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BEA's Devil of an App Server

Unwilling to sit back and let Oracle grab all of the attention this week, BEA Systems said a beta of its new application server, WebLogic Server 9.0, will be available for download next week.

Code-named "Diablo," the application server will be the crux of the company's pending WebLogic Platform 9.0, BEA officials said in a statement. WebLogic Platform 9.0 is BEA's future for distributed computing infrastructure, as the software suite is expected to provide a backbone for service-oriented architectures .

Customers, BEA hopes, will use WebLogic Platform 9.0 to enable Web services on their networks to process purchase orders and other business exchanges via the Web.

The announcement comes during a smattering of news from rival Oracle at its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco this week. At the show, Oracle detailed its plans for SOAs and Web services as it tries to compete with BEA, IBM and Microsoft.

BEA's Diablo, which competes with Oracle's 10g Application Server and IBM's WebSphere Application Server, supports J2EE 1.4 and Web Services standards. This includes interoperability with WS-ReliableMessaging, a standard shepherded by BEA, IBM, Microsoft and Tibco, to allow systems from disparate vendors to exchange business messages.

Diablo is designed to process thousands of messages per second, which is how Web services communicate with one another. While clients have relied upon standalone message brokers from IBM or Iona, BEA argues that Diablo delivers enterprise-class messaging in one platform, with store-and-forward and failover.

Ease of use and management are additional perks of Diablo. BEA said the application server can manage through a portal and command line scripting language to a more holistic view of clusters and other complicated computing tasks. The console can be customized to reflect various roles and privileges across the organization.

Third parties may plug in their own management and monitoring tools to provide additional functionality, and Diablo features diagnostic tools that allow administrators to fix application glitches in real time.

In an example of autonomic computing, which IBM helped bring to the fore the last two years, a new auto-tuning feature specifies service levels so the server can make resource adjustments and take corrective actions on the fly.

In addition to Diablo, BEA also announced the availability of its BEA WebLogic JRockit 5.0 Java Development Kit (JDK), which it dubbed the only Java Virtual Machine with adaptive memory management. The company said the kit is compatible with J2SE 5.0 and is optimized for 32-bit and 64-bit Intel Xeon processors and Intel Itanium2 processor-based servers. Diablo and JRockit 5.0 will be be available for download here on Dec. 16. The San Jose, Calif., company will show the server off at BEA eWorld China, Dec. 16 and 17 at the Shanghai International Convention Centre.