Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Aruna Ravichandran, Dalibor Siroky, Kevin Jackson, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

API Management for Obamacare and Healthcare.gov

For the uninitiated API here is a programming interface that represents just the server side of the Healthcare.gov functionality

It's not every day that you hear about a software project on public media, but NPR and other public outlets are covering the troubled rollout of the Healthcare.gov website nearly hourly. As a software professional, the problems I was hearing about are common in a large software project, where multiple pieces of the final product are built independently and then integrated together at the end.

API Management for Obamacare

We are in the Post-Website Era. APIs Can Help.

The practical problem here is that it is too easy for disparate contractors working on just their piece to even understand how the whole will fit together. In fact, the nature of computing and programming relies on this to some extent: Treating individual components as modules assumes a certain amount of ignorance on how inputs to one particular module are derived and where outputs are used in other parts of the system. This means developers can focus on making their piece meets the appropriate functional and non-functional requirements which makes them "cogs in the machine." All of them are performing essential functions, but can't see the forest for the trees. They can't step outside of their own cog.

API-Management-Cog-In-The-Machine

Multiple contractors can be a cog in the machine

This type of result can actually be predicted. In 1968, Computer Scientist Walter Conway described an assertion later known as Conway's Law:  "organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.

This implies that the resultant software system will inherit communication (or non-communication) properties of the organization that designed it. In this case if we had dozens of private contractors with inadequate communication, you will end up with a system not properly tested end-to-end, which is exactly what happened here. Further, testing  that occurs only ‘at the end' of a software project is reminiscent of a waterfall software model, which is great for designing nuclear missiles, but extremely bad for designing a dynamic, highly scalable software system with heavy user-interface and usability requirements like Healthcare.gov.

So what happened with Healthcare.gov? Reuters' technology review suggests that the core design problem with the Healthcare.gov website was not the scalability of the server-side architecture, but the sheer amount of client logic pushed down to the browser, citing 92 separate files and plugins, including over 50 JavaScript files. By design, this means that your experience on Healthcare.gov is not just a function of how the website was designed, but also the client processor power, memory and client side factors, not to mention your available network bandwidth and round-trip latency. In short, the current architecture of the website appears to place too much work, and consequently blame, on the client. This also means the website may work better for some if you have a beefier client system.

Before the public fiasco, I mused that an Obamacare API and an API Management architecture might be a good thing based on lowered expectations of a smooth rollout of Healthcare.gov. Now I think it's more than a good thing, API Management just might be a savior. How? Rather than build a user interface, the government should have made an API and had the contractors compete to build the best interface. Here, the API could be a RESTful API launched as an open API allowing anyone to take a crack at using it to make the best possible experience for the user. This architecture cleanly separates the concerns - the government runs the server side and manages the API, data and transactional services and someone else writes the client piece.

For the uninitiated, API here is a programming interface that represents just the server side of the Healthcare.gov functionality. The API would consist of a set of interfaces that provide all of the necessary data and transaction methods to allow a client consumer to purchase healthcare through the exchange. It could use well-established, highly scalable technologies such as an API Management Gateway for handling traffic and API Catalog and Developer on-boarding portal for on-boarding public and internal developers. For reference, Intel's API gateway can handle over 18 billion calls per month, per node. Moreover, the current technology offerings for a developer catalog and portal would effectively allow internal developers working at the government to compete with external developers to build the best user interface.

The best part about this approach is that the government would not have to worry about the user interface and client experience. This could be left up to people who know how to design great user interfaces and would open the way to making the Healthcare.gov application available not just through a browser, but with an HTML5 or native mobile application. This is a true win-win. The government won't be blamed for a bad website and consumers get the best possible experience.

API Management for Healthcare.gov

 

The post API Management for Obamacare and Healthcare.gov 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
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
For many of us laboring in the fields of digital transformation, 2017 was a year of high-intensity work and high-reward achievement. So we’re looking forward to a little breather over the end-of-year holiday season. But we’re going to have to get right back on the Continuous Delivery bullet train in 2018. Markets move too fast and customer expectations elevate too precipitously for businesses to rest on their laurels. Here’s a DevOps “to-do list” for 2018 that should be priorities for anyone w...
If testing environments are constantly unavailable and affected by outages, release timelines will be affected. You can use three metrics to measure stability events for specific environments and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
DevOps failure is a touchy subject with some, because DevOps is typically perceived as a way to avoid failure. As a result, when you fail in a DevOps practice, the situation can seem almost hopeless. However, just as a fail-fast business approach, or the “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile often proves, DevOps failures are actually a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practice into one that will lead you toward even...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also gener...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year. If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year. To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first ...
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up 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.
The Toyota Production System, a world-renowned production system is based on the "complete elimination of all waste". The "Toyota Way", grounded on continuous improvement dates to the 1860s. The methodology is widely proven to be successful yet there are still industries within and tangential to manufacturing struggling to adopt its core principles: Jidoka: a process should stop when an issue is identified prevents releasing defective products
We seem to run this cycle with every new technology that comes along. A good idea with practical applications is born, then both marketers and over-excited users start to declare it is the solution for all or our problems. Compliments of Gartner, we know it generally as “The Hype Cycle”, but each iteration is a little different. 2018’s flavor will be serverless computing, and by 2018, I mean starting now, but going most of next year, you’ll be sick of it. We are already seeing people write such...
Defining the term ‘monitoring’ is a difficult task considering the performance space has evolved significantly over the years. Lately, there has been a shift in the monitoring world, sparking a healthy debate regarding the definition and purpose of monitoring, through which a new term has emerged: observability. Some of that debate can be found in blogs by Charity Majors and Cindy Sridharan.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.