BEA’s Tuxedo Fitted with Web Services

Determined to keep one of its oldest products from going stale, BEA Systems Monday refreshed its Tuxedo transaction processing platform, giving it Web services capabilities.

George Gould, Director of Tuxedo Product Marketing, said although this is officially BEA Tuxedo 8.1, the platform is just as important as the original 8 release from 18 months ago because of its tighter integration with BEA’s mainstay WebLogic Server and BEA WebLogic Workshop platforms, and new commitment to Web services.

BEA Tuxedo is the backbone behind many of the technologies that people use on a daily basis, including phone calls, credit card transactions; package shipping and ticket purchases. Fund transfers between banks are also a common usage of Tuxedo. All of these, Gould declared, are now revealed as Web services. Gould said Federal Express uses Tuxedo as its core transaction platform, processing some 150 million credit card transactions per day. E*TRADE and Visa also use it, albeit to a lesser degree.

The new integration allows for improved Tuxedo administration and maintenance, such as new support for single sign-on and centralized authentication administration.

“We made the upgrades because customers asked for increased stability,” Gould said. “We’ve improved security administration, and added an abstraction layer to the processing. Tuxedo takes care of a lot of the heavy-lifting in the transaction process to preserve data integration.”

Sharon Ballard, analyst in the Telecom Software Strategies practice at research firm Yankee Group, said the additions to Tuxedo will make the product a nice upsell to service provider customers — old and new.

“The mantra among service providers this past year is to make the most of the network infrastructure they have,” Ballard said. “Service providers will be able to leverage Tuxedo for their legacy systems — they won’t have to rip and replace.”

Gould also said BEA added globalization features to Tuxedo, which is to say it now enables more language translations from keyboard to transaction processes. While the United States keyboards recognize Unicode and ASCII, more multibite capabilities are required for Asian languages. Tuxedo can now handle several different code sets, Gould said.

Born some 20 years ago in Bell Labs, Tuxedo was designed by AT&T for phone switching networks. It was later bought by Novell, who in turn sold it to BEA in 1996. Since that time, the product has become successful for San Jose, Calif. infrastructure software maker.

The product is well known for its ability to read many programming languages, including C, C++ and COBOL, which gives it some leverage for systems that recognize different languages.