|By Roberto Medrano||
|January 21, 2014 09:19 AM EST||
When we made our 2013 predictions for the realm of APIs, our premise was that API adoption and use was still a relatively nascent area, but one about to explode once smart people figured out its potential. We were certainly spot-on in that regard, but few believed us when we suggested that the API Economy was about to get as vibrant as it did. It may be safe to say that 2013 was the year that APIs really caught the business world's attention.
In these past 12 months, we've seen major acquisitions of API enablement companies, new industry conferences dedicated to the business of APIs, and talk of API management is on the lips of leading business executives. Untold billions of dollars have been transacted, all enabled by APIs, and innovation is making the world an easier place to transact as a result of applications, mash-ups and APIs. As we predicted, the discussion and decision-making about how to use APIs to increase customer and user engagement through channels has moved to now include both the technical and business sides of an organization.
It's quite clear that APIs are getting the attention they deserve and that smart business people recognize that their companies and organizations had either take advantage of what APIs have to offer, or await the fate of rapid obsolescence. In 2014, we are going to see a huge leap forward in how APIs are put to use to drive innovation and help organizations be more efficient and profitable. In some cases this will happen on top of existing technologies and business practices. But the fun will happen because of the innovation that will come out of all that API development. One could say that the streets have been paved, and now it's time to start putting people on the road. We see these as the key trends for the coming year:
Cloud and Mobile = API Ownership: We see more IT and product development teams dedicated to API development to create and extend applications on top of, and through, cloud, SaaS and mobile. The reason is the realization that cloud is not just a platform, but an enabler. And when APIs work through the cloud, their ability to connect and deliver is made exponentially easier than having to do it through traditional platforms. Even with all the talk of the API Economy, many IT organizations neglected the capabilities of APIs. Call it the "Big Wake Up," perhaps, but there are dramatic efforts being made to ensure that organizations use the tools at their disposal to leverage cloud and mobile to create ecosystems of stakeholders.
Rapid Channel Development: Until now, APIs have been seen as a mechanism to get eyeballs and users. In 2014, APIs will be recognized for their ability to drive channels of partners, users, customers and all types of stakeholders. This will put them into an ecosystem of people and organizations that encourage more business connectivity and transactions. The term "API Economy" has seemed to many like a marketing brand, but when they put together the pieces to develop revenue-generating channels through strategic API management, they'll see that truly, an economy forms as a result of the simple work of this software tool.
Massive API adoption: In 2013, a lot of new faces were talking about APIs and how they would use them, but it still remained primarily the domain of the big brands (Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc.). But the business imperatives are clear and undeniable - businesses that want to grow and leverage the work of partners and others in their ecosystem will begin API development and adoption. We're starting to see it more and more in major industries like retail, transportation, telco and finance, and smart organizations recognize that the best way to increase reach and profit is by developing and executing an accessible API strategy.
The continued app explosion: Use of Web sites as a vehicle for content, commerce and data may not decrease anytime soon, but there is a massive rise in the use of apps to acquire information and perform transactions. Our customers are creating unique applications made up of vast networks of functionality from partners and other stakeholders. The thing that enables this interconnectivity among apps is APIs. We are going to see a much heavier emphasis on apps because of the competitive advantage they offer: data can be customized and optimized, depending on the user need. And APIs will be driving this.
SOA and APIs - together again (and always): SOA started the whole thing, and it continues to be a services foundation. But at the end of the day, all we're trying to do is connect data and services. Operationally there are not many differences between APIs and SOA, but in practice, we see APIs being adopted at a fast rate, mainly because of their flexibility, openness, and ease of integration. We are going to see more recognition that SOA and APIs are complementary, and that for one to be successful, the other needs to be used. Organizations with a strong SOA foundation will recognize the ease with which they can extend services through development of APIs.
