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BEA Acquires IT Governance Vendor Flashline

by Miko Matsumura on Aug 23, 2006 |

BEA Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BEAS) announced it has acquired Flashline, Inc., which serves the Web Services and SOA metadata repository market. Flashline's repository will be a key component of the AquaLogic product family enabling tracking, governing and managing liquid assets in a common repository for sharing across multiple projects and measuring the resulting business value. The Flashline repository will become BEA AquaLogic Enterprise Repository and fulfill a strategic role as a critical component for providing a more unified environment for SOA.

"We continue to execute against the SOA vision we outlined one year ago, and remain focused on generating growth through a combination of enhancements that further our product roadmap and business objectives," says Rob Levy, executive vice president and chief technology officer, BEA Systems. "There is no question that a repository is a key enabler for SOA, and the Flashline repository will serve as the basis for providing a more unified environment for SOA."

The metadata repository is often cited as a critical component of SOA, providing a shared location to manage metadata, govern the asset lifecycle, and measure results. With growth in the SOA/Web services market, enterprises are increasingly looking toward repositories to provide visibility into their asset portfolios and optimize reuse.

Flashline, based in Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1998. Customers include Countrywide Home Loans, Sabre Holdings and Wells Fargo. Flashline's repository was first released in 2001 and is an award-winning metadata repository that provides enterprise-wide visibility into an organization's software assets to help reduce IT costs and improve business agility. Using Flashline's tracking and analytics, customers have demonstrated savings through reuse, aligned assets with architecture and business objectives, and improved governance of their IT programs such as SOA, enterprise architecture and software reuse. Flashline's employees, including founder and CEO Charles Stack, will remain in Cleveland and join the BEA AquaLogic business group.

The enterprise metadata repository capabilities of Flashline together with the industry leading UDDI service registry, BEA AquaLogicTM Service Registry, provide a complete metadata management solution. It gives BEA customers the capability to manage and govern the full SOA lifecycle, from planning and design through runtime and maintenance.

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Make sense of all the ESB activity by Frank Cohen

BEA buys Flash Line for AquaLogic, Tibco announces Matrix, Progress buys Actional... What does it all mean? -Frank

Re: Make sense of all the ESB activity by miko matsumura

Hi Frank,

Looks like the ESB vendors are beefing up by acquiring specialists. TIBCO acquired that AJAX company, but not much in the way of SOA as far as I know.

Any other interpretations out there?

The ESB seems to be "morphing" into a more general Complex Event Processing Distributed System, rather than an integration and reliable messaging fabric in my opinion. As a result, the development and runtime worlds are converging into a more distributed policy based development lifecycle.

Miko

Re: Make sense of all the ESB activity by Tyler Jewell

This is an important functional buy for BEA. Would love to know the inside details to better understand why those chose Flashline over other asset management or repository vendors in the SOA space, such as Infravio.

Asset management plays are getting a lot of visibility in the market. They provide discovery, control, remediation, reporting, and workflow on the process around documenting and modifying assets. In an SOA world, services are certainly assets, but require a different management cycle than say a production server asset management solution. In an SOA world, you have to control access to assets in multiple environments, handle the delivery / manage lifecycle, and establish some metrics for baselining reuse. Also, SOA services are shared in nature, so need mechanisms to help different teams manage conflicts or opportunities created as a result.

BEA's AquaLogic repository wasn't management or governance oriented, so this will be an important backbone for BEA to establish credibility on helping organizations support service development through all phases of the lifecycle. This will also give BEA some new competitors as there are many management firms (HP, CA, IBM, MSFT) that are making broader asset management plays, especially those initiatives centered around CMDBs. So, not quite sure howt he intersection of SOA repositories and IT-driven asset management strategies will play out.

Re: Make sense of all the ESB activity by miko matsumura

Hi Tyler!

Nice to see your comments.

I have inside details certainly in terms of Infravio, but of course "no comment" might be the best route for that. =)

Agree with your analysis re: asset management and the service lifecycle, but the SOA requirements go further into policy management, which Infravio is involved with.

It also gets into Enterprise Systems Management more than is covered by this one acquisition, a stronghold for those other vendors you mention.

My 1.5 cents
Miko

Re: Make sense of all the ESB activity by Stefan Tilkov

It's also interesting to note that BEA's AquaLogic Service Registry is actually an OEMed Systinet/Mercury/HP UDDI registry.

Re: Make sense of all the ESB activity by Frank Cohen

Thanks for the replies Tyler and Miko.

The Flashline purchase is a good one for BEA. The AquaLogic product line needed a repository to do registry functions within SOA environments. It's a solid "check-box" feature for AquaLogic. As far as helping the BEA business bring in more sales I'm less certain. Most SOA environments I see use a governance model to identify service endpoints. There are usually only a few of these endpoints. A repository is overkill for these environments. For environments that are big enough - for instance, a company with 1000 or more applications - then a repository makes great business sense.

-Frank Cohen
www.xquerynow.com
www.pushtotest.com

Re: Make sense of all the ESB activity by miko matsumura

Hi Frank,

In SOA, the term Registry is almost synonymous with UDDI, so it's pretty clear. Some muddle the issue by calling a UDDI Registry a "Registry Repository", which is a silly idea. Registries focus on references and links to things, whereas Repositories contain the things.

The problem with the word "Repository" is that it has not been so succinctly defined in the context of SOA. I think in terms of Service Lifecycle oriented repository products, you may be right to classify them according to the number of service endpoints.

But in terms of Policy and Policy Lifecycle, the more relevant dimension are the number of different organizational stakeholders involved--whether these be lifecycle stakeholders or organizational stakeholders in Enterprise or cross-enterprise SOA. An example of organizational stakeholders can be the participation of central IT folks as well as Business Unit IT folks.

I think Repositories come from all kinds of places including source code control systems, XML databases, and runtime configuration repositories. The kind that matter the most to large scale SOA are the Repositories that deal with governance policies. Of course the other repository types are also important and useful, but each is more focused on a single organizational or lifecycle stakeholder rather than on aligning multiple stakeholders.

Miko

Re: Make sense of all the ESB activity by Eric Roch

I agree, the vendors are filling out the RFP and analyst check boxes with these acquisitions. IBM, webMethods and now BEA all made similar buys.

Eric Roch

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