Iona Touts New Products, Java Support

P>Iona Technologies (www.iona.com) unveiled new versions of its Orbix CORBA middleware suite, Orbix 3, and OrbixOTM object transaction monitor, OrbixOTM 3, at the Iona World user conference. The company also announced the acquisition of EJBHome Ltd., a British software vendor that specializes in developing Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) components.

With Orbix 3, Iona is trying to build a development environment that can work with other vendors' integrated development environments and application servers, says John Walker, an analyst at Forrester Research (www.forrester.com). Orbix 3 includes OrbixCOMet, a CORBA-DCOM bridge; the Orbix Code Generation Toolkit for rapid CORBA development; OrbixNames, an object repository that enables location transparency and load balancing; and Orbix Wonderwall, which filters messages using the Internet Inter-Orb Protocol.

Developers can deploy CORBA applications generated with Orbix 3 by using OrbixOTM 3, which Iona officials call an object transaction monitor or "application container" -- where components are deployed and integrated to create an application.

New features in OrbixOTM 3 include integration of Java components with OrbixOTM management, transaction support and security services; integration between the OrbixOTM SSL-based container security mechanism and Orbix Wonderwall; and integrated support for OrbixCOMet.

Products included in Orbix 3 and OrbixOTM 3 will be released throughout 1999, the company said.

Iona is building a strong business model by walking the line between COM and CORBA, Forrester's Walker concludes. Forrester studies indicate that developers will eventually use COM as the basis for 70 percent of all applications, with CORBA serving the other 30 percent. "Microsoft is identifying CORBA on the back end as an important thing to do," he adds.

At the show, Iona executives acknowledged the growing relationship between CORBA and EJB. In addition to the acquisition of EJBHome, Iona announced it would join Sun Microsystems' community source license program for Java. Last September, Iona announced that Symantec Corp. (www.symantec.com) planned to support Orbix in Visual Cafe. Forrester's Walker called the acquisition of EJBHome and the deal with Symantec "the right things" for Iona to be doing. "CORBA and Java are starting to come together now," he explains. "Java in the past was nice to have; now it's an imperative."