BEA Systems Inc has partnered with Intel Corp in the area of IP multimedia systems, IMS, as well as unveiling two development initiatives for apps to run on next-generation mobile networks.
San Jose, California-based BEA said it was the first major middleware player to enter the IMS space, with the launches at last year’s 3GSM event of its WebLogic Communications Platform comprising a SIP Server and Gatekeeper. Gatekeeper is a Parlay and ParlayX-based platform for policy enforcement, controlling network access and who can do what when they are on the network.
The rationale behind the move was to leverage the installed base for its Tuxedo OSS/BSS platform in the telco space, as well as of the generic WebLogic Server. Telco is BEA’s largest individual vertical, and the Java-based portfolio already enjoys considerable presence in the space where WebLogic Server forms the basis of the Vodafone live! WAP portal, as well as NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode service. We are the dominant Java app infrastructure provider in telco, with between 50% and 60% market share, said Neil Sholay, BEA’s director for telco markets in EMEA.
The technology for IMS, the 3GPP standard for mobile next-gen networks, has been offered primarily by telecom equipment vendors like Ericsson, Nokia, and Lucent, or by specialist ISVs offering point products such as SIP application servers, softswitches and media gateways. As one of the two leading J2EE app server vendors alongside IBM, BEA saw an opportunity to carve out a share of the market, said Sholay.
We took WebLogic Server and add in SIP and SIP Servlet support, enabling carriers to program in Java apps to leverage network capabilities such as messaging, presence and push-to-talk, Sholay said. The support for SIP within the platform means they can now develop their web portal and VoIP services in one place, without having to use Remote Method Invocation to run something from the SIP world within Java, which means lower cost. BEA also launched value-based pricing at the time so as to enable low capex up front for deployments of the platform.
With Intel, Sholay said BEA will establish two IMS labs, one in Belgium and the other in New Jersey, as well as building a live IMS network to invite ISVs to use for porting and development work. The initiatives to bring app developers into the fold, meanwhile, will be a Developer Program for individual developers and an ISV Application Program for software companies.
What is interesting in these announcements is that Intel is not traditionally in strong in telco, where high-end Unix vendors such as Sun and HP (with the DEC and Tandem platforms) have tended to reign supreme. Now, with HP porting all its high-end platforms to Itanium and Linux-on-X86 becoming a reality even at Sun, Intel clearly feels it has an opportunity to eat into the market and is teaming with a leading middleware player to further its cause.