BEA builds its BPM

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) has become a key strategy for today’s CIO, as all industry watchers proclaim the benefits of turning legacy systems and middleware into agile applications, closely aligned to end-to-end business processes.

It is on the back of the burgeoning interest in SOA that application server maker BEA Systems has sought to strengthen its hand through the acquisition of US-based business process management company, Fuego.

Fuego is a comprehensive, advanced software platform for business process management (BPM) and one of the last stand-alone players in the market for co-ordinating web services with processes. “As in the case of its previous acquisition of Plumtree software, BEA is buying a leading vendor in its class”, says Janelle Hill, vice president, Gartner research.

The $87.5 million cash deal, which was announced in early March, underpins BEA’s enterprise application infrastructure strategy for its AquaLogic Business Service Interaction product line, according to executive vice president, Mark Carges. “BEA can now offer a unified SOA platform to integrate business processes, applications and legacy environments across the enterprise,” he says.

“BEA can now offer a unified SOA platform to integrate business processes, applications and legacy environments across the enterprise.”

Mark Carges, BEA 

The acquisition of Fuego nearly completes BEA’s blueprint for its AquaLogic product line. The only two areas it is still lacking are registry and management. For management, BEA is partnering with SOA Software and AmberPoint, and for registry, Systinet.

However, BEA faces some challenges integrating the Fuego technology with the rest of its product line, says Jason Bloomberg, an analyst at IT advisory group Zapthink. “Fuego takes a code-generation approach to BPM, which fundamentally isn’t service-oriented. So BEA needs to do work to ensure Fuego’s technology fits into the service infrastructure [AquaLogic] rather than the application infrastructure [WebLogic],” he says.

That task is complicated by the number of technologies that BEA executives are currently trying to present as an integrated product set. The company has a long track record of acquisitions, and made half a dozen acquisitions in the SOA space, including applications tool developer M7 and relational database tools maker, SolarMetric, in the last 12 months.

But the largest – and most significant – of BEA’s acquisitions was that of web portal applications tool maker Plumtree Software in August 2005. The $200 million deal raised some eyebrows at the time, as BEA already had portal technology, but it has since used the Plumtree technology to form one of the cornerstones of its AquaLogic product line, intended to provide a complete range of SOA tools.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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