BEA Preps Suite for Composing Apps Without Code

The company says its new products will enable business process experts and IT operations to rapidly compose, deploy, secure and manage composite applications across heterogeneous platforms and technologies without writing code.

BEA Systems says it will announce in June an integrated suite of products to address a new market opportunity it calls the service architecture market.

In an interview with eWEEK, Bill Roth, vice president of product marketing at San Jose, Calif.-based BEA Systems Inc., said the new products will enable business process experts and IT operations to rapidly compose, deploy, secure and manage composite applications across heterogeneous platforms and technologies without writing code.

Indeed, Roth said the suite will include existing BEA technology, such as its WebLogic family, as well as newly developed technology that the company has been working on.

"Look at the WebLogic family; its focused on developers," Roth said. The new products "will focus on a new market out there for people who want to compose applications without code. So, there will be a new product line, not all Java."

The new category of software includes features such as a messaging backbone, data and system integration, and distributed security, Roth said. It also features an integrated configuration environment and metadata user-interface framework.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about BEA eyeing business process management.

Roth described a "service infrastructure" as a process designed to enable the free flow of processes, information and services across and between heterogeneous business environments. The concept is based on an SOA (service-oriented architecture).

Roth said the beneficiaries of the new software BEA will release will be enterprise IT architects and business process, data and security experts.

"The service infrastructure is fundamentally heterogeneous, and we understand we need to exist in a heterogeneous world," Roth said. "IT wants us all to work together, and based on SOA, this category will enable you to compose once and leverage anywhere."

Moreover, BEA "is positioned pretty strongly for SOA at the infrastructure level," he said. "Were ready to meet challenges, people are becoming faced with Web services sprawl, and this new enterprise software category is being born—the service infrastructure, which sits atop the application infrastructure."

And according to BEA and analyst estimates, the category could approach $8 billion by 2008, Roth said.

Meanwhile, BEA released some findings from a survey the company did with 1,500 developers and IT executives about SOA readiness. Roth said the company got 1,000 responses and the consensus was that regarding SOA, business and operational advantages are as important as increased IT efficiency, flexibility and adaptability.

In fact, more than 90 percent of participants cited business benefits such as improved service to customers and partners, greater operational efficiency and reduced complexity as key reasons for going to SOA, Roth said.

In addition, Roth said about the same number of "C-level" or chief executive staff and presidents completed the evaluation as did IT directors, but that on a scale of one to four, 4 C-level executive, vice president, director and manager respondents assessed their SOA readiness as 1.73, whereas developers, engineers, consultants and systems analysts rated their readiness at 1.67.

"SOA could be the first thing to align IT with business priorities," Roth said. "And this is probably the first time since 1967 that weve had a reason to do true reuse."

"We have felt we are really at the beginning of a multiyear journey, and there is a vision versus reality gap," Roth said. "Its a slow ramp, but were well-positioned with our current product line as well as our future thinking."

Roth added that respondents saw the biggest gaps in the availability of building blocks to make SOA more scalable, "and were putting together a consulting practice for doing just that," he said.

BEA released its BEA SOA Readiness Self-Assessment Tool in January.

Meanwhile, Roth said what sets BEA apart is its independence. "What were doing is unique. Some of the mega-stack vendors are throwing everything into a bag and offering it. We are open, independent and standards-based."

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in Web services.