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BEA Gears For SOA Launch

BEA Systems' service-oriented architecture (SOA) plan will kick into overdrive this summer when the company unveils new software next month in New York City.

The new product line will build on the announcements the company made last year, wrapping together its WebLogic Network Gatekeeper software for authenticating network identity; Liquid Data XML integration software and QuickSilver Web services and business process management software.

Unlike previous software deployed under the company's popular WebLogic brand, the new products will help developers create composite applications that will work on disparate platforms without writing code.

This reusable asset approach is the keystone of SOA . SOAs are primed to employ software that provides application-to-application exchanges, or Web services .

The company has talked about its service infrastructure software suite in meetings with analysts and press. But now is the time to show progress. CEO Alfred Chuang, CTO Mark Carges and Chief Marketing Officer Marge Breya will shoot for that objective at the launch, analysts said.

ZapThink analyst Jason Bloomberg said the new software combines enterprise service bus (ESB) technology for messaging and management capabilities to make sure disparate pieces of software work together in a single product.

The software will expand BEA's offerings in the SOA market as well as the composite application development platform market, Bloomberg said.

"By offering a product that focuses on service re-use and rapid composition, they are going about SOA the right way, and will give their competition a good run for their money," Bloomberg said.

Zapthink analyst Ronald Schmelzer said the public can expect BEA to separate service infrastructure from application infrastructure for the first time. All the technology that sits at the service interface level, including security, process, management and composition, is part of the service infrastructure.

The application infrastructure sits below the service interface, making a service work in a particular environment.

"The two are symbiotic, since Quicksilver itself is based on the WebLogic application server, but the difference is in how they are positioning and selling the product," Schmelzer said. The company believes that it can triple its current $1 billion revenue by selling to the service infrastructure layer."

IDC analyst Dennis Byron said the launch is par for the course for a company that specializes in a market that is being gradually commoditized: application servers.

"BEA is trying to grow further up the stack from where they traditionally played," Byron said in an interview. "They have to take advantage of the pieces they have in their integration server in Liquid Data and some of the security things they announced last year and try to move up the stack with that."

While IDC hasn't released final numbers for 2004, Byron said not much has changed in the past year from 2003. He said IBM held the market with a middleware share somewhere between 30 percent and 35 percent, with BEA following at 15 percent and Oracle garnering 7 percent.