BEA expands SOA coverage – Plumtree, BPEL and High Availability

Written By: Peter Abrahams
Content Copyright © 2005 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

BEA Systems, Inc., and Plumtree Software, Inc., recently announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which BEA will acquire Plumtree.

Looking back to another recent announcement from BEA, on its Aqualogic Product Family, this acquisition of Plumtree can be seen to fit perfectly into BEA’s strategic plan. The Aqualogic announcement had a simple architecture picture that had a section labelled ‘User Interaction’, which obviously included BEA’s own ‘portal’ product but also included the words ‘multi-channel’ and ‘collaboration’ – neither of which BEA supported terribly well; whereas these are the sweet spots of the Plumtree offering.

Looking from the other end of the telescope, Plumtree had built itself up as the premier content management and collaboration portal vendor but recognised that its customers needed it to expand into composite applications and the whole SOA space. Building all that functionality and still remaining independent – in fact, they were the last remaining significant independent portal player – was going to be an up-hill struggle and in the longer term was unlikely to succeed.

The timing seems just right:

  • both sides are successful companies.
  • the overlap in functionality is small enough not to be an encumbrance to the integration of the Plumtree product line into BEA.
  • Plumtree comes with .Net expertise which BEA needs in order to provide a complete solution to their customers.
  • Plumtree also comes with a greater bias towards the business user rather than developer and BEA has begun to move in that direction as well.
  • Enterprises have been moving towards SOA and are keen to purchase as much of the solution from one vendor as possible. The inclusion of Plumtree in the BEA portfolio makes that much easier.

Again looking back at the Aqualogic announcement, the process orchestration section hinted at further announcements and this has come with BEA WebLogic Integration Server 8.5 which provides support for the latest version of BPEL4WS 1.1, as well as partnerships with:

  • ProActivity – to extend the business process management lifecycle at the front-end with Business Process Analysis and at the back-end with Business Activity Monitoring.
  • Cyclone Commerce – to provide enhanced support for business-to-business (B2B) connectivity.

Finally, BEA has also strengthened its heartland with WebLogic Server 9.0 that concentrates on increased reliability, availability and serviceability with features such as:

  • ‘side-by-side’ application installation, which is designed to allow applications to be upgraded in a running server without causing any downtime.
  • ‘hot patch’ functionality, which is designed to allow the server to be upgraded without disruption.

In my opinion these three announcements put BEA into the forefront of SOA enabling vendors.