BEA buys Java tools developer SolarMetric

BEA Systems acquired object/relational mapping tools maker SolarMetric, a small, private company in Austin, Texas.

BEA Systems said Thursday it has acquired Java tools maker SolarMetric, a small, private company in Austin, Texas. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SolarMetric is an early supporter of the EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) 3.0 specification, which aims to simplify Java development by enabling developers to work with reusable code components.

SolarMetric's flagship product is Kodo, a persistence engine that implements the JDO (Java Data Objects) specification. Object persistence technology helps developers store transient objects like ticket reservations or online shopping carts, preventing session time-outs.

Middleware and application server vendor BEA plans to incorporate the Kodo engine into its next major WebLogic Server release, due in late 2006. BEA also plans to introduce EJB 3.0 support soon in its WebLogic Workshop line of developer software.

SolarMetric will bring a staff of about a dozen employees to BEA. Few of the company's customers are current WebLogic users, which BEA cast as an opportunity. "This puts us in a nice position to start going after the Oracle and WebSphere deployments that are out there in the marketplace," BEA Chief Marketing Officer Marge Breya said on a press conference call to discuss the acquisition.

The main benefit to BEA of buying SolarMetric is that it gets them into the EJB 3.0 community, where Oracle and JBoss are already staking claims, according to Current Analysis analyst Shawn Willett. JBoss is building EJB 3.0 support into its middleware line, while Oracle is also supporting the specification and heading development projects aimed at driving rapid adoption.

"At this stage, this is kind of a niche market, but BEA needed to get developer attention," Willett said. "People are just kind of playing around with EJB 3 right now, but it's going to be important, and BEA needed to get in the mix."

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