BEA Updates Mainframe Software Stack

Judging from this month’s flurry of new product announcements, BEA’s mainframe software business is alive and well

It’s been a busy month for application server powerhouse BEA Systems Inc., recently having announced a bevy of new mainframe software releases, including updates to two of its most popular Big-Iron franchises: BEA Tuxedo and BEA Services Architecture Leveraging Tuxedo (SALT).

In addition, BEA introduced a new product for monitoring and tracing Tuxedo-based applications and systems, dubbed—appropriately enough—Tuxedo System and Application Monitor (TSAM).

BEA also touted the upcoming release of AquaLogic Service Bus, Financial Services Edition, a vertical-specific offering designed to help financial institutions build and manage a flexible payments infrastructure using an SOA-based approach. Lastly, BEA trumpeted a number of new professional services to help accelerate the adoption of Web 2.0 across its AquaLogic Pages, Ensemble, and Pathways products.

BEA’s Tuxedo-themed releases—starting first and foremost with Tuxedo 10.0, a much-anticipated update to its venerable OLTP offering—are perhaps most noteworthy. Tuxedo 10.0 boasts improved performance and security features, along with a significantly improved services ecosystem: version 2.0 of its SALT technology, which adds bi-directional Web services capabilities, as well as support for SOA standards like WS-Security.

In addition, BEA added TSAM 1.1 to the Tuxedo product family. TSAM delivers end-to-end monitoring and tracing that can be tied directly to service level agreements (SLAs). Analysts see BEA’s Big-Iron software refresh as a case of its continued investment in a mainframe moneymaker that—in spite of slower growth (relative to its sexier SOA-oriented technologies)—continues to be profitable.

"The market for Tuxedo is certainly not growing as quickly as the company's AquaLogic family—which boasts double-digit growth numbers—but mainframe customers represent a stable revenue driver and an opportunity for BEA to ply its SOA wares alongside Tuxedo," writes Bradley Shimmin, an analyst with consultancy Current Analysis.

More to the point, Shimmin notes, mainframe shops represent a compelling opportunity for BEA—especially in the context of its broader AquaLogic aspirations. "The company's continued investment in this area will create cross-selling opportunities for the Tuxedo, WebLogic, and AquaLogic families—something the company could only achieve with SOA-capable mainframe technologies," he points out.

Professional Services Offerings

Elsewhere, industry watchers are high on the professional services offerings BEA introduced as complements to Web 2.0 product stack—AquaLogic Ensemble, Pages, and Pathways. "This is an extremely important move for the company, which clearly sees the importance of employing collaborative solutions within enterprise service-oriented architecture … environments," Shimmin argues.

The new services offerings will help customers deploy social search applications (BEA’s Collective Intelligence Quickstart), create auditable, secure mash-ups (BEA’s Perimeter Security Quickstart), and build a collaboration and information-sharing framework on top of WebLogic Portal and AquaLogic User Interaction (BEA’s Social Computing Quickstart), Shimmin says.

BEA’s other significant new deliverable—AquaLogic Service Bus, Financial Services Edition—is consistent with an overall trend toward use-case and vertical-focused ESB solutions, he points out. Moreover, the finance-friendly AquaLogic Service Bus is patterned after another successful BEA deliverable, namely, a telecom-targeted application server offering.

"While BEA has stayed away from vertical applications or vertical business processes—something its rivals have embraced—the company has fielded a very strong offering for customers utilizing the SWIFT network for financial transactions," Shimmin indicates.

AquaLogic Services Bus, Financial Services edition combines several BEA products, he says, citing SWIFT network connectivity (via BEA’s AquaLogic Service Bus for SWIFT), a design environment for SWIFT, SEPA, and other payment standards, and a SWIFT messaging library. "This ready-made solution will appeal to financial institutions in need of a homogenous and full-featured SOA platform built to meet regulatory requirements," he says.