Intel, BEA tune Java software for Intel servers

Intel has worked with BEA Systems to fine-tune BEA's newly acquired Java Virtual Machine (JVM) so that it performs well on Intel-based servers running Microsoft Windows and Linux, Intel and BEA executives said Monday.

BEA announced earlier Monday that it had acquired Helsinki-based Appeal Virtual Machine AB, which makes the JRockit JVM. It bought the company after customers complained that JVMs from other vendors haven't performed consistently when ported to Intel-based machines, said Alfred Chuang, BEA's chairman and chief executive officer, at the start of BEA's annual developer conference here. Users need a JVM in order to run BEA's server software.

The acquisition wasn't all about Intel. BEA plans to tweak the JVM to work on all server platforms, from Intel-based systems "right up to the mainframe," Chuang said. However, it could give Intel a boost as it tries to position its servers for use running large, enterprise-class applications, Intel said.

Until now, JVMs for use with BEA's software have been developed by the likes of Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. for use on Unix-based servers, according to John Davies, a vice president with Intel's sales and marketing group. A JVM optimized for Intel servers gives customers more computing platforms to choose from, he said.

The proportion of BEA customers using Intel-based servers today is low because "the performance isn't there," he admitted. Offering a JVM that has been tuned to run well on Intel's 32-bit Xeon and 64-bit Itanium chips should make Intel-based servers more competitive compared with Unix servers from Sun and other vendors, he said.

"This puts us deeper into the enterprise," Davies said.

For Windows users, the JVM should "fill the void" that Microsoft left when it stopped offering new Java technologies with its products, said a BEA engineer here. Sun Microsystems Inc., which created Java, sued Microsoft for allegedly trying to "break" Java's cross-platform capabilities by developing a version that wasn't compatible with Sun's.

Davies touted benchmark results intended to show how well the software runs across two servers, each running on four Pentium III Xeon chips. The JVM is available now for Windows and Linux running on both Xeon and Itanium processors, and Intel will update the software "more or less" in sync with the release of future chips, Davies said.

Vendors including Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and NCR Corp. have said they will sell Intel-based servers loaded with BEA software, Intel said.

More information about the conference, called BEA eWorld, is on the Web at http://www.bea.com/events/eworld/2002/. It runs through Wednesday.

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