Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Flint Brenton

Blog Feed Post

API Management as a Platform

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.

API Management as a Platform

In J.K. Rowling’s novel “Harry Potter”, choosing the right platform makes all the difference.

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 CapabilitiesNot 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.

The post API Management as a Platform appeared first on Application Security.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Application Security

This blog references our expert posts on application and web services security.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Learn how to solve the problem of keeping files in sync between multiple Docker containers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Aaron Brongersma, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Modulus, discussed using rsync, GlusterFS, EBS and Bit Torrent Sync. He broke down the tools that are needed to help create a seamless user experience. In the end, can we have an environment where we can easily move Docker containers, servers, and volumes without impacting our applications? He shared his results so yo...
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.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
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...
You often hear the two titles of "DevOps" and "Immutable Infrastructure" used independently. In his session at DevOps Summit, John Willis, Technical Evangelist for Docker, covered the union between the two topics and why this is important. He provided an overview of Immutable Infrastructure then showed how an Immutable Continuous Delivery pipeline can be applied as a best practice for "DevOps." He ended the session with some interesting case study examples.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...