Software-defined datacenters will rely on APIs: Big Data, cloud, virtualization; the buzzwords are, in fact, very real, but they also can only exist if there's organization to how they're accessed, used and managed. So in order to enable organizations to make use of the massive amounts of data available to them, they rely on software-driven controllers that manage the hardware that stores, integrates and transports all this data and makes it available. That alone is impressive. But where things will get interesting in 2014 is with smart organizations adopting an API-based platform for their datacenters so they can realize cost and resource efficiencies from their cloud initiatives, and gain greater control of their infrastructure resources. They will recognize a higher degree of security optimization and a more measured approach to risk management.
APIs drive mobile apps: We're seeing massive usage numbers for APIs (both by users and developers), and we're seeing much of that usage recently being focused on translation and integration of data for mobile devices. We suspect that there will an increased focus among developers to use APIs to bring apps to users' smart phones and tablets, and that this will rise to the top of the "to do" list of many CIOs. Users are demanding it more than ever, and APIs are enabling a much faster path to all that data. With the right levels of security and management, we are going to see enterprises dramatically increase connection points with customers and partners, as well as the financial upside that comes with that.
API security will take center stage: APIs are enabling a mind-boggling amount of data to be transmitted around the Web. Ensuring that all those transactions happen securely and can be managed effectively will result in a much deeper focus on API security. Consider too the implications of the recent NSA spying imbroglio and some well-publicized corporate security leaks that happened during 2013. The rub is no longer between whether or not to let others access your data through APIs - it's clear that progressive companies NEED to do that. The focus now will be on securing that data.
Internet of Things will become the API of Things: IoT is rapidly becoming THE buzz-term-du-jour, but it implies a vastly different way of conducting business, both personal and enterprise. It dramatically changes the customer experience, and that experience IS the company's brand. At the heart of the IoT concept is really just a bunch of APIs connecting with each other and benefitting from the idea of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. For all those things to be connected, they need a common tool to open the door and allow data to be moved and acted on. But to benefit from IoT, APIs will need to be created, distributed and used intelligently and according to smart business strategies. In 2014, we'll see that companies who distribute their APIs widely, and use their APIs as a data channel (and not just as a tool for getting more eyeballs) will benefit most. In the coming year, the bandwagon will get very, very crowded, as consumer companies will try to leverage their internal and enterprise data into something usable and accessible. That bandwagon will also be filled with some incredibly interesting business opportunities.
Industry-specific APIs: We see that, as a way to leverage the work being done by others in a vertical, companies will look to use APIs to create massively connected apps and mash-ups. So rather than just a banking app, it's more powerful to create an app that combines the comprehensive needs of someone needing a loan: application, credit report, financing, delivery, all combined into a single app. Whereas some might have been leery of combining their capabilities with those of competitors, they are starting to recognize that serving the customer with the best experience is what is most beneficial to their business. Nothing can enable that as efficiently as an API, and the recognition of such is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Evolution of REST (and beyond): We have long been proponents of REST as a protocol for facilitating connections among data and services, but we're also aware of its limitations. We expect to see the emergence of new standards like WADL, Swagger, RAML and others, all due to their flexibility and that these will fill in holes left by REST and the deficiencies it has with defining service descriptions. We also will see REST being replaced by MQTT for specific use case in Mobile and IoT and with Web sockets for real time applications. In all these cases you will need to apply the SOA governance principles as you do today for SOA and APIs.
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
May. 6, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,184
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
May. 6, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,524
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
May. 6, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,399
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
May. 6, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,239
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at Sapphire Ventures Next-Gen Tech Stack Forum in San Francisco. Obviously, I was excited to join the discussion, but as a participant the event crystallized not only where the larger software development market is relative to microservices, container technologies (like Docker), continuous integration and deployment; but also provided insight into where DevOps is heading in the coming years.
May. 6, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 300
Wow, if you ever wanted to learn about Rugged DevOps (some call it DevSecOps), sit down for a spell with Shannon Lietz, Ian Allison and Scott Kennedy from Intuit. We discussed a number of important topics including internal war games, culture hacking, gamification of Rugged DevOps and starting as a small team. There are 100 gold nuggets in this conversation for novices and experts alike.
