BEA Boosts Its "Mainframe Replacement" Solutions

New Tuxedo products help organizations running high-end systems use legacy code in service-oriented architectures

BEA Systems has rolled out new products for large companies and institutions that are struggling with legacy code and migrating from mainframe systems. The products are part of the company's venerable Tuxedo line.

Tuxedo is used to help process massive transactions via high-end servers, allowing companies to continue to use older applications written in C, C++ and COBOL.

The new Tuxedo products currently being offered by BEA include:

  • Tuxedo 10.0 application server;
  • SALT 2.0 (Services Architecture Leveraging Tuxedo), a solution that enables bidirectional Web services with Tuxedo; and
  • TSAM 1.1 (Tuxedo System and Application Monitor), a product that helps manage end-to-end transactions using Tuxedo.

The Tuxedo products help companies use their legacy applications in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). In fact, Tuxedo customers have been doing SOA for years, according to Lorenzo Cremona, BEA Systems' director of Tuxedo product marketing. The Tuxedo product arose at a time when it was popular to do big infrastructure buildouts, something that was implemented by large financial services companies, telcos and government agencies.

"They built big applications in COBOL, or languages before COBOL, and put it on the mainframe or distributed systems, and the transaction process monitor or app server of choice at the time was Tuxedo," Cremona said. "The product is now 24 years old."

Cremona described Tuxedo as "the world's oldest ESB" (enterprise service bus) as it was designed as a messaging system for services back then.

Companies currently have a lot of legacy code. The average Fortune 100 Company has about 35 million lines of it, Cremona said. Moreover, approximately 80 percent of enterprise IT dollars are spent to maintain legacy applications.

Legacy code is growing, not shrinking. And forget the idea of converting it to Java.

"The idea about three or four years ago about migrating all of these legacy applications to Java didn't happen, predominately because there wasn't a reliable messaging system to the mainframe, or Tuxedo," Cremona said.

Tuxedo has a mechanism to natively support applications written in legacy codes, without necessarily using a compiler-like mechanism. It could theoretically support Java-based applications, but it does so through a connector architecture into BEA's J2EE container. This type of architecture is popular with financial services customers, Cremona said.

One of BEA's largest customers is the credit card processing agency of the People's Republic of China. They are pushing close to 14,000 transactions per second on their system, Cremona said. The front-end applications are done in Java, but all of the backend processing and all of the credit card clearing is done in Tuxedo.

Such transaction processing is typically handled in high-end environments. And Java can't cut it.

"When you are looking at 5,000 transactions per second or 100,000 concurrent users, the only two technology stacks that are appropriate are either Tuxedo (for Unix, Linux or Windows) or a CICS type of mainframe system from IBM," Cremona said. "It's something a Java container can't handle."

Tuxedo 10 now uses secure socket layer (SSL) security across Tuxedo domains, replacing BEA's proprietary encryption method called Link Level Encryption (LLE).

BEA's new SALT 2.0 product adds bidirectional Web services support to Tuxedo. It can expose Tuxedo services as Web services, and it also can consume external Web services as Tuxedo services. SALT 2.0 is built on an open source implementation of the SOAP standard over HTTP; it's configuration driven and creates Web services without coding, Cremona said.

SALT is just one way that an enterprise can expose its applications as Web services. They could also use BEA's AquaLogic or WebLogic servers (which are full-fledged ESBs) to do that, he added.

BEA's new TSAM 1.1 is a performance monitoring and tracing framework for any Tuxedo service or any transaction happening in Tuxedo. It's designed to provide enhanced service metrics across application servers and helps support service level agreements.

TSAM 1.1 is getting its debut today in Barcelona at the BEAWorld event. Cremona said that TSAM has been beta tested with about 12 customers and BEA has gotten a lot of good responses from them. TSAM provides an option for BEA's customers who previously may have used solutions from third-party vendors to manage their Tuxedo systems.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.