By Jean-Christophe Cimetiere of TechMetrix Research
One of the reasons for BEA’s leadership over other ISVs is its very advanced level of technology. BEA WebLogic Server is very much recognized by the market and by its customers as a solid technical product. The major market players (database vendors and manufacturers) consider BEA to be one of their biggest competitors. Further proof of the vendor’s leading position is evidenced by the alliances BEA formed Vignette in January 2001 and BroadVision in November 2000. One should bear in mind, however, that the implementation and results of these alliances will take some time to materialize.
BEA is flanked by a number of other vendors, each of which is opting for different positioning, or is likely to do so shortly.
SilverStream stands apart from the crowd due to its highly integrated development environment. It is now playing its “solutions and framework” card with ePortal (Enterprise Information Portal), and xCommerce, an XML-based integration tool designed for creating Web Services (SOAP). One sign of change can be seen in the company’s willingness to make these products (ePortal and xCommerce) independent of SilverStream Application Server, making them portable to the main J2EE application servers. SilverStream has also considerably developed its strike force in terms of consulting and integration with its acquisition of a number of system integrators (both in the United States and in China).
Many other products will still have to find their differentiating factors and establish their position on the market. TechMetrix will continue to evaluate these players and provide regular analysis.
Lastly, enterprises should consider the J2EE open source solutions. There are many such projects around, including JBoss, Tomcat, Caucho, Jonas, and Enhydra. This last product, Enhydra, is actively supported by Lutris Technologies. This open source solution is a credible alternative to the commercial application servers. Enhydra is a very active project, and TechMetrix advises keeping a close eye on developments. The Beta 1 version of Enhydra Enterprise — which integrates many J2EE functionalities — has been available for download since March 2001.