BEA Shines Up Diamond For Release Next Year

The new software, code-named Quicksilver, will be included in the next release of WebLogic Platform, said Vittorio Viarengo, vice president of product strategy and product management at BEA.

That release of BEA's entire software stack -- including portal, J2EE development tool, application server, integration software and the new Quicksilver product -- is code-named Diamond and will be available sometime next year, he said. A beta version of the Diamond version of WebLogic Server will be available by the end of January, he added.

Diamond will be the first release of BEA's software stack to deliver on some of the promises laid out at the vendor's annual eWorld show in May. At the show, BEA announced its Liquid Computing vision for enabling the development of service-oriented architectures (SOAs), and previewed Quicksilver and Diamond as the products that would map to that vision.

The core concepts of Liquid Computing -- enterprise compatibility, breakthrough productivity and active adaptability -- all have implications to improve the efficiency and adaptability of both the technology and the business requirements of the enterprise.

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Though BEA has seen some troubled times since eWorld with a couple of disappointing fiscal quarters and the departure of the bulk of its management staff, the company is optimistic about its future project roadmap, Viarengo said. "Diamond will be the next [industry] milestone for simplifying the enterprise," he told CRN Friday.

BEA sees several key challenges for building SOAs, Viarengo said. Among them are an "unprecedented pressure" for systems and their services to be available around the clock with no downtime, and the ability to identify, classify and manage all of a system's services so they are available for reuse.

Diamond will attempt to tackle these problems with new functionality across all of its different software products, he said.

To minimize or even eliminate application and service downtime, the next version of BEA's WebLogic Server will offer both disruption-free application server and application updates, Viarengo said. The clustering technology in the Diamond version of WebLogic Server will enable all transactions to be routed to other app servers in the cluster while one server is taken down and updated. Then, once the updated server is in place, the transactions will automatically reroute to the updated app server while the other servers get updated.

In a similar way, applications running on the next version of WebLogic Server can be updated by running side by side, Viarengo said. That is, an application can run alongside other instances of the application and handle all traffic to the old versions of the app until they can be updated, too.

Project Quicksilver is BEA's answer to handling the challenge of service routing and management. BEA sees ESB technology and Web services management as "two faces of the same problem," which is why they will be combined in Quicksilver, Viarengo said.

"You want to create an inventory of services, discover what is the data that drives them and then [figure out how] do you route messages," he said.

Quicksilver will support the WS-Reliable Messaging standard that ensures messages are routed and delivered to the proper recipients. Viarengo believes this standard will eventually replace messaging bus software such as MQ Series. However, Quicksilver will support various messaging protocols like JMS and MQ in addition to WS-Reliable Messaging, acting as a bridge from legacy messaging protocols to the new world of SOAs, he said.

Other enhancements to the Diamond versions of WebLogic Portal and WebLogic Workshop will streamline the process of taking applications from production to deployment to facilitate more adaptable IT systems as part of BEA's Liquid Computing strategy, Viarengo said.