Summit Notes: Tuesday Morning General Session

If you missed it, the keynote speeches are available on the Summit page or on YouTube.

“You don’t need to focus on technology. You need to empower your developers.”

There are certain patterns in the middleware / application development tracks for Red Hat Summit this year, and they revolve a lot around microservices. That makes a certain kind of sense (microservices are the new hotness in app development), but it’s also reflective of a larger current in technology, a continuing push toward … something.

In his opening keynote, Red Hat EVP Paul Cormier noted that one of the themes of Summit 2016 was “dev and ops coming together through common architectures, processes, and platforms.” This echoes major trends in technology — DevOps and architectures, process, and platform as a unifying IT strategy — and yet none of these concepts are really new. Two decades ago, there were developers and operations, there was enterprise architecture, application platforms, and internal processes. So what’s new and what is bringing the urgency now?

I think the difference comes down to speed (and eventually differences in degree become differences in kind). Twenty years ago, an application was released yearly, sometimes even every couple of years. A patch or security update could take a few months to move in the pipeline from development to testing to production.

Now customers expect patches for security vulnerabilities within hours of them being detected, and the expanding number of applications (from consumer mobile apps to internal systems to IoT devices) means that enterprises have potentially dozens of touchpoints and hundreds of services to maintain.

The “modern” part of modern application development isn’t in the app — it’s in the speed.

This year’s Summit kicked off with three interlocking demos, each showing the different paths and progressions that an IT environment will face as they juggle modernizing existing applications and creating new ones within a heterogeneous (and dynamically changing) ecosystem.

 Lifting and Shifting (Windup)

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Accelerating Time To Value In The New Digital Economy

Cross-posted from the Red Hat Services Speak blog.

Today, most organizations have significant internal datasets and digital services. These resources have the potential to be converted into new revenue streams by securely exposing them to customers and partners as web services. The availability of a number of open source web service frameworks, has meant that it has never been easier to develop RESTful APIs and expose these resources to customers. This allows organizations to validate an idea or hypothesis and capture customer feedback in a matter of weeks or possibly even days.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Open-APIs-v5.png

While the internet has leveled the playing field in delivering new products and services, paving the way for small companies or startups to compete and disrupt far larger and better funded organizations, it has also meant that competitors can bring their own offerings to market more quickly than ever before. Developing a sustained competitive advantage for products and services has never been more important.

Every successful web services organization has one thing in common. They each adopt an agile approach to software development and have an obsessive focus on customer centricity. This allows them to significantly reduce the time it takes to incorporate customer feedback into their products and services. Reducing the time from months to weeks or days means they can often increase the feedback effect by a factor of 10x. The ability to reduce the time from idea to customer validation will be one of the greatest contributors to help organizations sustain a defendable competitive advantage.

Organizations that grew up as digital service providers have already figured out how to securely and reliably provide services over the internet, but what about organizations that are going through digital transformation and entering new territory? Developing and sharing web services outside of an organization requires significant additional effort compared to simply exposing services internally. It is necessary to increase the focus on security, scalability, reliability, track consumption, access control, ensure Quality of Service (QoS) and subsequently bill customers. Building this capability from scratch requires significant heavy lifting and resources, resources that would be better served developing web services rather than a management platform to support them. To this end, most organizations adopt an API management platform to remove this burden and allow their teams to focus on what’s truly important, developing digital services to meet the needs of their customers.

Back in June 2016, Red Hat acquired 3Scale, a leading provider of API management. In addition to addressing the challenges I’ve highlighted around API management, 3Scale also provides valuable data analytics that can be used to show how customers are using each service. This further amplifies the feedback signal from customers and allows organizations to be even more customer centric.

Is your organization going through a process of digital transformation? Are you exploring creating web services to expose datasets and digital services to customers and partners? Do you need help developing an API management strategy and platform to support your business? If so, please contact the Red Hat Consulting team so we can help accelerate your journey towards open innovation.

Ultra Low Latency API Management for Microservices with Red Hat 3scale

In this article, we provide a solution that enables almost latency free API management for Java-based microservices APIs. We build on Manfred Bortenschlager’s white paper Achieving Enterprise Agility With Microservices And API Management. We provide a practical solution for adding the management layer Manfred outlines to internal microservice-to-microservice API calls.

API Management and Microservices

Figure 1 – a typical microservices architecture with depictions of externally and internally consumable microservices

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In the white paper Manfred describes a typical microservices architecture consisting of:

  • A perimeter service layer that is typically implemented by an API gateway which manages and secures components that follow the backend for frontend (BFF) pattern. The perimeter service exposes APIs to external consumers.
  • Internal microservices that are clustered into functional elements and communicate via APIs.

The most common and most decoupled way to achieve API management is through deployment of API gateways on the API provider’s infrastructure. These gateways act as traffic controllers which authenticate, authorize, and report on API traffic to the 3scale API Management Platform. These extensive management features are achievable with very low latency overhead through our caching and asynchronous architectural features. Additionally the gateways provide excellent routing and security protections such as defense against DDoS attacks and more.

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APIs Are The New Language of Collaboration

“Survival of the fit,” in Darwinian evolutionary theory, describes the mechanism of natural selection. The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. But could this also apply to modern business? Sustained growth might be the criterion for fitness in a business context. So why is sustained growth so difficult to achieve? Surprisingly, it is not for the lack of ideas but lack of ability to adapt to change and competition.

The fittest business can quickly innovate and adapt to competition and it can use its core competencies to extend itself in new ways. These organizations are often lean, mean, and learning machines using application programming interfaces (APIs). They are built on a foundation of cloud, mobile, big data analytics and social computing and they are generally connected to the internet of things, to extend and monetize the organization’s core assets for growth and  new value and revenue streams.

Even organizations born in different eras of digital transformation (mobile, internet-based, and client/server) that are successfully using APIs to achieve disruptive growth in their respective industries.

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