Oracle reveals BEA roadmap

WebLogic app server becomes core Java container and SOA is emphasized as Oracle meshes its technologies with those acquired in the BEA merger

Oracle presented on Tuesday a comprehensive roadmap for its recently acquired BEA Systems middleware technologies, making BEA's application server Oracle's strategic Java container and pledging continued support for BEA customers.

In a 105-minute Web conference, Oracle President Charles Phillips and, primarily, Oracle Fusion Middleware Senior Vice President Thomas Kurian covered product plans in the SOA, development tools, identity management and other middleware spaces. Oracle closed its $8.5 billion merger with BEA in late-April.

BEA customers will have investment protection, Phillips said. "There will be no forced product migration at all," he said.

Phillips cited SOA synergies and said Oracle, with BEA in tow, becomes number one in the middleware market.

"We want to provide a complete platform for developing [and] deploying SOA-based applications," Phillips said. The acquisition of BEA made sense because BEA is a pioneer in middleware and a company that "really got SOA," he said.

Oracle's plan categorizes BEA products into three areas: 

* Strategic products, which will be adopted immediately with limited re-design into the Oracle Fusion Middleware platform.

* Continue and converge products, which are BEA products being incrementally re-designed to integrate with Fusion Middleware. These products will continue to be developed and maintained for at least nine years.

* Maintenance products, which BEA had put on an end-of-life status and will get continued maintenance for five years. One example is BEA's Beehive applications framework.

Perhaps the biggest -- but most expected -- revelation was in the application server arena. The BEA Weblogic Server Java application server "becomes Oracle's strategic J2EE container," Kurian said. It has been integrated with Oracle technologies like Oracle TopLink for Java persistence and Oracle Coherence grid capabilities.

Application server modernization plans call for modularization based on the OSGi standard. However, "Oracle's own application server continues development going forward," said Kurian.

SOA plans call for integrating the Oracle ESB (enterprise service bus) with BEA Aqualogic Service Bus. This provides a best-of-breed offering for customers, said Kurian. Also, the former BEA Aqualogic Enterprise Repository becomes Oracle's SOA governance repository; with it, SOA artifacts can captured shared and change-managed across the lifecycle, Kurian said.

Oracle Service Registry will serve as a UDDI-compliant registry to publish and register services.

The Oracle Data Integration product continues as Oracle's entry in data integration and Oracle BPEL Process Manager provides SOA service orchestration. For event processing, BEA's Weblogic Event Server will be merged with Oracle Complex Event Processor.

"We're going to combine these two products into a unified event processing engine," said Kurian.

BEA Weblogic Integration will pick up Oracle SOA technologies like adapters from BPEL Process Manager.

Oracle also plans to strengthen BEA's Tuxedo transaction processing software. Tuxedo is geared for C, C++, and Cobol applications as well as customers looking to migrate off of mainframes. Additionally, the company views the JRockit Java Virtual Machine acquired from BEA and the BEA Liquid VM virtual machine, featuring hypervisor technology, as critical going forward, Kurian said.

In business process management, the Oracle BPA (Business Process Analysis) designer will be converged with BEA Aqualogic BPM Designer on a common BPM and BPEL-compliant metadata model to move information between these two tools.

In development tools, Oracle is focused on offering a single integrated development environment and a single metadata model. Oracle JDeveloper continues as Oracle's integrated toolset and Oracle ADF (Application Development Framework) stays the company's model view controller framework.

Also, Oracle Eclipse-based software assets and components from the BEA Workshop software development platform will be integrated into a single product called Oracle Eclipse Pack.

Portal plans call for converging BEA Weblogic Portal with Oracle's WebCenter framework. For identity management, Oracle Aqualogic Enterprise Security becomes Oracle Entitlements Server. With it, authorization policies can be centralized for enterprise applications and Web services.

Oracle also is integrating BEA telecommunications products, such as BEA WebLogic SIP Server, with Oracle technologies.

An Oracle reseller was pleased with Oracle's efforts, saying users still have choice. "The end users will be able to pick and choose the product that best fits their environment," said Sastry Tauravai, CTO at Bluenog. Oracle was able to formulate its plans for BEA products in a short time, he said.

Oracle's developer resource, the Oracle Technology Network, will merge with BEA Dev2Dev and BEA Arch2Arch programs for developers and architects. Oracle plans to hold 70 customer-oriented events in various locations beginning July 15 as well as having a focus on BEA at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco beginning September 21.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.