BEA Systems believes its visionary credentials remain intact, despite losing key senior talent earlier this year, with new products planned for 2005 and 1,000 people staffing its research and development department. Next year, the company is planning a version of its WebLogic J2EE platform, codenamed Diamond, which will provide enhanced, real-time application and server administration.
Also in the pipeline is Quicksilver, BEA’s SOA infrastructure platform that, the company claims, combines Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) with web services management for the first time.
Unveiled during BEA’s May eWorld conference in San Francisco, California, Diamond and Quicksilver are due for beta testing starting at the end of January.
Diamond and QuickSliver come after a turbulent year for BEA, which saw revenue from new sales of WebLogic drop, sales re-organized to focus on new business areas, and the departure of some big names.
Among those to leave, were chief technology officer Scott Dietzen, senior vice president of advanced development Adam Bosworth, and vice president and chief marketing officer Tod Nielsen – the latter two joined BEA from Microsoft via start-up Crossgain, and were behind the ground breaking WebLogic Workshop Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) web services development environment and related developer program.
While BEA has appointed a new CTO, former president of enterprise frameworks division Marc Carges, among other senior management changes that included recruitment of Computer Associates International’s Wai Wong to head products, the perception has been of a company losing the very individuals who helped establish BEA as a J2EE thought leader during the early 2000s.
Meanwhile, BEA appears to be adopting a less avant-garde product strategy, by repackaging elements of WebLogic for specific markets. BEA has so far launched WebLogic Server Process Edition and WebLogic Platform ISV Edition.
That compares to the previous rush to certification on the latest J2EE standards. Traditionally, BEA has been among the first Java ISVs to support the latest J2EE specification, however, Diamond will be BEA’s first implementation of J2EE 1.4, meaning BEA is trailing IBM, Oracle and Sun Microsystems for the first time.
BEA vice president for product strategy and product management Vittorio Viarengo, on a press tour promoting Diamond and Quicksilver, attributed BEA’s lack of J2EE 1.4 certification to the maturing market. Mr Viarengo said customers would rather their J2EE implementations work, than jump on the latest specifications.
That’s where we were focused during the heyday. Now we are focused on delivering enterprise class features to customers, Mr Viarengo said.
While BEA has lost individuals like Mr Bosworth and Mr Dietzen, Mr Viarengo said with a large R&D effort behind it, the company has tremendous bench strength as individuals execute on the ideas initiated by Mr Bosworth and Mr Dietzen. Delivery of Diamond and Quicksilver would not be adversely affected by recent losses.
[Mr Bosworth and Mr Dietzen] left in July, and [they] left behind a vision that we are implementing. We think those guys attracted good people. Those guys are implementing the vision. There is no choice but to innovate, Mr Viarengo said.