Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Automic Blog, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Feed Post

Rise of the Thing - Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is giving rise to a whole new set of protocols for API access

Here are some predictions for the API space for 2014:

Rise of the Client
It's generally agreed that an API is only as good as the clients which use it. An unused API is a failure. So that's why it's odd that so much attention has focused on the server side of APIs, with comparatively little attention paid to the client side (there are exceptions though, like Runscope's handy Request Editor and hurl.it, to help developer API clients).

If you ask an API provider about how their API is going to be called by clients, often you are met with a hand-wavy answer along the lines of "It's REST, so it's easy". While it may be true that it's easy to hack together a client to call the API that "just works", the problem is that that's all it does. It "just works", but doesn't provide the high-level benefits such as:
- Ensuring the API is responding according to your expected service level
- A broker layer so that you're not locked into any particular API provider, or:
- API orchestration

At Axway we've seen that our API Gateway is frequently used at the Client Side, adding a layer of visibility and control to API usage from the client's point of view, as well as providing an independent audit log of API usage, separate from the logs provided by the API provider. All of this points to the rise of the client.

Another major factor involving the rise of the important of the API client is raft of new protocols associated with Machine-to-Machine API access, used in smart-meter or "connected car" environments for example. Which leads us nicely on to the next prediction...

Rise of the Thing
(hat-tip to Zahid Ghadialy from EE for this title, taken from his excellent recent presentation)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is giving rise to a whole new set of protocols for API access. Until recently, it was taken for granted that JSON is all-conquering and predominant. In my view, the popularly of JSON for APIs is as much to do with the widespread usage of dynamic languages on the client side (JavaScript in particular, of course) as it is to do with the smaller size of JSON relative to XML.

In the word of IoT, with embedded devices on the client and greater bandwidth constraints, it's not the case that clients will always be JavaScript based and expecting JSON. In IoT, we see MQTT, CoAP, and AMQP. All different, but all existing to deal with the low-latency and message size constraints of IoT devices. In this case, it isn't possible to simply throw together a REST client with JavaScript on the client - the result would be hopelessly inefficient since even JSON is too verbose. Ironically, with the IoT standards we are back to binary encoding, something I wrote about (BER encoding for XML) way back in 2002.

I would also watch Google's Protocol Buffer, which with protobuf.js provides JavaScript without the JSON size overhead.

Going Meta
In the world of SOA, we saw that each Web Service could be associated with metadata expressed using WS-PolicyAttachment with WSDL. The mention of any WS-* specification is enough to make anyone cringe, but in the case of SOA, at least there were standards for attaching meta-data to services.

In the case of APIs, we have sites such as ProgrammableWeb which provide human-readable information about APIs. But this is not the same as machine-readable information which a client can consume, conveying information how to call the API, security tokens (e.g. OAuth 2.0 Access Token) required, and expected response times.

Ole Lensmar wrote a great round-up of the API metadata options, back in the summer (now you would add RAML to this list). For Enterprise APIs, with security and quality-of-service requirements, I expect API metadata to grow in importance in 2014.

Traditional and API-based Integration continue to converge
Axway got a jump on this trend back in late 2012, with the acquisition of Vordel. In fact, at the time of the Vordel acquisition, Kin Lane foretold that "I predict in 2013-2015 we are going to see more of these types of acquisitions occurring. Large software companies are going to need a robust set of API tools to bring legacy systems into the modern, API driven economy." And how right he was! 2013 saw a slew of further acquisitions. I would hope that my predictions could be as accurate as Kin's.

There is clearly a need to take advantage of API-based integration, but in tandem with more traditional integration technologies. It's not a case of "either/or". Here at Axway, with API-based integration incorporated into our portfolio, we provide customers with a single suite solution covering B2B, APIs, managed file transfer, and even email security. In 2014, APIs will not be an isolated "new new thing", but will be working in tandem with traditional integration technologies.

SOA and APIs no longer adversarial
Paolo Malinverno from Gartner likes to say that "When people talk about APIs and Services, 99% of the time they are talking about the same thing". One of the big take-aways of the recent Gartner AADI conference was that we've gotten over the adversarial talk of "SOA versus APIs" and now there is a realization that they are linked. The linkage goes both ways. For example, APIs can be built on SOA principles (loosely-coupled, abstracting underlying implementation details), and SOA architecture itself can be used to manage APIs. Ideas from SOA, such as management of service meta-data in a repository, find new life in API Management with customizable API Catalogs in API Developer Portals.

In 2014, I expect to see more healthy realization that SOA principles are complimentary to API Management,

More API Breaches
Finally, on a less positive note, I believe we will see more successful attacks on APIs. In 2013 we had the attack on Buffer's API and, just last week, the attack on Snapchat's API. Earlier in the year we saw DoS attacks on banking websites which also brought down Web APIs (resulting in some banking mobile apps becoming unusable). One of the key things which API Gateways do is to protect APIs from attack. Of course, they also provide more positive advantages like API Quota Management, caching, and REST-SOAP transformation. But, with growing awareness of API breaches, the security factor will grow in 2014.

Happy 2014 everyone!

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
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, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Let's recap what we learned from the previous chapters in the series: episode 1 and episode 2. We learned that a good rollback mechanism cannot be designed without having an intimate knowledge of the application architecture, the nature of your components and their dependencies. Now that we know what we have to restore and in which order, the question is how?
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Large enterprises today are juggling an enormous variety of network equipment. Business users are asking for specific network throughput guarantees when it comes to their critical applications, legal departments require compliance with mandated regulatory frameworks, and operations are asked to do more with shrinking budgets. All these requirements do not easily align with existing network architectures; hence, network operators are continuously faced with a slew of granular parameter change req...
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...