BEA Sees Virtualization as Key to SOA

At its BEAWorld Beijing conference, BEA Systems will introduce its strategy for virtualizing Java applications.

BEA Systems will announce an aggressive virtualization strategy and product road map at its BEAWorld Beijing conference on Dec. 13.

What BEA is focusing on is optimizing the operation of Java applications in virtualized environments, the company said. The BEA virtualization solutions will enable Java applications to run directly on a hypervisor, leading to performance and efficiency gains, said Guy Churchward, BEA vice president and general manager of Java Runtime Products.

Steve Hess, unit executive of Adaptive Products at BEA, based in San Jose, Calif., said the companys move is in line with the growing industry trend of server virtualization, the decoupling of software applications from hardware servers via a software abstraction layer.

"BEA sees the advancements around multicore systems and virtualization as real trends in the market, and we knew it would affect our business," Churchward said.

As part of its virtualization strategy, BEA laid out its product road map, which includes WLS-VE (WebLogic Server Virtual Edition), the first product on the road map to be launched.

WLS-VE combines WebLogic Server with BEAs Liquid VM, a virtualization-optimized JVM (Java virtual machine), and enables Java applications to run on virtualized hardware. This improves hardware utilization, which in turn, lowers the hardware costs per application, Hess said. The software also makes it easier to add hardware resources to a live application, allowing the applications capacity to scale with evolving business needs.

Hess said Liquid VM enables Java applications to run directly on a hypervisor and works closely with the hypervisor to fulfill the minimum set of operating system functions needed to run a Java application rather than requiring a full standard operating system.

Another product, BEAs Liquid Operations Control, due to become available in the summer of 2007, will allow users to manage and control Java applications running on virtualized infrastructure. This allows handling of Java applications as software "appliances" that can be rapidly provisioned and augmented with processing power and memory as needs evolve; it also permits policy-driven automation of provisioning tasks, Hess said.

"We said the virtualization technology could be applied even higher up the stack" than where traditional virtualization players have focused, Hess said. "We said it would be interesting if we could slim down the stack to get better performance than in the virtualized hardware environment. So were bringing enablement and control to the Java layer."

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about BEA Systems SOA integration offerings.

BEA also will announce the availability of the next major release of the companys Workshop development tool set, BEA Workshop for WebLogic 10.0, and of a preview version of its WebLogic Server 10.

BEA officials said virtualization plays a big part in the companys "liquid" vision in that the overall strategy is about making the relationship between software and hardware more fluid, allowing greater flexibility in how applications are deployed and migrated within the data center. Indeed, the virtualization offerings will be key components of BEA SOA 360º, the companys unified SOA (service-oriented architecture) platform. Announced earlier in 2006, BEA SOA 360º spans the three BEA product families—BEA AquaLogic, BEA WebLogic and BEA Tuxedo.

Meanwhile, BEA Workshop is being integrated to become the basis of BEA WorkSpace 360° views for Developer and Architect, the company said. BEA Workshop also supports Eclipse 3.2 and the Eclipse Web Tools Platform 1.5, as well as Java EE 5 (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5) and EJB3 (Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0). And the new version of BEA Workshop also includes improvements to Web Service Control and Control Security, allowing easier creation of secure SOA components, BEA officials said.

BEA also will introduce JRockit Mission Control 2.0, which provides low-overhead, non-intrusive instrumentation for Java in both development and production environments, the company said. JRockit Mission Control 2.0 is a tool for monitoring and optimizing application behavior at the JVM level. Using JRockit Mission Control 2.0, enterprises can monitor their core infrastructure, enabling the performance and reliability required to run mission-critical applications on an SOA, the company said.

Moreover, JRockit Mission Control 2.0 adds support for the Eclipse graphical user interface and integration with the Eclipse IDE and WebLogic Workshop environments. BEA also will discuss its Tuxedo 9.1 transaction monitor at the Beijing conference.

In other announcements, after two successful years at BEA, Marge Breya, the companys senior vice president and chief marketing officer, is leaving to pursue other interests at a company that is a key BEA partner, Business Objects. Breya was instrumental in launching BEAs Think Liquid campaign and helping the corporate strategy evolve. Four-year BEA executive Rosanne Saccone has been promoted to replace Breya, BEA officials said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.