September 19, 2006 1:04 PM PDT

BEA redesigns for SOAs

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BEA Systems on Tuesday sketched out plans to optimize its infrastructure software for a services-oriented architecture, a modular system design being adopted by corporate customers.

The company said its three primary product lines--Aqualogic, WebLogic and Tuxedo--will eventually use a common software foundation called MicroServices Architecture.

Once this new, "lightweight" architecture is in place, customers will be able to build and modify applications with BEA's tools and server software more quickly and easily, said Alfred Chuang, the CEO of BEA, who spoke at the company's customer conference in San Francisco.

"MicroServices Architecture has been architected with SOA (services-oriented architecture) principles in mind and conforms to all standards," Chuang said.

A services-oriented architecture is a way to build applications as a series of interconnected components, or services. The goal of an SOA is to allow people to reuse services, making application development faster and cheaper.

BEA's software is used to build and run custom-written applications, such as corporate portals and Web sites. The MicroServices Architecture will provide low-level services to a number of applications and will conform to Web services and Java standards, BEA said. The services include presenting information from databases.

The company intends to have all its products use the MicroServices Architecture by 2008. The software will be designed so that it can be embedded in other software applications from other vendors, Chuang said.

BEA also detailed its plans to unify its different programs for writing business applications.

The company introduced a new product, called WorkSpace 360°, which is meant to be a single application where technical and business people with different roles can collaborate. The software will be rolled out over the course of next year, BEA said.

WorkSpace 360° is an application lifecycle suite, a set of products that covers different phases of application development, from up-front design to coding and eventually to deployment.

"It brings the business analyst, enterprise architect, service developer, and IT operations people to the same table," Chuang said.

The WorkSpace suite will be made from components in BEA's existing product suite, including its repository for storing shared services, the company said.

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