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BEA Enters Virtual Realm

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BEA Systems entered the virtualization software market Monday, formally unveiling the first fruits of a software blueprint aimed at making Java applications run on virtualized hardware.

BEA Systems entered the virtualization software market Monday with the release of WebLogic Server Virtual Edition, the first fruits of a software blueprint aimed at enabling Java applications to run on virtualized hardware.

The software, known as WebLogic Server Virtual Edition (WLS-VE), is a combination of the company’s application server and Java virtual machine that lets Java applications run directly on a hypervisor instead of a standard operating system, said Guy Churchward, vice president and general manager of the Java runtime products group at BEA.

The software component that enables that is Liquid VM, a Java virtual machine that works closely with a hypervisor from VMware or XenSource to assume the operating system functions needed to run a Java application
without requiring a standard operating system.

Running directly on the hypervisor, which partitions several operating
systems on one processor, enables administrators to omit an extra layer of
software that is par for the course in virtualization. Minimizing the
application footprint this way allows administrators to put more
applications on fewer hardware servers.

Churchward said fewer machines means less money spent on acquiring hardware
and paying for the power to run it, which is getting more costly thanks to
the increase in clustered computing systems and the arrival of multi-core
servers. Fewer machines also frees up space in the data center.

“One of the side effects of using virtualization to isolate your
applications is that you’re putting another layer between the hardware and
the applications … So you sort of look at it as Russian [nesting] dolls:
you have applications on the top, the WLS container on top of a JVM, on top
of an OS, which sits on the chip,” Churchward said.

“[WLS-VE] allows people to get over these hurdles, which include heat
dissipation and power consumption, and isolates applications to enable
consolidation and save a huge amount of money.”

Reducing machine head counts and costs are two of the main challenges
corporate CIOs face as they seek to simultaneously maximize efficiencies and
expand their businesses.

Those challenges are also the raison d’être for virtualization, in
which multiple applications or operating systems run on fewer physical

BEA isn’t stopping there with WLS-VE, which will be available in the first
quarter of 2007, with pricing announced at that time.

In the summer of 2007, the software maker will add Liquid Operations Control
to WLS-VE, which will essentially be the manager for any Java
applications running on virtualized machines, not just those running on
BEA’s software.

Ostensibly, this will double the performance of Java applications and turn them into software “appliances” that can be provisioned and fortified with
processing power and memory. LOC will also provision tasks per policies set
by an IT administrator.

Churchward said LOC and Liquid VM will allow more Java applications to be
run on each virtual server, with virtual servers themselves created and
managed much more efficiently.

BEA believes its WLS-VE could greatly reduce the congestion created in
modern service-oriented architectures (SOA), where several disparate pieces of software traverse different networks to communicate purchase orders, or other critical tasks.

Improving the components that comprise corporate SOAs is the main mission of BEA’s SOA 360-degree platform for getting the most out of Web-based computing systems.

VMware, XenSource, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft and others are virtualizing customer environments, but those efforts are largely relegated to running several operating systems on a single server.

BEA is the first vendor to explicitly apply virtualization to the
applications to improve SOA.

WSL-VE, announced at BEAWorld Beijing today, came with the opening of a
technology preview of BEA WebLogic Server 10 and the general availability of
BEA Workshop for WebLogic 10.0.

This article was originally published on

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