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BEA: meet the new platform - same as the old platform

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BEAWorld Two years after encouraging us to "think liquid" and cooking up the "AquaLogic" brand, and 12 months after "SOA360" and the "microServices Architecture (mSA)", BEA Systems has a new vision, platform, buzzword: Genesis.

Announced today, Genesis "converges" BEA's existing AquaLogic SOA products, for business process management (BPM), and a set of social networking technologies BEA's been pushing for two years to capitalize on Web 2.0.

Opening the company's annual west-coast user conference, chief executive Alfred Chuang pledged a lot of hard work building on these by adding support for scripting languages, new rules engines for database structure mapping, and the ability for service providers to charge the end user.

There are no dates or roadmaps, though, just more of the same. "Much of the things you see here this morning exists at BEA today," Chuang said.

Chuang claimed Genesis would let non-technical users compose and build business applications using - you guessed it - mashups. Genesis will be "the first enterprise platform of its kind designed for hosted and operator providers, and the first to have user-based pricing."

He used BEAWorld to preside over a demonstration of Workspace 360, announced last year and delivered today as part of BEA AquaLogic Registry Repository 3.0, to build business processes using point and click instead of code.

Judging by the event, SOA - the drum BEA has been banging furiously for the past few years against Oracle and IBM - has been turned down, while the noise on social networking and what Chuang called "dynamic application infrastructures" is up in order to find a role for its middleware in the web 2.0 world and a middleware market under price pressure.

"SOA was never meant to be the final destination," Chuang explained. "We see a future where user driven applications will proliferate."

Such applications will replace monolithic, packaged software and business process re-engineering, both of which are expensive and slow to customize, according to Chuang. "I'm here to announce the era of innovating with traditional packaged applications is over," Chuang said.

While we're not buying it, it remains to be seen whether Wall St will accept this latest chapter in the marketing BEA calls a roadmap and execution plan. Analysts are exhibiting signs of frustration with BEA's performance, and let it be known they'd welcome either a change of management style or a change of management at BEA.

UBS analyst Heather Bellini last month called on BEA management to "fix execution challenges or allow someone to come in and improve shareholder value."®

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