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Announcements Further Cement BEA's SOA Position

BEA Systems made several big SOA announcements on Tuesday as it kicked off
its BEAWorld customer conference across the street from partner
VMWare's
bigger and better-known VMWorld. The most hyped is Genesis,
an attempt to better mesh client-side Web 2.0 apps with server-side SOA.

But Genesis is so far just an announcement of a future
announcement. (A full roadmap is due in December.) The updated SOA
Governance suite and virtualized ESB are likely to have a more immediate
impact.

Virtual Appliances Based on LiquidVM
BEA has been talking about LiquidVM since early last year, and is shipping
the first product to use it since July. Essentially a souped-up Java
virtual machine, LiquidVM runs directly
on VMWare
, eliminating the need for Windows or Linux. Functions formerly performed by the OS are split between the
hypervisor and the LiquidVM, something BEA says boosts performance by
40% (by cutting out OS bloat) and simplifies management.

This week, BEA announced two more LiquidVM-based products: WebLogic
Portal and AquaLogic Service Bus. Like the existing WebLogic Server
Virtual Edition, these are virtual appliances, and both are due to ship
early next year. If BEA's performance claims are accurate, LiquidVM
represents a powerful new competitor in the OS market, though most
customers will want to wait until VMWare ships its management system for
VM provision. The 40% performance-boost figure is relative to Red Hat on VMWare, so
performance as measured against a non-virtualized server will be less.

BEA also announced new instance-based pricing for its virtual
appliances, which means users are charged per LiquidVM instance
regardless of how many physical processors or servers an application
uses. While this kind of pricing clarity is welcome, it could act as a
deterrent toward use of virtualization, giving users a very strong
incentive to spread a single VM across multiple servers. Customers pay
the same whether a VM runs in a few spare cycles on a single server or
consumes all the resources in a cluster.

AquaLogic Registry Repository 3.0 and SCA

The latest release of BEA's SOA Governance platform, AquaLogic Registry
Repository 3.0, is the first component of WorkSpace 360°, a BEA
initiative aimed at improving the application development lifecycle.
Registry Repository 3.0 adds more workflow features, new
integration with Eclipse, and an interoperability framework on which
third parties can build.

One of the first such third-party vendors is Skyway Software, which
announced a partnership with BEA at the show. Skyway's development tools
are now fully integrated with BEA's governance, which can catalog all
services (and components thereof) built using the Skyway platform.
Whereas most SOA tools are intended to service-enable existing
applications, Skyway's are intended as a means to build new Web services
from scratch without any coding. The partnership is notable in part
because it's one of the first examples of interoperability using SCA
(Services Component Architecture), a standard that aims to apply SOA principles to the design of applications themselves.

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