BEA claims first ORB middleware deployment

Corba has been a developers' playground till now, says Greg Noel, BEA manager advanced services group Europe. He says BEA's Iceberg middleware, due for release mid-year, will be the first deployment of an ORB (object request broker) rather than a development ORB. "The ORB market needs to move to a deployment perspective."

Corba has been a developers’ playground till now, says Greg Noel, BEA manager advanced services group Europe.

He says BEA’s Iceberg middleware, due for release mid-year, will be the first deployment of an ORB (object request broker) rather than a development ORB.

“The ORB market needs to move to a deployment perspective.”

Iceberg will provide an object flavour on top of BEA’s traditional Tuxedo middleware engine.

Noel says it’s about the convergence of enterprise semantics.

“We’re doing it as a microkernel approach to the world, with small services in the microkernel, and personalities on top. We see three of them on the Tuxedo kernel:

•The X/Open standard ATMI for transaction processing monitors, with a service request broker.

•The Corba standard.

•Emerging MOM (message-oriented middleware) standards.”

The latter are expected to become part of Corba 3.0.

Noel says most ORBs follow M times N — for example, five clients times 10 services, giving 50 connections. “But we’ve found this doesn’t work because it doesn’t make the system scalable.

“We support M plus N, where five clients connect to a concentrator, which connects to servers.”

Iceberg will also support the portable object adapter. “Till now, there’ve been very ambiguous policies, where it was left largely up to the vendor. That was the Corba 1.0 standard.

“Our port in Corba 2.2 supports interoperable object reference, with the ID controlled by the developer.

“This moves it to the foreground and gives a lot more control over connection to the ORB.”

He says BEA is targeting near-Tuxedo performance with Iceberg.

“You go that way to get statelessness, with Corba standards and access to modern languages and tools.

“The object model allows for reuse and allows you to build components.

“The design firewall hides complexity and elevates the interface to a high level so you can be very agile. You’re not tied to the database.”

He says the problem till now has been that ORBs weren’t scalable. “We’re taking Tuxedo and putting a veneer of the Corba standard on top.

“Components are not so much reusable as relocatable. You want to be able to -describe things in your semantics and

you want as little network traffic as possible.”

The Department of Social Welfare has bought Tuxedo — and will implement Iceberg — for its redevelopment of the core Swiftt benefits system.

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