Versata to Bring Java IDE to OS/400
March 9, 2004 Alex Woodie
OS/400 shops developing large-scale, transaction-intensive enterprise Java (J2EE) applications will soon have new tools from Versata to help them. Late last week the Oakland, California, company announced plans to support the iSeries with its Versata Logic Suite, a two-part product suite that combines Java development tools and runtime components that operate within IBM‘s WebSphere and BEA Systems‘ WebLogic application servers.
Versata is a publicly traded company focused on providing J2EE development tools for Fortune 1000 companies looking for a way to automate the handling of the business logic that drives their high transaction business systems. The company says its Versata Logic Suite reduces cost and eliminates the need for close-to-the-iron programmers by enabling analyst-level employees to design the company’s transaction and business process logic workflow, and then executing that workflow with its runtime component.
More than 200 companies have licensed Versata’s software, most recently a travel and real estate services provider, Cendant, which is replacing a legacy system for booking timeshare properties, and a subsidiary of one of Spain’s largest insurance companies, Costaisa, which is replacing a mainframe healthcare portfolio management system with one based on J2EE. The company has enjoyed success in the financial services industry, where JPMorganChase used Versata to build its Horizon risk management application, and Fiserv CBS Worldwide used Versata to build financial services applications. The largest J2EE application ever built, an ERP system developed by American Management Systems, is based on Versata’s middleware, a Versata official says.
Versata is developing OS/400 support for the Versata Logic Suite at the request of a customer in Germany, the official says. The official would not name the company and could not provide a timeline for OS/400 support.
Java is, and will continue to be, key to IBM’s long-term application development strategy for the OS/400 server. Most recently, Big Blue has introduced the “developer’s roadmap,” which encourages programmers to start small, by replacing their old editors with a newer WebSphere client. IBM and Versata have an OEM and services partnership, and the Versata Logic Suite could provide some key J2EE development pieces as OS/400 shops advance along the roadmap and phase out traditional RPG and COBOL business logic development with J2EE.
The Versata Logic Suite is composed of two parts: the Versata Logic Studio and the Versata Logic Server. Developers (which are analysts or business managers, in the Versata scheme of things) get started with the Logic Studio by defining their data model, or importing existing data models through a plug-in to IBM’s Rational Rose.
Separate design components, called the Transaction Logic Designer and the Process Logic Designer, help the user define the new business rules and processes. Once that is complete, the Logic Suite generates Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs) out of these designs, with up to a 98 percent automation rate, Versata say. At runtime, the Versata Logic Server includes separate transaction and process engines to execute the business rules within the WebSphere or WebLogic environment.
If you think Versata sounds like another generic code generator that hasn’t a prayer of holding a candle to transaction processing powered by traditional RPG development on the OS/400 platform, you might be right. But consider this: Versata says it has taken extensive steps to ensure the maximum level of performance, including object caching, “just in time” object instantiation, connection pooling, load balancing, and session failover.
In fact, benchmark results of an early version of the Versata Logic Server running on a 266 MHZ Windows NT server, configured with 512 MB of memory, provided some impressive results. Versata says the server supported 600 users, each sending an update transaction, of “medium complexity,” every 30 seconds, with an average response time of 1/10th of a second, and without any performance degradation. If you take that level of resource efficiency and combine it with the world’s most advanced Java virtual machine, found in OS/400, you might just have an application design environment worth talking about.