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BEA to tempt developers with Essex server

WebLogic weight loss

Reducing security risks from open source software

Next year will see BEA Systems' first implementation of a slimmed down application server. Codenamed 'Essex', WebLogic Server version 10.3 will launch by March 2008 - BEA said at BEAWorld this week - and marks the debut of an architecture that lets developers remove modules they don't want prior to installation.

BEA promises a lightweight installer of 150Mb for the core WebLogic Server 10.3 application server, compared to today's 600Mb, which expands to 1.1Gb.

Developers will be able to unclick a series of check-boxes for extras like the WebLogic Server management console, UDDI and Xquery support, JDBC drivers, web server plug ins, and Beehive and Struts libraries that are currently thrown in.

The reduction is designed to enable faster download and installation, and allow for WebLogic Server installation on smaller PCs and servers.

In two years' time BEA will make it possible to boot-up only selected modules at runtime, for improved start-up and performance. This could mean the slimmer application server finds its way onto new products that have limited memory, power or processing capabilities, such as automotive devices.

Long-term, the BEA vision is that users can grab and download updates to the modules they want, rather than installing a completely new edition of WebLogic Server.

Underlying all of this is BEA's microServices Architecture (mSA), unveiled amid much hoopla at BEAWorld last year - but pretty much kicked to the sidelines at this year's event in favor of the hipper Genesis.

BEA says it has isolated and modularized 230 WebLogic component elements under mSA, using industry standards.

One goal of BEA's fat loss program is to attract developers who'd otherwise download the lightweight JBoss open source application server. Developers have given JBoss a leg-up to broader deployment inside many organizations. And this is challenging BEA's application server business.

Other features of WebLogic Server 10.3 include implementations of SAML 2.0 for single sign on, Microsoft and IBM's WS-Security and WS-Policy, Ajax and Dojo for rich internet clients, and an HTTP pub/sub engine so clients can run information feeds on a desktop without the user needing to hit the refresh button. ®

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