BEA unveiled the industry's first native SOA platform, SOA 360. But the company left enough unanswered questions about its new platform to prompt one analyst to say there's still much explaining to do.

SOA 360 spans three BEA product families: Tuxedo, WebLogic, and AquaLogic and provides a "unifying methodology" for modelling, creating, developing, and deploying an SOA application using all of BEA's SOA products, said Rob Levy, executive vice president and CTO of BEA.

The platform features a collaborative tooling environment, called WorkSpace 360, and a common software architecture, dubbed mSA (microServices Architecture), that is based on SOA and the concept of a services network.

WorkSpace 360 allows users with different roles – such as the business analyst, enterprise architect, and developer – to collaborate.

mSA is an event-driven architecture that uses notification services to publish and discover modular components or "microServices." mSA will use industry protocols and standards such as OSGi (Open Services Gateway initiative), SOAP, WSDL, XML Schema, WS-Security, and SAML and will deliver backplane components, application frameworks, as well as activity, presentation, and infrastructure services. BEA wants all its products to use mSA by the end of 2008.

BEA revealed in March that it would make its WebLogic Server application server modular. The company now believes this approach can work for all its products, said Bill Roth, vice president of the BEA tools unit.

"Modularization will be a key design point for us, and ultimately [mSA] will have an effect across all of our products," Roth said.

But Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Current Analysis, found BEA's presentations "vague" about details such as what makes something mSA-enabled.

"There's just too many unanswered questions right now," Willett said.