|By Application Security||
|October 18, 2013 06:55 PM EDT||
Why should you think of API management as a platform? Because it’s becoming one of the most prodigious and important aspects of how Enterprises of all sizes participate in the digital economy.Keeping in line with the standard platform technology definition, an API management platform supports the deployment of Enterprise APIs without the introduction and expense of a new process or technology. A platform allows the management of APIs as a first class citizen for the Enterprise.
To date, many of the discussions around API management from vendors and analysts alike have been very technology or implementation focused. This is understandable as APIs tend to appeal to a technical audience. The details are great but sometimes it is worthwhile to step back and look at general capabilities.
If we take the wider view, what sort of capabilities or functional modules should an API Management platform have?
Gartner’s Eric Knipp released new research last week that begins to define API management as a complete platform. The research is entitled Run and Evolve a Great Web API with API Management Capabilities. Not everyone will have a Gartner subscription, but I think this research will be one of the most important for Enterprises looking to deploy API management due to the breadth of material it covers.
In this research note, Eric is one of the first analysts to describe a comprehensive set of capabilities for API Management.
API Management Platform Capabilities
He breaks the topic into four categories which he calls (i) enable developers, (ii) manage the API life cycle, (iii) communicate securely, reliably, and flexibly, and (iv) measure improve business value.
Enabling developers includes all aspects of managing API metadata, the API catalog, community management, and also includes interesting capabilities such as developer API customization which is an advanced concept that really puts the developer in control of the API. Here the developer can morph the interface to their liking, allowing the consumer to effectively participate in the interface design. It really puts the developer at the center of how data is accessed. Also, this category expands the discussion to include the notion of SDKs and sample code that developers can directly incorporate, moving one step beyond just providing interfaces definitions.
Managing the API Life cycle includes how APIs are published, how versioning is handled as well as changes and issue tracking. For example, an API management platform needs to have CRM capabilities and ticket tracking, truly treating the developers as customers.
Communicate Securely, Reliably, and Flexibly includes all aspects of surfacing APIs from legacy systems, scaling traffic, handling authentication, SLAs, building service orchestrations, and providing threat defense and data privacy. This is the largest category in terms of the sheer number of capabilities and approximates the “runtime”or “traffic’ portions of moving data in and out of interfaces.
Measure and Improve Business Value includes all the capabilities needed to relate APIs to the business as well as measuring uptime, activity, user auditing, contracts and terms of service, and SLA monitoring. This generic set of capabilities answers the questions: Is my API providing value? Is it up and running? How are business relationships maintained?
One of the merits of this article is that it does a great job of outlining precise requirements without diving into specific implementation choices. As with most things that involve software and technology, implementations can have different physical instantiations but still support a consistent set of common capabilities. Talking in capabilities allows decision makers to stay out of technology “rat holes” that can color and bias business decisions.
Long Live APIs
This research note advances the discussion around API management by widening its scope and purpose, moving it from a technology discussion to a capability and platform discussion. Early in the article Eric widens the definition of APIs.
He explicitly covers messaging APIs, SOAP APIs and custom APIs in addition to RESTful APIs. I think this move is absolutely correct. Not only does it more closely approach the original definition of the term, but it matches well with the idea of subsuming the older SOA terminology to militate under a new banner of APIs, similar to a previously article I wrote on the subject, Long Live API Management.
We are only killing the name, not the act of service enablement. Eric’s article seems to represent APIs as big concept, including the full suite of programmatic access whether realized as REST, JSON, XMLSOAP, XML-RPC, Messsage-Oriented-Middleware (MOM), FTP and file protocols, as well as (correctly) broadening the definition to include software development kits and sample code. One can even go as far as to say any programmatic interface is an API – and voila, APIs are regaining their original definition as a true application programming interface. The lesson here is to ditch the jargon and apply what works for the Enterprise.
Eric also makes some statements around APIs a universal tunnel to the Enterprise and correctly describes them as follows: “As a programmatic channel into your enterprise, it is critical that you identify and address any attacks or misuse of your API”.
This critical point highlights the importance of APIs moving forward, if businesses like Expedia are doing 80% of their revenue through APIs, it’s APIs that are the front door to your Enterprise, and by implication, apps that send and receive data over this channel, – not necessarily the website.
Attackers always look for the weakest link, and APIs are largely wide-open at this point. Many of the existing 30,000+ APIs in the wild have been optimized for rapid adoption and bolstering a developer ecosystem, not for protecting Enterprise assets.
