BEA Integrates Real-Time Information Across the Enterprise

BEA Systems Inc. has started shipping BEA Liquid Data for WebLogic, which provides real-time access to enterprise information from data sources, including databases, XML files, Web applications, legacy applications, and integration adapters. That means users can search emails, spreadsheets, databases, and other corporate data sources for information related to a specific project or topic, the company says. Liquid Data for WebLogic is intended to give users the benefit associated with a data warehouse, but takes much less time to develop since there is no need to extract data into a new repository. IDC analyst Michele Rosen says BEA's Liquid Data is likely to be attractive to developers since the product's aggregation capabilities eliminates the hassle of designing and building applications that require data from multiple sources. Built on Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), BEA Liquid Data uses extensible mark-up language (XML) technology as a way to aggregate and expose logical views of business information inside and outside firewalls, regardless of the location, format, or data source. The new product uses XQuery, an XML-based query technology that is designed to allow to query multiple disparate data sources across an enterprise and return XML results. BEA Liquid Data for WebLogic also extends BEA's application server, integration, and portal products by reducing the amount of custom development needed to access back-office systems. The company also claims that the new product provides a speedy way to access and aggregate information into a portal, and offers real-time information visibility to front-office applications, such as customer self-service portals, customer service and support, and supply chain applications. IDC's Rosen says the offering also shows that BEA is moving to expand beyond just being an application server vendor. "They've come out with a portal server and integration server, and [Liquid Data] is the latest along those lines. This paves the way for them to address data in an agnostic, heterogeneous way. This is a good step forward for them to put a stake in the ground. This represents another product for BEA to use to diversify its revenue streams," Rosen says. BEA's new product is not alone in its attempts to solve the long-standing problem of data integration and how to quickly find and access data regardless of its format and location. With the data integration market expected to reach $7.5 billion in annual revenue in 2003, according to market researcher IDC, software heavyweights are also trying to solve this problem. IBM is working on Xperanto, a data-integration technology that works with its DB2 database. Microsoft is developing an updated version of its SQL Server database, code-named Yukon, which integrates data from multiple sources and lets users query that data as if it resided in a single data repository. That same technology is expected to be included next year in the next major version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, code-named Longhorn. BEA also announced that Cap Gemini Ernst & Young will be the first systems integrator to offer training, education, and comarketing activities around BEA Liquid Data for WebLogic.
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