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BEA Fires Up Java Market with 'Diablo'

Fresh off of ushering in its AquaLogic plan for more flexible computing, BEA Systems released a new version of its bread-and-butter application server.

WebLogic Server 9.0 is the industry's first "zero downtime" application server, thanks to improvements to the product's kernel code and new tooling, said Bill Roth, BEA vice president of product marketing.

This means companies that use it to run their applications won't miss a transaction in case of a disruption, which is something that previous versions of WebLogic and rival application servers from IBM, Oracle and JBoss could not guarantee.

"We focused on building out an enterprise-grade kernel, which pretty much gives customers an environment for running their applications," Roth said.

The revised software, which processes thousands of messages per second, features side-by-side deployment, which enables users to gracefully upgrade an application without application downtime or disruption, said Roth.

Another feature is a hot patch utility, which allows users to upgrade application servers in a cluster without disrupting the applications in it.

BEA hopes the tools will lure new customers, adding to the company's leading deployments on Unix and Linux systems, where it is the leader, according to IDC.

Such features are also important for BEA's overarching goal, which is to provide infrastructure software that "service-enables" applications, or transforms them into bona fide Web services . In such a service-oriented architecture (SOA) , users will be able to exchange or integrate disparate applications on the fly.

Rivals IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and a raft of other companies are working on offering similar distributing computing environments for customers seeking new ways to do business via their computers.

WebLogic Server 9.0 also follows BEA's emerging trend to support multiple programming methods. The software has a multi-programming interface that supports J2EE 1.4, Spring and Beehive, with additional support to come in the future.

"More and more you'll see us trying to support programming models wherever they are," Roth said. "For example, we will allow WebLogic applications to better talk to legacy applications."

Available today, WebLogic Server 9.0 will be priced at $495 per CPU. Current BEA customers can upgrade for free.

BEA has been on a technological refresh tear of late, centered on furthering its SOA vision for more flexible computing.

After its grand AquaLogic launch in June, the company upgraded its flagship Tuxedo transaction server to be more supportive for users thinking about implementing SOAs.