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BEA tackles real time Java challenge

Latency obvious

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BEA Systems is adding go faster stripes to its Java application server, with two products designed for time-critical work environments.

Latency of Java has always been a problem where high numbers of mission-critical transactions are involved. This is because Java stops to collect garbage from application transactions, unlike programs written in C or C++, which gives them the edge over Java in such situations.

So, BEA is tuning its Java apps engine with WebLogic Event Server, a lightweight version of its full application server tuned to handle large numbers of complex events, and WebLogic Real Time 2.0, updated to deliver faster throughput of transactions.

According to BEA, WebLogic Real Time 2.0 now offers 10 millisecond pause times, compared to the previous 30-milliseconds in worst-case scenarios.

By boosting performance and scalability through these combined products, BEA says it is putting Java in serious contention against C/C++ in applications such as City trading, arbitrage, online gaming, logistics, travel and manufacturing.

According to BEA, one UK financial services client lost $200,000 a day - until it used WebLogic Real Time - because of its inability to settle arbitrage in real time. "If your applications need to be measured in milliseconds, that's important," Guy Churchward, vice president of WebLogic products, said.

Weblogic Event Server and Real Time 2.0 are due this summer, along with the delayed WebLogic Server Virtual Edition - BEA's application server that cuts out the operating system by speaking to the server using a new BEA virtual machine and VMware's ESX hypervisor.

All three are part of BEA's strategy to juice up performance of Java in Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs) serving something that the buzzword-bingo boffins at Gartner call "extreme transaction processing" - or XTP. According to Gartner, SOA and multi channel, internet-enabled business models stretch plain old "transaction processing" to the extreme - geddit? Oracle this month at JavaOne announced its plan for a similar Event Driven Architecture (EDA) in its middleware. BEA claims Oracle is repackaging existing software, and that it is first to market.

WebLogic Event Server features 10,000 rules and supports 50,000 complex transactions per second, and uses the Event Processing Language (EPL) to extend SQL queries by defining the rules for handling the timing of different - but connected - events. That's served up in a version of BEA's application server with a 50MB download. WebLogic Real Time 2.0, meanwhile, also features a latency analyzer for analysis of applications.

While the CIO and CTO might buy into what BEA's offering, the challenge will lie in convincing C/C++ developers to switch to Java. BEA aims to entice developers through its WebLogic Workshop development environment, which supports Eclipse, and WebLogic Event Server's support for the open source Spring framework and running Plain Old Java Objects (POJOs).

Churchward expects BEA's platform will go into new applicationw, rather than replace existing C/C++ systems. Half of beta customers are in financial services, with the rest comprising airlines, governments and telcos. ®

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