With much fanfare and partner support, application infrastructure provider BEA Systems Inc. announced Monday the next iteration of its BEA WebLogic platform, Version 8.1.
The big deal with what is essentially a point release of the platform is 8.1 brings together in a single platform BEAs application development, integration and portal technologies.
About three years ago BEA tagged the integration space as a growth area—and logical extension—for the company. It went about hiring a team of executives from key competitors the likes of IBM, Tibco and webMethods, and increased the amount of research and development dollars.
Finally, with 8.1, BEA is delivering a converged application platform suite.
With a services-oriented architecture, 8.1 is made up of BEAs application server, portal, application development framework and integration software.
While the integration capability has been part of BEAs offering for a while now, whats different with 8.1 is that the application development, integration and portal technologies are now all part of a single code base.
"This is a serious departure from the last hundred years of technology. We believe this will allow developers to integrate applications, a task they could never take on before," Alfred Chuang, chairman, founder and CEO of BEA Systems, said at a press conference in San Francisco.
"This is a single platform. It is not 360 CDs being shipped around," Chuang said, referring to how IBMs WebSphere integration software is supposedly delivered. "Our products share a single code base, from scratch. This has to be done to change our industry. Compatibility has to come; cost has to come down."
BEA also announced Monday Version 8.1 of its Liquid Data for WebLogic software that is designed to provide a single point of access to enterprise information.
This latest iteration of Liquid Data, which enables applications to access and combine information from distributed collections of data silos, is integrated with WebLogic 8.1.
Where Liquid Data ties in is that using WebLogic Workshop—BEAs common development environment—data architects can turn views of data into WebLogic controls, which in turn simplifies the access to disparate information.
At the same time, the Liquid Data distributed query engine has been improved to deliver more complex processing transactions. Likewise, data source support has been expanded and WebLogic Integration 8.1 added.
BEA, of San Jose, Calif. also announced Monday a bevy of partners supporting or standardizing on WebLogic 8.1, including Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Manugistics Group Inc.