BEA pitches native SOA platform

Positioning itself as the industry's first provider of a native SOA platform, BEA Systems unveiled SOA 360 -- as in 360 degrees -- at Tuesdays' BEAWorld 2006. The vagueness of the announcement, however, has at least one analyst claiming the company still has a lot of explaining to do.

SOA 360 spans three BEA product families -- Tuxedo, WebLogic, and AquaLogic -- and features an SOA collaborative tooling environment, called BEA WorkSpace 360. Another key element is the company's "microServices Architecture," aka mSA. Based on SOA and the concept of a services network, mSA features modular services based on BEA products, is event-driven, and uses notification services to publish and discover modular components or "microServices."

WorkSpace 360 includes a product family due in 2007. It is geared to enable business and IT professionals to collaborate and work individually and features roles for the business analyst, enterprise architect, developer, and IT operations professional. Working with the role-based products is WorkSpace Central, which is designed to provide SOA lifecycle management and centers around the company's metadata repository, AquaLogic Enterprise Repository.

"SOA 360 is a governing approach to modeling, creating, developing, and deploying a full lifecycle SOA application. It is a unifying methodology," featuring all of BEA's SOA products, said Rob Levy, executive vice president and CTO of BEA.

"I'm here to tell you with confidence that SOA is very real," BEA Chairman and CEO Alfred Chuang said in a keynote presentation focused on SOA.

Details provided during presentations on Tuesday, however, were too vague, said Shawn Willet, principal analyst at Current Analysis.

"There's just too many unanswered questions right now," Willett said. For instance, it is unclear what makes something mSA-enabled, Willett said. He did, however, praise BEA for being ahead of the pack when it launched its unified middleware platform, BEA WebLogic Platform.

BEA's modularization plans for its WebLogic Server application server were revealed in March. But the company now believes this approach can work for all its products, said Bill Roth, vice president of the BEA tools unit. Modularization provides the right services to the customer, Roth said.

"Modularization will be a key design point for us, and ultimately this microServices Architecture will have an effect across all of our products," Roth said.

BEA has set a goal of having all its products leverage mSA by the end of 2008. MSA will key in on backplane components, application frameworks, activity services, presentation services, and infrastructure services. The architecture will leverage industry protocols and standards such as OSGi, SOAP, WSDL, XML Schema, WS-Security, and SAML.

Also at the show on Tuesday, BEA:

* announced the release of AquaLogic Enterprise Repository 2.5, a metadata repository based on the company's recently acquired Flashline technology;

* launched its AquaLogic Data Services Platform 2.5, which provides a virtual, unified view of data regardless of type or location;

* unveiled BEA Guardian Support Service, providing predictive and pre-emptive software support;

* and announced the general availability of SALT (Services Architecture Leveraging Tuxedo) 1.1, which is intended to allow Tuxedo applications to be exposed as Web services.

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