BEA Brushes Tuxedo For SOAs

BEA has launched the latest version of its Tuxedo middleware in an attempt to meet user demand for service-oriented architectures

July 19, 2005

3 Min Read
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BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS) has overhauled one of its key middleware technologies as the push toward service-oriented architectures (SOAs) gathers momentum (see BEA Ships Tuxedo 9.0).

A number of vendors are adjusting their product lines to support SOAs, which let users run services in the form of application software across different computing environments (see System Vendors Sight SOA, BEA Announces SOA Survey Results, and Oracle Simplifies SOA, Web Services Security).

Tuxedo, which BEA bought from Novell Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL)in 1996, supports extremely high-end transaction processing. It's deployed in telecom billing systems, automated teller machines (ATMs), and wire services. BEA boasts that the technology can run more than 5,000 transactions per second and support over 10,000 concurrent users.

But what Tuxedo does not have is Java support, which is critical for developing Web-based services and SOAs. BEA has now tied Tuxedo much more closely with its Java-based WebLogic product via a piece of software called a Tuxedo Connector. The vendor has also integrated Tuxedo with its AquaLogic Service Bus, which helps users manage shared services across an SOA.

Given Tuxedo's market penetration, this is an important move for BEA, according to Shawn Willetts, principal analyst at Current Analysis. But it's not cooked yet. It will take a few years before you can do wide-scale transaction processing in a full SOA-type environment,” he warns. The necessary Web services standards aren’t there yet, he adds.Instead, the analyst believes the Tuxedo enhancements let IT managers dip their toes in the SOA waters, which is just as well. “It will let you take more of your legacy, mission-critical operations and let them participate in an SOA at a pace that makes IT managers feel comfortable. These are not the types of applications that you want to fool around with.”

George Gold, BEA’s director of business development for Tuxedo, won't say exactly how many users have deployed the middleware, although he confirmed that it “is in the thousands.” Many of these are currently doing proof-of-concept work around SOAs, he adds. "What we are trying to do is ensure that as people start to explore, they have options,” he says.

BEA is not the only vendor playing in this part of the market. The Encina transaction processing system from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), for example, has a J2EE Encina Connector and appears to be included in the vendor's SOA roadmap.

Still, SOAs are still largely a phantom presence, and there is a sense in some quarters that SOAs have been more about vendor hype than user success stories up to now. Analyst firm Burton Group, for instance, recently cited both a lack of best practice models and standards issues as major hurdles in the path of the technology (see SOAs: Approach With Caution).

Nonetheless, vendor Tibco Software Inc., although it does not offer a standalone transaction monitoring product of its own, says there are plenty of users already deploying complex SOAs. “A number of our customers are using SOAs to do purchase processes that go out to their partners,” says Rob Meyer, Tibco’s senior product marketing manager.— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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