BEA Gets on Service Bus

BEA is looking to challenge IBM and Microsoft in the enterprise service bus space by creating a product for Web services that handles short-span messages.

WASHINGTON—Despite predictions that IBM and Microsoft Corp. will dominate the emerging ESB space, BEA Systems Inc. is quietly working on delivering enterprise service bus capabilities for Web services in a product slated for release early next year.

During an interview at the BEA Federal Technology Symposium here last week, Alfred Chuang, chairman and CEO of BEA, in San Jose, Calif., said the company has something in store for its competitors in this arena. The move will offer enterprises looking to build SOAs (service-oriented architectures) using Web services another choice in an expanding field of providers.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead why IBMs Bob Sutor thinks SOA is so necessary.

"We have a project going inside the company," Chuang said. "We do have a bus today. But there are several challenges. One is in a one-to-many broadcasting model; most of the transactional buses are not designed for that. Right now, we have much more of a many-to-many model. So we are in the process of building a bus specifically to handle short-span messages."

An ESB, akin to middleware for Web services and SOAs, is a distributed layer on top of an underlying messaging infrastructure. Chuang said such new architectures are needed to keep up with the changing nature of Web transactions.

"What happened is that the world in information systems is colliding with multimedia," Chuang said. "All of a sudden, you have clips, you have pictures, you have things that people want to send. So I think that has caused a different level of what people are expecting a transaction is and what gets lumped into it. And thats caused us to rethink whats inside the bus."

Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn., cites in a report that WebMethods Inc., Iona Technologies Inc., Systinet Corp. and Sonic Software Corp. currently offer ESB technology but said that IBM and Microsoft will eventually dominate the space.

Next page: Playing catch-up to IBM, Microsoft.