IBM bolsters WebSphere’s J2EE muscle

IBM Corp. and a collection of business partners are set to turn up the volume on WebSphere’s integration capabilities, announcing more than 300 adapters designed to tighten its links to leading enterprise application environments.

At an event scheduled to take place next Tuesday in New York, IBM and business partners including Attunity, iWay, and Neon Systems will roll out 50 brand new adapters and more than 250 updated adapters for WebSphere Application Server 5.0.

The new offerings will allow corporate developers to create and deploy new applications that work with server-based applications from PeopleSoft Inc., SAP AG, Seibel Systems Inc., i2 Technologies Inc., Lawson Software Inc., and several others, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Company executives are expected to boast that the new adapters give IBM Corp. the industry’s broadest range of adapter support for J2EE. Some believe the move is directed squarely at archrival BEA Systems Inc., who has agreements in place with some of the business partners delivering products for WebSphere next week. The announcement will also coincide with Sun Microsystems Inc.’s annual JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

“This is a pretty clear move against BEA who has partnerships with some of these companies already. It will give (IBM) more ammunition in its battles with BEA,” said another source familiar with the company’s plans.

The goal of the new adapters is to reduce integration costs by 75 per cent, IBM officials are expected to argue, while at the same time making it easier to prevent data duplication and making sure that applications respond correctly to the latest information available.

The adapters also quicken application development that can exchange information with existing or new software in a standard way. This makes it easier for developers to work with a range of data formats and both structured and unstructured databases.

Some of the new WebSphere Business Integration adapters are tailored to help developers in vertical markets such as energy and health care, according to sources.

IBM spokespeople declined to comment on next week’s announcements.