BEA Goes To Bat For ISVs

The software combines BEA's Java application server with core functionality from WebLogic integration and portal servers that ISVs say is important to helping them keep up with the latest trends, particularly the development of services-oriented architectures, said Bobby Napiltonia, vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at BEA.

WebLogic Platform, ISV Edition is priced at $17,000 per CPU, Napiltonia said, giving ISVs a combination of application server, portal, integration software, BEA's JRockit virtual machine and WebLogic Workshop Java development tool for the same price as the premium version of WebLogic application server. The price is also about 80 percent less than what ISVs would pay for the full, enterprise edition of WebLogic Platform, which costs $90,000 per CPU.

While BEA has had a loyal ISV following, the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor, which has had organizational and financial woes of late, is facing increased pressure to retain its ISVs on two fronts, said Shawn Willett, principal analyst with Current Analysis, Sterling, Va.

On one front, chief commercial software rival IBM has stepped up its ISV recruitment efforts in the past year, particularly in the midmarket, he said. On the other, JBoss, the professional open-source company that supports the JBoss application server, is luring ISVs at a fast pace because its software, while requiring ISVs to purchase a license for support from JBoss, is free and an attractive alternative to expensive commercial software and maintenance licenses.

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"One of BEA's biggest challenges is keeping ISVs," Willett said. "Many people have adopted WebLogic 8.1, but I think JBoss is cutting into this. Every time you turn around there's a new ISV bundling JBoss."

Bill Lapchevic, director of strategy alliances at application performance management software and solution provider Wily Technology, Brisbane, Calif., said he is definitely seeing an increase in JBoss deployments in the market. However, Wily's BEA revenue has grown steadily in the past year, and Lapchevic said the company's BEA business "has never been stronger."