BEA claims scalable M3 middleware a first

Middleware market leader BEA has announced its object transaction manager (OTM), BEA M3, formerly code-named Project Iceberg. BEA claims M3 is the first and only production-ready OTM, which it describes as the next generation of middleware that can serve as a scalable, mission-critical application platform for the development and deployment of objects in the enterprise.

Middleware market leader BEA has announced its object transaction manager (OTM), BEA M3, formerly code-named Project Iceberg.

BEA claims M3 is the first and only production-ready OTM, which it describes as the next generation of middleware that can serve as a scalable, mission-critical application platform for the development and deployment of objects in the enterprise.

At a launch function in Sydney, BEA co-founder and chief technical officer Alfred Chuang said objects had not been widely deployed in mission-critical applications because customers lacked a sufficiently reliable software infrastructure that could scale for enterprise client-server applications and leverage existing computing investments.

M3 is designed to provide:

• Massive scalability, performance, load-balancing and administrative capabilities comparable with that of BEA's Tuxedo transaction processing monitor.

• Secure transaction processing.

• Highly available and manageable applications.

• Extensive legacy interoperability

• Secure Web and Internet connectivity

• Easy and extensive integration with leading development, testing and management tools.

Users will be able to implement applications inter-mixing Tuxedo transactions and M3 components. Chuang says that, as a result of this co-existence, corporate developers and horizontal software component developers can utilise procedural or component-based programming or incorporate both as needed.

"This dual approach enables IT managers to build object technology at their own pace without disrupting current environments.

"Previously, IT departments wanting the benefits that come from using components — reduced lifetime application cost, shortened development times and increased flexibility — had few choices.

"Companies often tried to retrofit existing object request brokers through extensive custom development. We believe BEA provides the scalable platform these enterprises have been looking for, along with the services and support they require, all in one complete package."

Customers will be able to use the common object request broker architecture (Corba) standard and enterprise Java beans (EJB) as component models for C++ and Java-based development. M3 also supports clients that use Microsoft ActiveX and COM-based technologies.

"Most people are still running mission-critical applications on the mainframe, probably in Cobol," says Chuang. "We're hoping with M3 to bring these together into a single technology."

He describes an OTM as a new level of platform. "We can't expect everyone to adopt technology at a high technical level. Business people should be building business applications."

To this end, M3 hides a lot of the complexity, handling object state and transaction management under the covers and thus allowing programmers to focus instead on creating the business logic of the specialised and differentiated applications they know best.

Chuang says there's an illusion in the market that by having Corba or COM, users are all set to program applications in the enterprise. "We think this is absolutely wrong. "Historically, object technology hasn't taken off because it is too hard to use and manage.

"The key is doing all the complex work in the background. That's why M3 was code-named Iceberg — 90% of the complexity was hidden.

"M3 enables the programmer to transparently and automatically manage components without worrying about the status of an object."

General availability worldwide is July 24 on Digital Unix, HP-UX, IBM AIX, Windows NT (Intel and Alpha) and Sun Solaris.

The US list price for an M3 reunite licence is $US395 per concurrent user, the same price as Tuxedo. The M3 developer kit costs $US2495. An existing Tuxedo customer can move to an integrated environment for $US200.

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