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BEA upgrades Java server software

The company delivers the first components of an important release of its Java server software and drops the price of its entry-level Java server product.

BEA Systems released on Monday the first components of an important upgrade to its Java server software and lowered the price of its entry-level Java server product.

The upgrade is for BEA's WebLogic Platform, a suite of server software programs and a development tool for building custom business applications with Java. Version 8.1 of WebLogic Platform is a key release in BEA's strategy for gaining market share in the highly competitive market for Java application servers, according to the company.

Version 8.1 of two components--WebLogic Server and BEA's JRockit virtual machine--are available now. This summer, the company will finalize the follow-on components to WebLogic Platform 8.1, including integration software, a portal and its development tool called WebLogic Workshop.

The price for the regular edition of the WebLogic Server stays the same at $10,000 per processor, but the company has lowered the introductory price of its lower-level product, said Eric Stahl, director of product marketing at BEA.

In February, BEA unveiled WebLogic Express, which is targeted at departments of larger companies that need a relatively simple Web application server to store and share Web documents.

BEA has lowered the price of WebLogic Express from $694 per processor to $495 per processor, according to Stahl.

WebLogic Express competes with a similar stripped-down version of IBM's WebSphere Java application server. Freely available open-source application servers, notably Tomcat and JBoss, are also gaining interest from programmers and some companies.

BEA has kept the price steady at $4,000 per processor for its WebLogic Workgroup, a version of the application server geared for more demanding applications that access corporate databases. Unlike the regular edition of WebLogic Server, WebLogic Workgroup is limited to use by 20 people.

The JRockit virtual machine, which tunes the performance of Java applications for particular chips and operating systems, is available for free download.