This is why APIs need rock-solid, bulletproof API management for increased protection.
APIs and Data Protection
Eric also mentions encryption under the data privacy category and talks about both transport level security and message level security. To expand the discussion here we can also add things like JSON message level security, format preserving encryption and even the “ancient” WS-Security/XML Security protection mechanisms here. I was also excited to see the inclusion of data masking. Eric describes this as two-way, which I think is the correct approach though my terminology would be different as we use the term tokenization here, but the concept is the same. The distinctions we use in our product line include redaction (for one-way removal of sensitive information) and tokenization, to indicate a reversible mechanism for replacing plaintext with a surrogate.
I can’t reproduce Eric’s entire article here, but it’s definitely worth a read and matches what we are hearing from Enterprises today – it’s about understanding and supporting the breadth of capabilities.
If you’d like more information on Intel’s API Management products, please visit our website.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 27, 2017 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,001
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
Mar. 26, 2017 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 7,572
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Mar. 26, 2017 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 9,590
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
Mar. 26, 2017 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,803
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, explored HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Mar. 26, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 10,544
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Mar. 26, 2017 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 8,517
Everyone wants to use containers, but monitoring containers is hard. New ephemeral architecture introduces new challenges in how monitoring tools need to monitor and visualize containers, so your team can make sense of everything. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, David Gildeh, co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, will go through the challenges and show there is light at the end of the tunnel if you use the right tools and understand what you need to be monitoring to successfully use containers in your...
Mar. 26, 2017 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,579
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Mar. 26, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,917
The IT industry is undergoing a significant evolution to keep up with cloud application demand. We see this happening as a mindset shift, from traditional IT teams to more well-rounded, cloud-focused job roles. The IT industry has become so cloud-minded that Gartner predicts that by 2020, this cloud shift will impact more than $1 trillion of global IT spending. This shift, however, has left some IT professionals feeling a little anxious about what lies ahead. The good news is that cloud computin...
Mar. 26, 2017 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,261
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 26, 2017 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,913
An overall theme of Cloud computing and the specific practices within it is fundamentally one of automation. The core value of technology is to continually automate low level procedures to free up people to work on more value add activities, ultimately leading to the utopian goal of full Autonomic Computing. For example a great way to define your plan for DevOps tool chain adoption is through this lens. In this TechTarget article they outline a simple maturity model for planning this.
Mar. 26, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,292
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations might...
Mar. 26, 2017 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 6,185
The rise of containers and microservices has skyrocketed the rate at which new applications are moved into production environments today. While developers have been deploying containers to speed up the development processes for some time, there still remain challenges with running microservices efficiently. Most existing IT monitoring tools don’t actually maintain visibility into the containers that make up microservices. As those container applications move into production, some IT operations t...
Mar. 26, 2017 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,970
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
Mar. 25, 2017 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,645
Software development is a moving target. You have to keep your eye on trends in the tech space that haven’t even happened yet just to stay current. Consider what’s happened with augmented reality (AR) in this year alone. If you said you were working on an AR app in 2015, you might have gotten a lot of blank stares or jokes about Google Glass. Then Pokémon GO happened. Like AR, the trends listed below have been building steam for some time, but they’ll be taking off in surprising new directions b...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,839
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
Mar. 25, 2017 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 10,341
After more than five years of DevOps, definitions are evolving, boundaries are expanding, ‘unicorns’ are no longer rare, enterprises are on board, and pundits are moving on. Can we now look at an evolution of DevOps? Should we? Is the foundation of DevOps ‘done’, or is there still too much left to do? What is mature, and what is still missing? What does the next 5 years of DevOps look like? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by DevOps Summit Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists l...
Mar. 25, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 9,787
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership abi...
Mar. 25, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 11,009
The essence of cloud computing is that all consumable IT resources are delivered as services. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, demonstrated the concepts and implementations of two important cloud computing deliveries: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). He discussed from business and technical viewpoints what exactly they are, why we care, how they are different and in what ways, and the strategies for IT to transi...
Mar. 25, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,118
Thanks to Docker and the DevOps revolution, microservices have emerged as the new way to build and deploy applications — and there are plenty of great reasons to embrace the microservices trend. If you are going to adopt microservices, you also have to understand that microservice architectures have many moving parts. When it comes to incident management, this presents an important difference between microservices and monolithic architectures. More moving parts mean more complexity to monitor an...
Mar. 25, 2017 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,397