IBM steps up fight with BEA


26 November 2002 Systems giant IBM has released a new version of its WebSphere application server software, stepping up an increasingly bitter fight with rival vendor BEA Systems.

WebSphere version five has been integrated with other key IBM products including the DB2 database and Tivoli systems management software, the company said. Together, the three products form the basis of IBM’s new $10 billion push into managed computing and application services, dubbed ‘ebusiness on demand’.

IBM also released yesterday its integrated development suite, called WebSphere Studio.

WebSphere version five and Studio aim to help companies speed up and cut the cost of integrating and developing new applications.

The company says the new products should also make it easier to develop software for the emerging autonomic computing and web services technologies. Autonomic computing technologies are designed to make it possible for hardware and software to detect and correct performance problems themselves.

Jocelyne Attal, WebSphere’s vice president of marketing, said the product’s self-healing capabilities will save administrators time and money because they will no longer have to stop the system to update applications or server clusters.

The product also delivers new capabilities for web services – the applications approach for discovering, building and delivering software modules as a service over the Internet. These include the Web Services Gateway, which IBM claims provides a more secure environment for web services over the Internet; and a private Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) repository that acts as a directory, and enables companies to search for web services developed within their organisation.

IBM said WebSphere five is also certified with Java Two Enterprise Edition, 1.3, technology standard for web services. Rival BEA Systems has used this lack of certification as part of its ongoing propaganda war with IBM.

WebSphere version five is IBM’s latest bid to control the burgeoning application server sector. In 2001, IBM had a 23% share of the market, compared to BEA’s 25% and Oracle’s 12%, according to IDC.

For a fuller analysis of the battle for control of the application server market, see the December 2002 issue of Information Age magazine.

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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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