BEA touts event-driven architecture

BEA Systems officials not so to discuss efforts by Oracle to acquire their company

BEA Systems officials Tuesday were eager to talk about event-driven architecture and SOA rather than discuss efforts by Oracle to acquire their company.

An Oracle offer to acquire BEA expired in late-October and no new one has been tendered. For BEA officials, Tuesday was business as usual with executives touting the company's middleware stack for event processing during a media presentation in San Francisco. They stayed silent when asked about any possibility that their company might be bought by Oracle.

"BEA has been leading in the event-processing market for some time now," said Ruma Sanyal, director of product marketing for BEA. The company's event-driven processing arsenal includes such products as WebLogic Event Server for high-performance applications driven by event-driven architecture and WebLogic Real Time featuring a version of the JRockit Java virtual machine offering guaranteed response times of 10 milliseconds.

SOA factors into event-driven processing, according to BEA.

"We see the next generation of SOA as being an event-driven SOA," said Guy Churchward, BEA vice president of WebLogic products. With data volumes growing, companies will be competitive and win by implementing event-driven SOA and event-driven architecture, he said

BEA's Event Server product is about data stream optimization, but SOA is deployed to make a decision on what to do with these streams, Churchward said. More than 70 percent of respondents surveyed by BEA think about event-processing in the context of SOA and BPM (business process management), Runyal said.

"Not all the business problems are going to be solved either by EDA or by SOA or BPM," Sanyal said. "It's all three of those together," that will probably be required for solving business problems, she said.

While the BEA officials did not introduce any new products, they did provide glimpses of upcoming versions of the Event Server and Real Time software. Release 3.0 of Real Time, due next summer, will offer 5-millisecond response times. A release sometime after that will reduce this to zero milliseconds. Real Time features enhancements in Java memory management, or garbage collection, to reduce latency.

The next version of Event Server will focus on development tools to extend the product to business analysts. A graphical interface for setting rules is a highlight of the product.

The company emphasized how the holiday season is especially taxing on transaction systems in industries like air travel and retail and that event-processing is a solution.

"There's unique challenges around the holiday season," Churchward said. These challenges include compressed purchase-to-delivery time expectations, management of transactions, and an exponential increase in holiday travelers.

"There's more people hitting these [Web] sites, hitting the stores, there's more people getting on airlines," he said. Failure to address these problems can result in loss of revenue, lost of customers, high operational costs, and negative press and referrals, he said.

BEA's Robin Smith, senior engineering product manager, detailed an airline's use of BEA software, including Event Server, Real Time and the AquaLogic Service Bus to deal with issues such as locating lost baggage. BEA did not reveal the name of the airline.

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