Metamorphosing Fuego to AquaLogic – understanding BEA (part 2)

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Content Copyright © 2007 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

BEA acquired Fuego in early 2006. There has been a 50% increase in engineering headcount accompanied by 300% increase in dedicated BPM support increase over across 7 geographies. The direct sales team available has increased from 15 to over 500 and there has been a 500% increase in marketing spend. To summarise, BEA have invested a lot into this acquisition. Has it bourne fruit? Well, AquaLogic has become BEA’s fastest growing product. So the infusion of BEA best practices around R&D, product management, documentation education, engineering and internationalization into the agile delivery approach of Fuego has paid off handsomely.

BEA defines Business Process Management (BPM) as “a strategy of managing and improving the performance of the business through continuous optimization of business processes in a closed-loop cycle of modelling, execution and measurement”. We are all aware that real business processes span organisations, systems and applications. The job of a BPM system is to model, simulate, execute, manage, monitor and finally optimise those business processes. This means there is a lifecycle involved with the processfor definition, a solution that involves a number of different people, from business analysts dealing with the modelling and simulation to process developers coding to business users using analytics to analyze the data.

In the Bloor Business Process Management report of last year, Bloor Research awarded BEA a gold award. To quote from the report: “BEA has clearly shown the market understanding and vision to be a prominent player in both the BPM and SOA markets. The Fuego product plays well within the rest of the “Liquid” product family already and BEA’s vision is ‘spot on’ in regards to growing a leadership position in the systems-centric BPM market. However, while the acquisition of Fuego earns BEA strong marks in the people-centric BPM category there is still room for improvement before BEA can earn an award in this sub-category.” So has there been a change?

As a reminder to those readers who are not familiar with BEA’s AquaLogic suit,it consists of:

  • AquaLogic User Interaction is a new, integrated family of AquaLogic products used to create enterprise portals, collaborative communities and composite applications, all built on a Service Infrastructure. These include:
    • AquaLogic Interaction: this provides the Web integration and interface services for all AquaLogic solutions.
    • AquaLogic Interaction Collaboration: this allows employees, customers and partners to work together via the Web.
    • AquaLogic Interaction Publisher: this creates new Web content, keeping portals and composite applications up-to-date.
    • AquaLogic Interaction Search: this indexes all of the information and resources deployed across the enterprise.
    • AquaLogic Interaction Grid Search: this extends ALI Search to provide search for massive portal deployments.
    • AquaLogic Interaction Studio: this creates Web applications, without the need for technical development skills.
    • AquaLogic Interaction Integration Services: this combines the full range and functionality of existing enterprise systems into composite applications.
  • AquaLogic BPM integrates the modelling, implementation, execution and monitoring of business processes to support continuous optimization of the business process lifecycle. One of the big pluses is that AquaLogic BPM brings together in a single product support for both human workflow and S2S integration. This is supported through BEA’s support for both XPDL 2.0 and native BPEL 2.0 in the same engine.
  • AquaLogic Service Bus is an enterprise-class service bus designed for connecting, mediating and managing interactions between heterogeneous services—not just Web services, but also Java, .NET, messaging services and legacy end points.
  • AquaLogic Data Services Platform delivers live, integrated and reusable information as a service. It uses a declarative programming approach to eliminate the need for application developers to build workflows or code Java by hand.
  • AquaLogic Enterprise Security is an entitlement management solution that combines centralized policy management with distributed policy decision-making and enforcement. This combination provides management and control of applications and resources.
  • AquaLogic Enterprise Repository manages the metadata for any type of software asset, from business processes and Web services to patterns, frameworks, applications and components. It maps the relationships and interdependencies that connect these assets to improve impact analysis, promote and optimize their reuse, and measure their impact on the bottom line.
  • AquaLogic Service Registry is employed as the yellow pages for deployed services and acts as the “DNS” for services at runtime. It is a comprehensive and proven UDDI registry.
  • AquaLogic Commerce Services provides an off-the-shelf base commerce system.
  • AquaLogic SOA Management is the AmberPoint SOA Management product, which is a policy-based solution for controlling the complex infrastructures that exist within any service-enabled architecture. The reseller agreement with AmberPoint was signed in April 2007.
  • AquaLogic Pages is a Web page authoring system and application builder that features a palette of drag-and-drop components.
  • AquaLogic Ensemble manages Web resources—applications, components, widgets, programmable functions—and then can be used to merge and mix these resources together to create new Web applications.
  • AquaLogic Pathways combines search, content tagging, bookmarking and activity analytics.

So, as you can see, this is some suite of products! Potential users can purchase as much or as little as they want. The only drawback is being to identify what you really need out of the portfolio on your own.

On July 30th 2007, BEA released AquaLogic BPM 6.0. Percival, BEA EMEA Technical Evangelist, explained that this release was about increasing the enterprise IT strength and scalability of the product.

Many processes involve decision points where business guidelines are in place, but where the final decision must be carefully considered by a human. BPM 6.0 is designed to help organizations learn from past decisions by capturing actions, offering inline quantitative data based on past decision history, and allowing simulation testing. Enhancements to the product include:

  • The user experience framework, WorkSpace Extensions, is designed to provide support for a variety of end-user experiences, helping participants engage in process activities through their tool of choice, including enterprise portals, stand-alone process workspaces, email clients and RSS readers.
  • BPM 6.0 is designed to let users define business rules through web-based tools and allows them to change rules on-the-fly.
  • BPM 6.0 is designed to allow business processes to be easily registered as services with any standards compliant Enterprise Service Bus or Service Registry. In addition, BPM 6.0 features pre-built integration with AquaLogic Service Bus and AquaLogic Service Registry to optimize and automate the end-to-end management and governance of process services.
  • BPMN support with bi-directional mapping between BPMN and XPDL 2.0 is now supported.

So have BEA answered our challenge? I see big changes that make BEA AquaLogic suite a major player in the BPM market. Given BEA’s impressive sales figures, you, the buyers, also think that this is the tool to buy at present.

In Part 3, I look in more detail at the RFID Edge Server and the new Event Server.