BEA Focuses on Virtualization

New pricing models focus on instances, not dedicated servers.

BEA Systems has instituted a new pricing model for its virtualization offering and is looking at other opportunities including appliances for service oriented architecture, company officials said.

With its WebLogic Server Virtual Edition, BEA, which is based in San Jose, Calif., is introducing a new pricing model for enterprise Java virtualization, said Mark Prichard, BEAs director of product marketing, during a Webcast on Sept. 4. The company will share more details on its plans at its BEAWorld 2007 conference being held Sept. 10-12 in San Francisco.

Prichard said the company will be selling BEA WebLogic Server Virtual Edition using a per-instance pricing model.

Prichard said what BEA means by "per instance" is that each instance is "a copy of WebLogic Server running in its own Java Virtual Machine."

Moreover, customers scale applications for performance, resilience and availability by adding instances, he said. And this is a hardware-independent measure of the value customers get from BEA software, Prichard said.

BEAs WebLogic Server Virtual Edition is a Java application server packaged into a middleware appliance optimized for virtualized environments, BEA officials said. The product is designed to help reduce TCO (total cost of ownership) and deployment complexity, the company said.

Prichard said BEA is leading the industry in bringing the full benefits of virtualization to its enterprise Java customers.

Moreover, virtualization brings change, he said. BEA WebLogic Server Virtual Edition ushers in the birth of the "middleware virtual appliance," Prichard said.

Customers want the benefits of virtualization, which include increased utilization, increased performance, reduced deployment complexity and management, and reduced TCO, Prichard said.


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However, with this change pricing needs to change, too, he said.

"Traditional CPU-based pricing is still the norm for applications running on dedicated servers, but…virtualization opens up new opportunities by changing deployments dynamically, to meet evolving needs," Prichard said.

And BEA is evolving to offer pricing aligned with value, the company said. Instance-based pricing is a natural measure of value, Prichard said. Indeed, an instance represents the natural unit of scale for application servers. And "more application server instances equal more work which equals more value," he said.

BEA officials said the software would run $13,000 per instance.

Meanwhile, virtualization makes the number of CPUs per application more difficult to count and abstracts the "mapping" of applications to CPUs. Yet, the mapping changes dynamically as the virtualization layer optimizes based on evolving needs, Prichard said.


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Rob Levy, BEAs chief technology officer, in an interview with eWEEK, said: "Theres a next tier of things that were looking at. Ill give you an example of something we find very interesting and were following: appliances. Appliances are today treated like a hardware solution."

Levy said the next phase of SOA (service-oriented architecture) deployment will include "localized SOA appliances with ESBs [Enterprise Services Buses] included."

Moreover, said Levy: "I predict that appliances for SOA are going to become more important, possibly running on Linux. Not just customized XML transformation boxes, which also have a place. But those are for me more like Cisco routers."

In addition, Levy said: "Im talking about more of a generic type of box you would put at the edges to make service bus and data transformation faster. I could see localized in-memory databases that support real-time processing that run at the edge talks to the ESB."


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