Upgrades Breathe New Life into CORBA, Apps

BEA Systems continues to support several large enterprise customers with large mission-critical CORBA-based systems, the company says.

When BEA shipped its Tuxedo 9.0 transaction processing infrastructure software last week, the company ensured that its CORBA solution would continue to empower systems into the era of service-oriented architectures.

Indeed, George Gould, product manager for Tuxedo at San Jose, Calif.-based BEA Systems Inc., said Tuxedo 9.0 advances BEAs CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) technology, not only for bringing existing legacy applications into new environments, but also for new application development.

"At a time where other companies are dropping off or cutting back on support for CORBA, we see it as a competitive advantage that we continue to have a vast amount of CORBA expertise in-house," Gould said. Besides, he said, BEA continues to support several large enterprise customers with large mission-critical CORBA-based systems.

"People have been predicting the death of CORBA for a long time, but thats like saying mainframes, COBOL, or C++ is going away," said Eric Newcomer, chief technology officer at IONA Technologies.

"No major technology ever goes away once its been successfully deployed, especially in mission-critical applications such as telephone network switching, currency and stock trading, manufacturing, defense systems, and airline check-in kiosks.

"In fact if you were to measure the success of a software system in terms of its adoption in high performance, mission critical applications, CORBA is actually the most successful middleware standard in IT history."

Richard Mark Soley, CEO of the Object Management Group, of Needham, Mass., which oversees the CORBA standard, said: "Without question, there are several markets where CORBA is growing—in a couple by leaps and bounds. The most obvious are the high-performance, high-transaction-rate environments (like AOL, The Options Clearing Corporation, SABRE, etc., all of which are major CORBA users) and the embedded, real-time markets."

The latter opportunity is "exciting," Soley said. "The U.S. alone is spending $10 billion over the next few years on software-defined radios for the military to replace all existing radios. Each and every one has CORBA in it, as well as the Software Communications Architecture (another OMG standard), all specified in UML [Unified Modeling Language] using MDA [Model-Driven Architecture]—a real top-to-bottom OMG success story. And besides the U.S., the U.K., NATO, Australia, Japan and others are moving to the same standards."

Moreover, Soley said the OMG is looking at adding new standards for CORBA.

"In terms of standards, we have roughly 10 to 12 CORBA-related standards in the pipeline at the moment, mostly in embedded, real-time, high-performance, and stream management" environments.

Meanwhile, IONA Technologies plc, of Dublin, Ireland, with U.S. headquarters in Waltham, Mass., earlier this month announced upgrades to all of its CORBA-based products, including Orbix 6, Orbix 3 and Orbacus.

Orbix is IONAs CORBA-based distributed computing platform. Orbacus is IONAs CORBA compliant ORB (object request broker) that is distributed as source code.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about BEAs plans to re-emerge in the service-oriented architecture space.

IONA officials said the company made updates based on changing customer requirements.

For instance, Orbix 6 now supports a range of popular operating systems including SUSE Enterprise Linux 9, Solaris 10 and Red Hat Linux AS 3.0.

Also, IONA has made a new service pack available for Orbix 6, and included upgrades to make it easier to securely manage Orbix deployments in large production systems. Other new features include more flexible load balancing, and simplified migration from Orbix 3 deployments to Orbix 6.

IONA also released an Orbix 3 service pack, which is deployable on Red Hat Linux AS 3.0—marking the first time Orbix 3 has been ported to Linux.

"We are seeing a significant number of our CORBA customers beginning to embrace Linux in the enterprise and want to ensure that our products can be deployed on the leading Linux flavors such as Red Hat and SuSe, as well as Solaris 10, which we view as another important new operating system to our customers," Newcomer said.

Meanwhile, the upgraded version of Orbacus features new platform support, including Sun Microsystems JDK (Java Development Kit) 5.0, Red Hat Linux 4.0 and SUN Solaris 10. And Orbacus 4.3 incorporates support for the CORBA AMI (Asynchronous Method Invocation) specification, which allows the design of asynchronous, non-blocking clients without change to server-side design, Newcomer said.

Meanwhile, also earlier this month, Intrinsyc Software International Inc., of Vancouver, Canada, announced its beta program for J-Integra Espresso, a new set of development tools and high-performance run-time components that bridge Java, CORBA and Microsoft .Net technologies.

Company officials said J-Integra Espresso is built on top of a pure .Net implementation of IIOP (Inter-ORB Protocol).

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