SAN FRANCISCO—BEA Systems Inc. took advantage of the proximity of Oracle Corp.s OpenWorld conference here this week to introduce BEA WebLogic Server 9.0, which is designed to allow developers to rapidly build, test and deploy service-oriented architecture applications.
BEA executives briefed the media at the Palomar Hotel less than a block away from the OpenWorld show at the Moscone Convention Center here.
Previously code-named Diablo, WebLogic Server 9.0 is billed as the cornerstone of BEAs WebLogic Platform 9.0 that the company will be rolling out over the next year.
Besides WebLogic Server 9.0, the platform includes WebLogic JRockit 5.0 Java Development Kit (JDK), which is designed to provide developers with a Java Virtual Machine that is capable of supporting 32-bit and 64-bit applications for the Intel Corp. processor architecture.
It also includes updated versions of the WebLogic Portal for Web and intranet applications, the WebLogic Workshop integrated development environment, and the Liquid Data 9.0 data and application integration technology.
With the release of Diablo, Alfred Chuang, BEAs founder, president and chief operating officer, served notice that BEA is going to continue to battle both Oracle and IBM for leadership in the application server market. Chuang was not shy about claiming that the BEA WebLogic Server "crushes IBM and Oracle in both scale and prices." With the BEA WebLogic product line "we have the absolute cheapest technology out there, or the biggest bang for the buck," he said.
Nor was he concerned that open-source development tools or servers such as the Apache Software Foundations Apache Server pose a vigorous threat to BEA products. He noted that BEA generated far more revenue than the open-source products and therefore could afford to provide better support and stronger product development.
Furthermore, BEA officials noted that the company is participating in the Apache open-source software development movement by contributing the Beehive application component framework. Beehive is BEAs effort to turn over its WebLogic Workshop development framework to the open-source community to support the production of applications on open-source server platforms.
The application development capabilities of WebLogic Server "empower business users to quickly and easily change their business processes while IT retains overall systems governance and control," noted Mark Carges, BEAs chief technology officer.
The SOA development capabilities of WebLogic Server 9.0 will make it easier for developers to build applications that integrate systems that that were originally never designed to be part of a larger architecture, Carges said.
Covad Communications Group expects that Diablo will allow the company to reduce its downtime for software upgrades, saving it about $1 million per year, said Jeff Davies, Covads director of software architecture, based in San Jose, Calif.
Covad, which claims to operate the largest national DSL network in the United States with services in more than 235 metropolitan areas in 44 states, believes that WebLogic Server will help improve system uptime to close to 99.97 percent.
It plans to do this by modernizing its software infrastructure with new SOA applications developed to run with Diablo, he said. "We have the first pieces of this architecture running today," he said.
Since Covad implemented SOA, "we can change and shut down one application without stopping the others," Davies said. With SOA in place, Covads "systems availability has reached our 99.90 percent target for first time" this year, he said.
Both Diablo and JRockit 5.0 will be available for download starting Dec. 16. JRockit will be available free of charge.