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In a move to bolster its service-oriented architecture tool set, BEA Systems has acquired Flashline.

The San Jose, Calif., company acquired Cleveland-based Flashline for its metadata repository and will incorporate that repository into the BEA AquaLogic family. The Flashline repository will become BEA AquaLogic Enterprise Repository and will be a complementary product to BEA’s AquaLogic Service Registry offering, which is the company’s UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) registry.

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal, except to say that the deal is closed.

Paul Patrick, BEA’s chief architect, said a complete SOA infrastructure environment requires both a registry and a repository. “When we announced the concept of a service infrastructure, we said the SOA infrastructure required a repository and a registry,” Patrick said. “Our UDDI registry combined with the AquaLogic Enterprise Repository creates a full, complete lifecycle view of the metadata,” giving BEA both design time and runtime governance capabilities, he said.

Rob Levy, BEA’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, said the metadata repository is a critical component of SOA, providing a shared location to manage metadata, govern the asset lifecycle and measure results.

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Charles Stack, founder and CEO of Flashline, said the Flashline repository helps customers gain visibility into their asset portfolios and optimize reuse. He said the technology helps customers “reuse, reduce and remix” assets. The reduction, he said is a reduction of risk. In addition, Stack said Flashline built a ROI (return-on-investment) monitor into the product.

“We built ROI into the product,” Stack said. “You can push a button and see how much time and money you have saved.”

Stack will remain with BEA as the leader of Flashline in Cleveland.

Flashline introduced its repository to the market in 2001; customers include Countrywide Home Loans, Sabre Holdings and Wells Fargo, Stack said.

Ronald Schmelzer, a Baltimore-based analyst with ZapThink, said he believes one of the obvious reasons for BEA’s acquisition of Flashline is that ever since Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of Mercury Interactive, which had acquired Systinet, “BEA was out searching for their answer to the metadata management/repository side of the SOA picture.”

The acquisition fills a gap because BEA had previously partnered with Systinet for its technology. Flashline addresses part of the overall metadata management problem by tracking, governing and managing liquid assets in a common repository, Schmelzer said.

However, the acquisition still leaves BEA lacking with regard to service metadata management and the registry, Schmelzer added.

“First off, other vendors like Infravio and LogicLibrary have a more comprehensive offering for the market for SOA metadata management, registry and governance than the Flashline offering, and, furthermore, Systinet, Infravio and LogicLibrary still maintain significant market share in the industry for those capabilities,” he said. “As such, BEA will have to play catch-up to add those capabilities or maintain their relationship with Systinet.”

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