managers agree that managing corporate technology can
be a nightmare, what with new applications constantly
being developed and deployed. Michael F. Smith-Jr.,
Principal Technologist-CTO Office, BEA Systems, says
one does not need dozens of solutions to manage these
systems. This can be achieved by implementing an Application
Infrastructure platform in your organization. by Minu
'application infrastructure' and how important is it
to an enterprise?
A (common/standard) platform is required to make different
applications in an enterprise work across geographies
or multiple locations, and to manage a large number
of users and transactions taking place within an enterprise.
This platform which ensures that different applications
work with each other, is known as an application infrastructure.
The application infrastructure makes enterprises more
productive. An application infrastructure is a package
that enables enterprise developers to build integrated
multi-tier applications easily and rapidly. The application
infrastructure is a platform, which integrates diverse
computers, networks using multiple operating systems
and software packages.
And BEA offers enterprises a unified, simplified and
extensible platform for all their application needs.
Do enterprises in India really follow a structured application
Yes, most Indian customers are very knowledgeable on
the latest developments in IT on a global basis. They
are also very clear on the need for open standards.
In this context, the need for a structured application
infrastructure is definitely appreciated by the Indian
What are the emerging trends in application infrastructure?
The three main market trends are: emergence of platform;
emergence of Web services and simplification of the
We think that there are some features common to every
enterprise, like transactions, a personal identity,
and data sharing. BEA is focusing on creating a platform
that will capture all these commonalties into one system,
which kind of hinges on what we are defining as application
infrastructure. So there will be a common horizontal
technology available to everybody. That is one major
trend we are seeingemergence of the platformsand
the two major platforms vying for supremacy in this
arena are J2EE & .Net.
However, the way I see it, they are working from opposite
ends of the spectrumMicrosoft from the consumer
side with lots of tools, and J2EE from the enterprise
level. So, different people will capitalize in different
areas as per their business needs. However, one of our
major beliefs is that most large enterprises are going
to be dealing with both. So one very important role
BEA would like to play here is to provide J2EE infrastructure
in a world where both platforms exists. We are specifically
trying to build Microsoft integration with J2EE.
Another major trend is the emergence of Web services.
The Web is very real; it just depends on how involved
the company is. In Asia we have many Web service projects
The third major trend, which will have an impact on
the manufacturing sector is the idea of integration,
like EII (Enterprise Information Integration). This
area has been dominated by many small players and regional
companies who have been building very proprietary frameworks
to solve the EII problem. Now with the emergence of
platformswhich essentially pre-integrate themselvesyou
have Web services, which are allowing everybody to talk
to everybody. In an IT world where one wants more productivity,
less cost, and less servers to manage, if the platforms
begin to include integration capabilities, the integration
market will experience some flux. And platforms for
Web services will form the basis for common integration
projects. It hopefully will reduce the cost and make
integration easier. And these are essentially large,
blue chip, mission-critical applications.
How convenient is it for an enterprise to use integrated
modules. Is there any product compatibility issue with
the integrated infrastructure?
It is highly convenient for an enterprise to use integrated
modules. BEA strongly believes in an Integrated Enterprise
and Core IT Convergence. Core Convergence is more than
packaging various products into one brand or one box.
It is about building around a common architecture and
leveraging a common foundation. By having convergence
at the core, customers will benefit from deploying solutions
that enhance and extend their existing environments
via a single, integrated structure. Other vendors attempt
to define Core Convergence as a mere packaging of a
few hundred products in a box. With this approach, the
underlying products are not built around a common architecture
and customers may run into product incompatibility issues.
How is the integrated module managed and how efficient
are the tools to manage the application infrastructure?
BEA WebLogic Enterprise Platform includes operations,
administration and management frameworktools that
help lower the cost of operating applications. It includes
tools for maintaining application components, connectivity,
and user profiles.
Importantly, this enterprise software platform is composed
of components that have been developed, united, tested
and released together to ensure seamless interoperability,
and which share a single install, upgrade, and support
model to reduce management complexity. IT organizations
can focus on creating business value upon their application
infrastructure, rather than supporting it.
It enables the enterprise to improve profitability through
an open, unified architecture, maintains competitive
advantage by adapting to change with increased agility
and an extensible architecture, and improves productivity
with better use of development resources.
Are these solutions offered at all levels of enterprise
applications, how well does it integrate with legacy
Every industry has its particular blend of unique requirements,
business pressures, and competitive challenges. BEA
understands these distinctions, leveraging years of
experience and success to help companies in targeted
industries that require specific business solutions
to meet their business goals.
BEA has customers running various types of applications
on its WebLogic Enterprise Platform, ranging from mission-critical
core business applications, to e-Commerce solutions,
to B-B, B-C, and B-E portals. BEA has been committed
to providing industry solutions for financial services,
government agencies, manufacturing and telecommunications.
Can we talk about J2EE and .NET as part of an application
infrastructure? What are the emerging trends in this
BEA recognized that there is a need for an integrated
development framework that makes it incredibly simple
for application developers, not just J2EE experts, to
build enterprise-class Web services on the J2EE Platform.
BEA's WebLogic Workshop enables application developers,
experts in the business requirements, to build Web services
using a visual development environment supported by
a run-time framework that insulates developers from
the complexities of J2EE.
Understanding the challenge and importance in providing
customers with simple, unified and extensible solutions,
BEA recently launched two products that address simplicity
WebLogic Workshop 7.0 (WLW 7.0), a product that changes
the traditional way of code writing and application
development. This product offers users graphical tools
for deployment, graphical administration tools, graphical
security tools and many utilities to help simplify
the J2EE development and deployment process.
WebLogic Platform 7.0, an integrated product suite
that integrates the application server with integration,
portal and development frameworks into an open unified
architecture. Within a single install, the infrastructure
platform containing WebLogic Server 7.0 (apps server),
WebLogic Integration 7.0, WebLogic Portal 7.0 &
WebLogic Workshop 7.0 is ready to be deployed.
Minu Sirsalewala can be reached at email@example.com