BEA to offer integration adapters

BEA Systems Inc. will begin offering application adapters based on JCA (J2EE Connector Architecture) to provide a standardized means to integrate otherwise disparate software.

JCA provides a standard way for J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application servers to plug into back-end applications, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.

The biggest business problem that BEA is aiming to solve is the ever-changing application integration problem. Typically, when an upgraded edition of an application comes out, much of the integration needs to be reworked, but a standard set of adapters can help ease that burden, according to Ivan Koon, a division president at BEA, in San Jose, Calif.

“Only a standard can drive an ecosystem of adapters,” Koon said.

To that end, BEA will be reselling a set of adapters built by San Diego-based Peregrine Systems Inc. The first several of what ultimately will be more than one hundred adapters will roll out early next year, according to Koon, and BEA plans to deliver a handful more each quarter.

The suite will include adapters to applications such as SAP AG, Oracle Corp., PeopleSoft Inc. and Siebel Systems Inc., databases, and mainframes, according to Nicole Eagan, vice-president of platform technologies at Peregrine.

“We’ll continue to build adapter for BEA to OEM,” Eagan said.

BEA’s Koon said that the company has grand plans for JCA adapters.

“We want to work with other vendors, like Peregrine, to commoditize the adapter business,” BEA’s Koon said. “We’re looking to have the same affect on integration that SQL did on the database when Oracle and IBM agreed to that standard.”

Indeed, IBM Corp. and Oracle also are looking to improve their integration plays. Last week, for instance, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM signed a similar pact to resell Peregrine’s adapters, and announced a series of messaging products and adapters for hooking into other applications, such as, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and J.D. Edwards.

“It’s inevitable that the lower levels of integration will be commoditized,” said Shawn Willett, a principal analyst at Sterling, Va.-based Current Analysis Inc.

But Willett isn’t predicting the doom of EAI vendors’ adapters, particularly since the JCA products are not yet fully-baked.

“The EAI guys are coming out with a higher price, but its proven technology,” Willett said. “The JCA technology is a bit immature and a lot of enterprise users may want to go with a tool from WebMethods or Tibco because it’s more mature.”