said BEA's shift from the Java-centric world to a more interoperable one is a tribute to the company's forward-thinking.

"AquaLogic is mainly the result of the company rethinking its role in an SOA, and realizing that in order to be successful, they have to put their J2EE bias aside and think in terms of how their customers will build SOA," Schmelzer said. "The results are products that focus on the core aspects of SOA: composition, loose coupling, reusability, and security."

Carges unveiled the six members of the AquaLogic family, beginning with the AquaLogic Service Bus. Formerly called QuickSilver, the product brokers messages, and routs and transforms data in order to help businesses conduct transactions.

One of the requirements of a message broker is that it supports disparate end points and infrastructures. BEA's ESB is no exception, registering and monitoring services, and providing service-level agreements (SLA) based on policies, Carges said.

AquaLogic Service Bus will be available this summer, priced less than $45,000 per CPU. BEA has also licensed registry technology from Systinet to provide its AquaLogic Service Registry as a foundation for SOA governance and lifecycle management. Carges said the product is being offered as an OEM arrangement with Systinet.

"The AquaLogic Service Bus goes beyond the functionality offered by most of the ESB vendors in that it offers Service management and Systinet's registry capabilities on top of the message brokering and security that other ESBs provide," Zapthink's Bloomberg said.

AquaLogic Data Services is the company's next iteration of its Liquid Data product. Data Services takes the manual coding duties out of the hands of time-strapped Java developers and lets the software automate the construction of data services. These services help computers snag data from the network for users, Carges explained.

The revised product will be ready later this month for less than $10,000 per CPU.

AquaLogic Enterprise Security, formerly WebLogic Enterprise Security, secures distributed applications. The software is available now, starting at $75,000 for the administration application and $10,000 per CPU for security service modules.

Carges also pointed to forward-looking development platforms, including AquaLogic Process, which leverages the BPEL spec to orchestrate disparate services across the enterprise. AquaLogic Portal allows workers to share documents and other data types.

Lastly, AquaLogic Composer, similar to WebLogic Workship, is a single unified tool environment for AquaLogic products and third-party extensions to help empower the application specialist, service administrator and business analyst to operate a service network across the heterogeneous enterprise.

The development products will roll out in the next year.

Next to Systinet, BEA has garnered support for AquaLogic from several heavy-hitting companies, including HP, Intel, Amberpoint, SOA Software and Hyperion.

BEA and Microsoft, both of which have helped author all the major specifications of the WS-* Web Services Architecture, are currently discussing additional opportunities to improve interoperability for joint customers.