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'SOA 360º' platform unveiled at BEA World

At BEAWorld, 'SOA 360º' attempts to put all the tools needed by architects and developers as well as business analysts and IT professionals on one platform with a single architecture.

Initial plans from BEA Systems Inc. to tie together all of its products to create a collaborative SOA platform for developers, architects, IT operators and even business analysts was unveiled Tuesday at BEA World in San Francisco.

While BEA's work is not done in consolidating and improving the strength and competitiveness of their offerings, BEA 360 represents this latest trend in SOA infrastructure evolution.
Ronald Schmelzer
Senior AnalystZapThink LLC.

The new BEA SOA 360º platform takes BEA's three major product families -- Tuxedo, WebLogic, and AquaLogic -- and ties them together with a Web services standards-based architecture the company has dubbed microService Architecture (mSA).

BEA executives and technologists began developing the mSA concept more than 18 months ago and now plan to incorporate it into all of their products over the next two years, said Marge Breya, BEA's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. At a press conference on Tuesday, she gave an overview of SOA 360º and mSA, which she admitted was short on technical details, but she promised more would be revealed over the next three months.

Under the SOA 360º, Breya said mSA will use Web services standards to integrate BEA's oldest and newest products including: "Tuxedo for service enablement of legacy assets, WebLogic for the development and deployment environment to create expose and deploy services, and then finally AquaLogic, our newest product family to orchestrate, manage, discover, secure, visualize the business processes."

BEA is taking a no-products-left-behind approach as the SOA 360º plans already include a metadata repository based on the technology BEA got when it acquired Flashline Inc. in late August. Echoing analysts and other vendors, Breya said the repository is the key to SOA development and will be at the heart of BEA SOA collaboration tools, which the company is branding as Workspace 360º.

Workspace 360º centers on Workspace Central with the Flashline repository, she told analysts and reporters. "Because the most important place for business composition will be the metadata repository. It's the service catalog for the enterprise."

The collaborative tools will have specific versions aimed at the four main groups involved in SOA project development, according to the BEA viewpoint.

Breya said, "There will be Workspace for all four audiences: Workspace 360º for developers, Workspace 360º for IT operators, Workspace 360º for business analysts and architects."

While BEA is touting its vision as unique and the SOA 360º platform as the first of its kind, Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink LLC., said that while commendable it is part of a larger trend among SOA tool vendors.

"It's clear that end-users are coming to expect more capabilities from the solutions they purchase," he said. "In addition, the platform vendors are now accelerating their plans to continue the acquisition and consolidation of the market, and these two forces are resulting in SOA product "suites" that aim to solve a larger set of SOA-related infrastructure issues than previously. In addition to BEA's efforts, Oracle, WebMethods, and Mercury (now part of HP) have all taken significant moves to bolster their SOA infrastructure platforms. Indeed, this is one of the big trends in the industry."

For more information
BEA buys Flashline repository for AquaLogic SOA suite

BEA looks to create a portal into SOA

The analyst said the earlier marketing hype around the enterprise service bus (ESB) is being replaced by the concept of a comprehensive platform such as SOA 360º because the industry found that ESB was only a small part of the SOA picture.

Claims of uniqueness and industry firsts aside, Schmelzer said BEA is making the right move in fleshing out its platform.

"Aqualogic presented a good vision for a cohesive platform, but there remained a lot of gaps in their offering. Some were filled with partnerships and others remain to be solved in the future," he said. "While BEA's work is not done in consolidating and improving the strength and competitiveness of their offerings, BEA 360 represents this latest trend in SOA infrastructure evolution."

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