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BEA Systems AquaLogic Service Bus 2.1

Despite limited built-in support for integration with external data sources, excellent Web services support and solid performance at a fair price makes BEA's service bus a strong option for enterprises.

Several years ago, BEA began to lag behind competitors Oracle and IBM in the integration and enterprise platform space. Its goal was to focus in on SOA, and its strategy was to take that market by storm. AquaLogic Service Bus 2.1 proves that BEA's hiatus from the competitive market was well worth the wait.

AquaLogic is installed within a stripped down, lightweight version of WebLogic Server (WLS) 9.1. It's essentially a stand-alone J2EE product, capable of being installed as a module within any WLS container, but it does not support deployment within other J2EE containers, such as JBoss or IBM WebSphere.

AquaLogic is stateless, using JMS for persistence of state only when necessary. It does not require a metadata repository unless you want to take advantage of its included reporting and monitoring capabilities, which can then be configured to use an existing RDBMS or the default embedded Pointbase database.

In November we began our quest to find the ultimate ESB (enterprise service bus) suite by issuing an invitation to a dozen vendors. Eight took us up on our challenge and sent software to our Green Bay, Wis., business applications lab, home of our fictional widget maker, NWC Inc.
Over the ensuing weeks, we posted regular updates from Lori MacVittie in NWC's Real-World Labs. We also made available our vendor invites, test plan and other materials from the testing process. Next week rolled out the individual product evaluations from our ESB vendor participants, including BEA, Cape Clear, Fiorano, IBM, Oracle, Sonic Software, Software AG and TIBCO.
Now, see the final results as we reveal our Editor's Choice winner and post our market analysis and Interactive Report Card so you can build your own ESB shortlist.


BEA AquaLogic Service Bus Console
Click to enlarge in another window

Deployment to the bus is instantaneous because the AquaLogic design-time environment is completely Web-based, and it takes advantage of the HTTP session-management capabilities of WLS to keep track of what the designer is doing. The design-time environment is also completely drag-and-drop and worked equally well in both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox 1.4. In fact, AquaLogic is unique in its use of a Web browser as its design-time environment. We easily defined services, which can be published to BEA's embedded Systinet Business Service Registry or to an external registry, and orchestrated those services from within a composite service.

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