How to Address the Challenges of a Pervasive Integration Strategy

Earlier this months at the Gartner ITxpo event, Massimo Pezzini presented the challenges that must be addressed by a pervasive enterprise integration strategy. In summary there are four types of hybrid challenges (see Massimo’s diagram below).

Gartner-HiP

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What is agile integration?

If you Google the term “agile integration,” you’ll come up with about 30 million results, but they focus heavily on one area: continuous integration within agile development. That definition of agile integration is based on the build environment.

However, it is possible to have another definition for “agile integration,” one that looks at the platform architecture.

In this definition, “agile” doesn’t relate to the process or the infrastructure, but to the flexibility and adaptability–the agility–of the application architecture. Integration within this context has a more strategic role, as the architectural framework that defines the interoperability of services and with a focus on the application functionality.

Traditional vs. agile as an architectural approach

There are functional similarities between traditional integration and agile integration – like routing, connectivity, and orchestration capabilities. The difference between traditional enterprise application integration and agile integration is not in the tasks performed, but in the strategic perspective of those tasks. Put simply, integration can be viewed as a necessary but often limited part of the infrastructure (traditional) or it could be viewed as the core framework of the application architecture (agile).

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Integrating SOAP based Web Services into Red Hat 3scale API Management

In Red Hat 3scale API Management, we can manage any HTTP(S)-based APIs – including REST and SOAP. With REST, it is particularly straightforward as individual URL paths usually map quite nicely to operations. By operations, we mean fine-grained tasks and services which providers may wish to  a) get visibility into and b) apply control access to.

With SOAP, there is more of a challenge, as it is typical for multiple operations to share the same endpoint. Yet providers may still want to get the same visibility and control they get with SOAP as they get with REST.

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Low Latency API Management for Microservices framework Light-4-J – with Red Hat 3scale

In an earlier blog, we wrote about how very low latencies in Java-based microservices can be achieved through our plug-in wrapper. That solution was general in nature, applicable to any API service.

In this blog, we show that the plug-in wrapper is applicable to a specific microservices framework – the open source microservices framework Light-4-J. In particular, we took an implementation of a microservices chaining tutorial, built upon it, and applied our Java plug-in wrapper API management component to it.

As we stated in our first blog, this approach may be well used for a particular use-case, i.e. internal API traffic, typically microservice to microservice. Services exposed to external parties, outside the DMZ, can continue to use the API gateway deployment for its routing and security capabilities. And indeed this differentiates Red Hat 3scale from other vendors in that both the plug-in deployment and the gateway deployment are feasible.

Figure 1 – Plug-in approach: API Management intelligence and configuration are decoupled from traffic enforcement and reporting

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Go Anywhere API Management: 3scale API Management adds a Fully Containerized On-Premises Version

Today is a special day for the 3scale team at Red Hat. It’s been just 10 short months since the company joined Red Hat in the summer of last year and there has been a buzz of activity for the entire time.

One of the biggest new goals was to add a fully on premise version of the 3scale API Management product to the line up alongside the existing Software as a Service (SaaS) version. Hence the team is very happy to announce the availability of that new version which is now generally available. Get started looking at 3scale’s customer portal page.

Launching the on-premise version is special for two reasons. First, because increasing numbers of customers are now running large numbers of public and private APIs – often deep in their internal infrastructure. Deploying API Management in their own data center or in a cloud environment they own is often a key part of succeeding. Second, it is special because of the way on-premise is being delivered. Specifically the new product is shipping entirely on Red Hat’s powerful container management platform, OpenShift.

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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.

Oxford Dictionaries API competition 2017: help the world work, play, and communicate

Oxford Dictionaries runs a global API competition, and Red Hat and the 3scale team are more than happy to support this initiative. Find more about the competition here.

Oxford Dictionaries powers a huge range of technologies, apps, and digital services. Their world-renowned dictionary data powers search engines, provides definitions in e-readers, and makes predictive text and language-learning software possible. On top of their rich language data, which is integrated with cutting-edge technology, they provide an outstanding API. Oxford Dictionaries uses that to work with partners across the globe to create some of the most flexible and reliable platforms and services in the world.

Here is what the folks from Oxford Dictionaries have to say about their competition:

At Oxford Dictionaries, we love language, and we want the world to communicate more easily. So, to celebrate language, communication, and the launch of our API, we’re holding the Oxford Dictionaries API competition. To enter, simply create an app that uses one or more of the languages in the Oxford Dictionaries API. It doesn’t matter if your app is an existing application that has recently integrated Oxford Dictionaries data or a brand new app; already published in an app store or never-before publicized. You can enter as an individual or as a team. We want to see what you can create!

The winner and four runners-up will be showcased on our site and receive PRO subscriptions to our API and a collector’s mug, and we will send all entrants a collector’s T-shirt. You can find out more about the competition and how to enter here.

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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Red Hat launches 3scale APIcast – faster, flexible, open source API gateway

Dockerized version of APIcast 2.0 deploys on OpenShift for easier installation and operation in microservice environments

Today we’re happy to announce the general availability of Red Hat 3scale APIcast gateway 2.0. The APIcast gateway (NGINX-based) is open source and has served hundreds of happy customers over the last four years. Now we’ve taken it to the next level, supporting both a cloud gateway or hybrid model with an on-prem gateway. In fact, the new on-premise version introduces significant upgrades in terms of performance and flexibility. 3scale was the first in market with on-prem and now we are pleased to offer the second generation.

The API gateway, which is configured within 3scale’s Admin Portal, is part of the 3scale API Management SaaS offering. The Admin Portal allows customers to define desired authentication methods, set rate limits, get analytics on the usage of their APIs, and create a developer portal for their API consumers. APIcast 2.0  is the first of two on-prem releases. With the upcoming 3scale on-premise release, customers will be able to deploy the entire 3scale API Management Platform on-premises. Stay tuned!

Companies are increasingly migrating to microservices architecture, so the average number of API services managed with 3scale have significantly increased, and continue to do so. To accommodate to these requirements, APIcast changes the way it pulls the configuration from the Admin Portal. For starters, now it’s now possible to pull the configuration for just a subset of services. In addition, it makes it easier to automate the deployment of multiple gateways by providing the gateway configuration via a JSON file which can be fetched by an API. It also supports two environments out-of-the-box (staging and production) with options to enable always-up-to-date configs in staging, and control of updates in production. For example, you can set the reload config variable to true so it reloads the API gateway configuration with each request, which comes in handy during development phases.

Another big change introduced with APIcast 2.0 is the enhanced integration with Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform, which leverages Docker and Kubernetes for an easier deployment and DevOps experience. The new OpenShift template pulls the dockerized image of APIcast from the Red Hat container registry and lets you enable/disable key features of the API gateway by just changing the value of the corresponding template parameter.

Get started with APIcast 2.0:

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