BPEL battle

Tod Nielsen, a former BEA Systems marketing exec who defected to Oracle, is now bad-mouthing his old employer. Well, sort of.

Tod Nielsen, a former BEA Systems marketing exec who defected to Oracle, is now bad-mouthing his old employer. Well, sort of. Actually, he's just suggesting that BEA's BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) capabilities are not up to snuff. BPEL, the specification for orchestration of processes in SOAs, is considered one of the next battle grounds for companies jockeying for position in the SOA arena.  

"Today, BEA doesn’t have BPEL support," Nielsen said at the recent Oracle OpenWorld conference. However, he claimed Oracle's BPEL Process Manager tool can work with the BEA WebLogic Server application server. 

BEA quickly fired back. Bill Roth, BEA vice president of solutions and product marketing, said BEA supports BPEL in its WebLogic Integration product. But also argued that no firm standard yet exists. "I think our position is that frankly, Oracle's making too much of BPEL," he said. "Sure, it’s a useful way of orchestration. [But] the fact of the matter is that BPEL has been approved by absolutely no standards body...We're grateful that the Oracle folks aren’t as familiar with our product as they should be."

BPEL has been submitted to the technical committee of OASIS, a web services standards organization. However, no final standard is yet in place. "The important thing is [BPEL is] not done yet and while we look at BPEL as a promising development, Oracle users are taking a huge risk by developing on BPEL 1.1 and getting locked into something that they think is standard but isn't," Roth said, noting that the feature set could still change.

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