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Liquid Computing Speeds Response Time
The vision of an agile enterprise depends on a service-oriented architecture framework to reduce complexity and change the economics of business computing.
by Kay Keppler

BEA eWorld, May 26, 2004

Liquid Computing, BEA Systems' vision of the future of enterprise development, means that projects should—and can—be completed faster, essentially in real time, according to Alfred Chuang, the company's CEO. "Projects that used to take years to complete can now be finished in months," he said at BEA's eWorld 2004 keynote address held Tuesday, May 25, in San Francisco. "We have to do more—move those completion times from months to minutes!"


He sees this happening through a convergence of messaging and message brokering—an endless dynamic sharing of resources across the distributed enterprise.

"To achieve this vision, we need three things: enterprise compatibility, active adaptability, and breakthrough productivity," Chuang said.

Originally code-named Project Sierra, Liquid Computing is BEA's effort to map the evolution of products to services and enable levels of access and insight that so far have been only a developer's dream.

"Our mission is to create an environment that entails freedom, flexibility, and process flow across all businesses, applications, and ecosystems," Chuang said. "We need a true compatibility that is inherently fluid, that supports a mobile workforce that enables true productivity—a system that adapts dynamically to resolve challenges."

The technical structure for this vision will be supported by a service-oriented architecture (SOA), Chuang said.

"Enterprise compatibility means a cheaper and more flexible structure than integration," Chuang said. "We all know about constant integration projects—those that do not withstand the test of time, those that require constant maintenance. Compatibility starts with SOA. Instead of wiring applications together, we can orchestrate them. It means extending beyond the BEA platform to achieve the seamless interoperability and transparency we need."

Chuang's goals for active adaptability mean that "IT systems will not just respond to business changes, they will anticipate changes," he said. "The biggest IT cost to an organization is not software, but the ongoing costs to enhance and maintain the applications after they're put into use. We are too accustomed to having the solution get more expensive after you buy it."

BEA's goal with Liquid Computing is to make changes simple, fast, and cheap. "The ultimate goal is to automate change," Chuang said. "SOA supports rapid change down the road. But to advance, we must be able to monitor and change in real time. We must be able to accommodate changes no one has predicted. We do that by building it into the architecture," Chuang said.

To achieve breakthrough productivity, Chuang said, businesses need to be agile. Business designs must be flexible to enable easy, rapid change. This will maximize time and money and faster cycle time from business need to production.

Project QuickSilver and Alchemy, BEA's technical initiatives still under development, as well BEA's new WebLogic Server Process Edition, which supports its Liquid Computing vision, are aimed toward building business technology by increasing responsiveness and reducing IT complexity and cost. "When we achieve this," Chuang said, "we will finally achieve our goal of flowing information anytime, anywhere, across any boundary."

About the Author
Kay Keppler is the editor of Java Pro.

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