BEA enhancing integration, portals

BEA Systems Inc. on Tuesday is announcing 30 BEA-branded integration adapters for linking applications via the company’s WebLogic Integration software, as well as 20 portlets that add functionality to portals developed in the WebLogic Portal platform.

The adapters, based on Java Connector Architecture (JCA), enable access to applications or databases, said Pat O’Haren, senior director of product marketing at BEA, in San Jose. Due by the end of the month, the adapters are for applications such as SAP R/3, Siebel, PeopleSoft, Oracle applications, and J.D. Edwards. Customers, for example, could take data from a Siebel application and make it accessible to an SAP system.

JCA replaces costly, proprietary adapters, O’Haren said.

“Until recently, most of the adapters in these types of applications have been done on a proprietary basis. That approach has resulted in a lot of costs for developing these adapters as well as cost [and] complexity of managing these applications,” O’Haren said.

Slated to ship at the end of the month, the adapters could be used in Web services-based applications, he said.

Adapters range in price from US$20,000 for a database adapter to US$50,000 for an SAP or PeopleSoft adapter, according to BEA.

With its adapters BEA is filling a need that formerly was to have been met by third-party vendor Peregrine, which dropped out of the market, said Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Current Analysis, based in Sterling, Va. “This is something BEA needed to do. They needed to come up with their own technology,” Willett said.

BEA still will face an uphill battle against IBM, which has its MQSeries and Crossroads integration technologies, Willett said. However, BEA will benefit from building its adapters on industry standards and supporting Web services, he said.

“As these Java-based integration technologies mature, then BEA’s integration is going to get better,” Willett said.

BEA is emphasizing that customers are increasingly combining integration software, such as adapters and business process management, with portals and custom applications to enable users to act on information within the context of roles and interact with multiple back-end systems. Standards such as JCA and Web services enable reductions in the cost and complexity of integration.

Portlets enable new functionality in portals. New components include portlets for whiteboard and chat from Compoze Software. Venetica is providing a portlet known as Content Provider for BEA WebLogic Portal, which features a set of portlets for collaboration and integration with content stored on Windows file servers. Prices of the portlets vary based on the providers.