BEA Offers Entry-Level Pricing for WebLogic Server

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BEA Systems Monday will make available a revamped version of its Java application server with new pricing aimed at entry-level customers, a BEA official said.

BEA, based here, also will unveil the general availability of WebLogic JRockit 8.1, its Java virtual machine that optimized WebLogic on servers running Intel chips, said Eric Stahl, director of product marketing for BEA. WebLogic Server 8.1, which previously used Sun Microsystems' HotSpot JVM, now runs on JRockit 8.1.

The lowest-price configuration of BEA's application server, WebLogic Server 8.1, Express Edition, is priced at less than twice the amount of its previous cost, Stahl said. WebLogic Server Express is available for $495 per CPU, down from its former price $3,000 per CPU, he said.

"Obviously, BEA is trying to get into accounts that wouldn't otherwise buy BEA," said Robert Kelley, director of marketing and alliances for Los Gatos, Calif.-based solution provider InfoGain. "I think it's a smart move."

Kelley said an entry-level version of WebLogic also gives BEA leverage against competing open-source Java application servers such as JBoss, which some observers have said are stealing market share from BEA. "If I'm going to go for something free, there also the concern there's no support," he said. "Five-hundred dollars is just the same as free and you know you have the backing of a company that's continuing to grow with you."

BEA also is unveiling a new Workgroup Edition of Weblogic 8.1, aimed at "distributed deployments" such as those at retail stores, which "might want to host apps locally but only have a small number of users for each," Stahl said. WebLogic Server 8.1, Workgroup Edition, costs $4,000 per CPU.

The full-featured version of WebLogic Server 8.1, also available Monday, costs its standard price of $10,000 per CPU, Stahl said.

WebLogic Server 8.1 is the foundation for BEA's WebLogic Enterprise Platform 8.1, which BEA unveiled at its eWorld show in Kissimmee, Fla., last month. 8.1 versions of BEA's portal, and WebLogic Workshop tool will be available by June, with a new version of WebLogic Integration available in August.

BEA has offered WebLogic Express for several years, but only recently began stepping up efforts to market the product in light of increased interest in reaching the mid-market by competing vendors.

Last fall, BEA's primary application server competitor, IBM, unveiled a major mid-market push with its WebSphere Express line, with low-priced configurations of its application server, portal, database and content management software. (More on WebSphere Express.)

BEA also hopes to reach the volume server market through deals with Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Dell to optimize WebLogic on servers running Intel chips.

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