SOA Wave To Hit Indian Shores: BEA Systems

by Hinesh Jethwani    Jul 07, 2004

The next generation methodology of application software development — Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) — is making waves across the globe. Sadly, its resonance on the Indian enterprise front still remains extremely diluted.

While many vendors like Oracle are trying to establish the coveted title of being the first in the industry to deliver a complete SOA platform, BEA Systems claims that the race is more on the lines of establishing product superiority, rather than just entering the record books.

In a CXOtoday exclusive, Steve Faris, VP marketing, Asia Pacific, BEA Systems, Inc, said, ” SOA is still a fresh concept as far as the Asia Pacific region is concerned. My prediction is that in the next 4-5 years, 80-90% of all software applications in the market will be developed on SOA. So there” s a tremendous potential here. It” s been exactly a year since we released our latest platform for SOA development and deployment: BEA WebLogic 8.1. Globally, 16,000 customers have already embraced the concept, and Indians are now waking up to the potential benefits of SOA.”

Faris had interesting views to share on the paragons of technology evolution. ” Root problems today can be traced to the tremendous speed gap between technology and business development. The reason for most failures is the fact that IT has consistently been a laggard, unable to react in time to adapt to changing business needs. With SOA, shortening the time gap between the two is practically possible. The architecture will effectively make the technology infrastructure of a business far more responsive and fluid,” he explained.

So will the automation of routine low-level coding tasks spell the extinction of entry-level programmers? ” No,” clarified Faris. ” I think that the junior level programmers of today — working mainly on routine programming tasks — will simply become the junior business analysts of tomorrow. There” s no extinction here; only a transition.”

Confronted with IDC” s latest study, which stated that IBM leads the application deployment software market with 35.6%, while BEA was a distant second with only 11.5%, Faris replied, ” Comparing market shares of BEA with IBM is never an apple-to-apple comparison, simply because IBM never reveals individual statistics on a per-product or per-segment basis. If you segment the market share according to individual products, BEA clearly has a leadership in the core application server space.”

Describing the latest initiative by BEA, labeled ” Liquid Computing” , Faris said, ” We named the project based on the properties of a liquid. BEA believes that next generation computing will be on the same lines as fluid dynamism — the ability with which liquids can adapt to any environment that they are placed in. If enterprises need to evolve, IT has to be far more responsive to changing business demands. We have selected a three-pronged approach to liquid computing. The first pillar in the methodology is Breakthrough Productivity. It” s a step towards enabling super fast delivery times — literally a ” month to minutes” concept. So, application development that previously took 12-18 months to complete, should now take 12-18 weeks. With Liquid Computing, enterprises can eliminate a vast majority of custom coding, since automated tools will now perform the same task. The second pillar is Enterprise Compatibility ” which will ensure the adoption and evolution of standards from the likes of W3C, Sun, etc.”

” Lastly, Active Adaptability — the power to change and modify applications to suit changing business paradigms, completes the three-pronged Liquid Computing approach. This involves literally pulling the application metadata out of the application shell, without getting into the headaches of re-compiling and re-coding,” added Faris.

Regarding BEA” s latest push to make Sun open source Java, Faris replied, ” There was some speculation about how Sun” s J2SE proprietary ownership could be unfairly biased in the future, and therefore we thought that it would definitely be in the best interest of the developer community if Sun ” open sourced” the code.”

” Today our WebLogic platform is available on virtually every Unix dialect, Red Hat Linux and other flavors like Red Flag Linux in China as well. Linux delivers a significantly better performance and scalability control in comparison to Windows, while running WebLogic. Jrockit — a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) developed for server-side applications — has been optimized to leverage maximum performance benefits on the Itanium 2 platform, enabling users to sidestep the more expensive RISC-based platform,” claimed Faris.

BEA is in the process of transferring its Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the Apache Software Foundation for the runtime application framework of its WebLogic Workshop. Labeled ” Project Beehive” , Apache Beehive is designed to be the industry” s first open source foundation for building enterprise Java and service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications. The company has also rolled out BEA WebLogic Server Process Edition, an extension to its existing WebLogic Server.

Faris has been coming to India since 1992. ” I think India has evolved from its earlier image of being a market with just a ” cost advantage” . India is no longer the cheapest region for software development, and has now entered the next level of presenting a ” competitive advantage” to the global economy,” he concluded.

The adoption of web services and SOA and SODA will reduce the cost of applications development and hasten the speed of project completions. This year will be the year that web services will truly make its mark, says Gartner. The research firm has ranked it amongst the top ten technology drivers to watch out for in 2004.

Tags: SOA