|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.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, will discuss how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He will discuss how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Apr. 28, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,369
To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.
Apr. 28, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,766
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Apr. 28, 2017 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 8,971
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
Apr. 28, 2017 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 9,268
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Apr. 27, 2017 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,668
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Apr. 27, 2017 09:15 PM EDT Reads: 7,315
In large enterprises, environment provisioning and server provisioning account for a significant portion of the operations team's time. This often leaves users frustrated while they wait for these services. For instance, server provisioning can take several days and sometimes even weeks. At the same time, digital transformation means the need for server and environment provisioning is constantly growing. Organizations are adopting agile methodologies and software teams are increasing the speed ...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,418
Is your application too difficult to manage? Do changes take dozens of developers hundreds of hours to execute, and frequently result in downtime across all your site’s functions? It sounds like you have a monolith! A monolith is one of the three main software architectures that define most applications. Whether you’ve intentionally set out to create a monolith or not, it’s worth at least weighing the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches and deciding which one makes the most s...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,843
When you decide to launch a startup company, business advisors, counselors, bankers and armchair know-it-alls will tell you that the first thing you need to do is get funding. While there is some validity to that boilerplate piece of wisdom, the availability of and need for startup funding has gone through a dramatic transformation over the past decade, and the next few years will see even more of a shift. A perfect storm of events is causing this seismic shift. On the macroeconomic side this ...
Apr. 27, 2017 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 435
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability ...
Apr. 27, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,596
A Man in the Middle attack, or MITM, is a situation wherein a malicious entity can read/write data that is being transmitted between two or more systems (in most cases, between you and the website that you are surfing). MITMs are common in China, thanks to the “Great Cannon.” The “Great Cannon” is slightly different from the “The Great Firewall.” The firewall monitors web traffic moving in and out of China and blocks prohibited content. The Great Cannon, on the other hand, acts as a man in the...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 313
This recent research on cloud computing from the Register delves a little deeper than many of the "We're all adopting cloud!" surveys we've seen. They found that meaningful cloud adoption and the idea of the cloud-first enterprise are still not reality for many businesses. The Register's stats also show a more gradual cloud deployment trend over the past five years, not any sort of explosion. One important takeaway is that coherence across internal and external clouds is essential for IT right n...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,777
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
Apr. 27, 2017 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 742
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
Apr. 27, 2017 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,864
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,383
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Apr. 27, 2017 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 6,114
Software as a service (SaaS), one of the earliest and most successful cloud services, has reached mainstream status. According to Cisco, by 2019 more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud, up from 65 percent today. The majority of this traffic will be applications. Businesses of all sizes are adopting a variety of SaaS-based services – everything from collaboration tools to mission-critical commerce-oriented applications. The rise in SaaS usage has m...
Apr. 22, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 4,920
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, drew upon his own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He also discussed the implementation of microservices in data and application integrat...
Apr. 22, 2017 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 6,304
We'd all like to fulfill that "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" cliché. But in reality, every job (even if it's our dream job) comes with its downsides. For you, the constant fight against shadow IT might get on your last nerves. For your developer coworkers, infrastructure management is the roadblock that stands in the way of focusing on coding. As you watch more and more applications and processes move to the cloud, technology is coming to developers' rescue-most r...
Apr. 22, 2017 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,151
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
Apr. 22, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,658