May. 6, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,077
The notion of customer journeys, of course, are central to the digital marketer’s playbook. Clearly, enterprises should focus their digital efforts on such journeys, as they represent customer interactions over time. But making customer journeys the centerpiece of the enterprise architecture, however, leaves more questions than answers. The challenge arises when EAs consider the context of the customer journey in the overall architecture as well as the architectural elements that make up each...
May. 6, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,111
In a crowded world of popular computer languages, platforms and ecosystems, Node.js is one of the hottest. According to w3techs.com, Node.js usage has gone up 241 percent in the last year alone. Retailers have taken notice and are implementing it on many levels. I am going to share the basics of Node.js, and discuss why retailers are using it to reduce page load times and improve server efficiency. I’ll talk about similar developments such as Docker and microservices, and look at several compani...
May. 6, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 984
Admittedly, two years ago I was a bulk contributor to the DevOps noise with conversations rooted in the movement around culture, principles, and goals. And while all of these elements of DevOps environments are important, I’ve found that the biggest challenge now is a lack of understanding as to why DevOps is beneficial. It’s getting the wheels going, or just taking the next step. The best way to start on the road to change is to take a look at the companies that have already made great headway ...
May. 6, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 561
In 2006, Martin Fowler posted his now famous essay on Continuous Integration. Looking back, what seemed revolutionary, radical or just plain crazy is now common, pedestrian and "just what you do." I love it. Back then, building and releasing software was a real pain. Integration was something you did at the end, after code complete, and we didn't know how long it would take. Some people may recall how we, as an industry, spent a massive amount of time integrating code from one team with another...
May. 6, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,173
From the conception of Docker containers to the unfolding microservices revolution we see today, here is a brief history of what I like to call 'containerology'. In 2013, we were solidly in the monolithic application era. I had noticed that a growing amount of effort was going into deploying and configuring applications. As applications had grown in complexity and interdependency over the years, the effort to install and configure them was becoming significant. But the road did not end with a ...
May. 6, 2016 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 795
I have an article in the recently released “DZone Guide to Building and Deploying Applications on the Cloud” entitled “Fullstack Engineering in the Age of Hybrid Cloud”. In this article I discuss the need and skills of a Fullstack Engineer with relation to troubleshooting and repairing complex, distributed hybrid cloud applications. My recent experiences with troubleshooting issues with my Docker WordPress container only reinforce the details I wrote about in this piece. Without my comprehensive...
May. 5, 2016 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,101
As the software delivery industry continues to evolve and mature, the challenge of managing the growing list of the tools and processes becomes more daunting every day. Today, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platforms are proving most valuable by providing the governance, management and coordination for every stage of development, deployment and release. Recently, I spoke with Madison Moore at SD Times about the changing market and where ALM is headed.
May. 5, 2016 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,653
The goal of any tech business worth its salt is to provide the best product or service to its clients in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. This is just as true in the development of software products as it is in other product design services. Microservices, an app architecture style that leans mostly on independent, self-contained programs, are quickly becoming the new norm, so to speak. With this change comes a declining reliance on older SOAs like COBRA, a push toward more s...
May. 5, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,752
Small teams are more effective. The general agreement is that anything from 5 to 12 is the 'right' small. But of course small teams will also have 'small' throughput - relatively speaking. So if your demand is X and the throughput of a small team is X/10, you probably need 10 teams to meet that demand. But more teams also mean more effort to coordinate and align their efforts in the same direction. So, the challenge is how to harness the power of small teams and yet orchestrate multiples of them...
May. 5, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 646
Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important – because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators. But new code doesn’t just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performan...
May. 5, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,526
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
May. 4, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,278
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
May. 3, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,966
Digital means customer preferences and behavior are driving enterprise technology decisions to be sure, but let’s not forget our employees. After all, when we say customer, we mean customer writ large, including partners, supply chain participants, and yes, those salaried denizens whose daily labor forms the cornerstone of the enterprise. While your customers bask in the warm rays of your digital efforts, are your employees toiling away in the dark recesses of your enterprise, pecking data into...
May. 3, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,176
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
May. 3, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,669