Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Jerry Melnick, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

API Management – Anyway You Want It

You need to understand the components of API management, your target audience and your overall corporate IT strategy

This article originally appeared on Gigaom.

Enterprises are building an API First strategy to keep up with their customer needs, and provide resources and services that go beyond the confines of enterprise. With this shift to using APIs as an extension of their enterprise IT, the key challenge still remains choosing the right deployment model.

Even with bullet-proof technology from a leading provider, your results could be disastrous if you start off with a wrong deployment model. Consider developer scale, innovation, incurring costs, complexity of API platform management, etc. On the other hand, forcing internal developers to hop out to the cloud to get API metadata when your internal API program is just starting is an exercise leading to inefficiency and inconsistencies.

Components of APIs
But before we get to deployment models, you need to understand the components of API management, your target audience and your overall corporate IT strategy. These certainly will influence your decisions.

Not all Enterprises embark on an API program for the same reasons – enterprise mobility programs, rationalizing existing systems as APIs, or find new revenue models, to name a few.  All of these factors influence your decisions.

API management has two major components: the API traffic and the API metadata. The API traffic is the actual data flow and the metadata contains the information needed to certify, protect and understand that data flow. The metadata describes the details about the collection of APIs. It consists of information such as interface details, constructs, security, documentation, code samples, error behavior, design patterns, compliance requirements, and the contract (usage limits, terms of service). This is the rough equivalent of the registry and repository from the days of service-oriented architecture, but it contains a lot more. It differs in a key way; it’s usable and human readable. Some vendors call this the API portal or API catalog.

Next you have developer segmentation, which falls into three categories – internal, partner, and public. The last category describes a zero-trust model where anyone could potentially be a developer, whereas the other two categories have varying degrees of trust. In general, internal developers are more trusted than partners or public, but this is not a hard and fast rule.

Armed with this knowledge, let’s explore popular API Management deployment models, in no particular order.

Everything Local

conceptarch_01v2

In this model, either software or a gateway that provides API metadata and traffic management are both deployed on-premise. This could either be in your DMZ or inside your firewall. This “everything local” model gives the enterprise the most control with the least amount of risk. This is simply due to the fact that you own and manage the entire API Management platform. The downside to this model can be cost. Owning it outright might cost less in the long run, but the upfront cost of ownership could be higher than other models because your Enterprise needs the requisite servers, software, maintenance, and operational expertise. However, if the API platform drives enough revenue, innovation and cost reductions, the higher total cost of ownership (TCO) can be justified with a quicker return on investment (ROI). This model serves internal developers best and helps large Enterprises that want to start with ownership and complete control of their API management infrastructure that can be eventually pushed out to a SaaS model.

Virtual Private Cloud

conceptarch03

In this model, either software or a virtual gateway is deployed in a virtual enterprise network such as an isolated Amazon private cloud or virtual private cloud (VPC). Depending on the configuration, the traffic can either come to the DMZ or go directly to the private cloud. The traffic that comes to the enterprise DMZ can be forwarded to VPC and the VPC direct communication can be enforced based on enterprise governance, risk and security measures. A VPC deployment may be ideal for trusted internal developers and partner developers, and allows the Enterprise to experiment with elasticity. The VPC model with multi-homed infrastructure also allows API metadata to be accessible from the Internet, but done with a soft-launch and not a big-bang. As partners grow, the infrastructure can scale in the private cloud without the need to advertise the API metadata to every garage developer out there. This option gives the enterprise similar control as the local datacenter model deployment, but with a slightly elevated risk but more elasticity.

Hybrid SaaS

conceptarch02

In this model, the API traffic software/gateway is installed on-premise but the developer onboarding and public-facing API catalog (or portal) is deployed in a public SaaS environment. Though the environments are physically separated from each other, they are connected through secure back channels to feed information in a near-real time basis. Communication includes information flow from the API management catalog to the API traffic enforcement point which includes API keys, quota policies and OAuth enforcement. The API traffic management pushes traffic analytics, statistics, and other pertinent API usage information back to the SaaS public cloud.

This model provides for a good developer reach and scale, as developers can interact in a shared cloud instance while keeping the traffic flows through the enterprise components. Also, this model allows you to have a split cost model; the API metadata is charged as a service (without a heavy initial investment) and the data flow component is a perpetual license, giving the enterprise a mix of both benefits. The API traffic can still come to the enterprise directly without a need to go to the cloud first which will let the enterprise use components, thereby reducing some of the capital expenditure (Capex) costs. This configuration maximizes enterprise control and security and combines that with maximal developer outreach and scale with a utility cost model.

This may seem like the best of both worlds. Why even consider other models? In practice this model may be extended and combined with the others. For example, by adding a developer portal on-premise to better serve internal developers with improved latency and more IT-architect control. It’s not about exclusive choices, but about understanding the benefits of each of the interconnections.

Pure SaaS

conceptarch04

This is the full on-demand model. In this configuration, both developers and the API traffic are managed in a multi-tenant SaaS cloud. In the pure SaaS model, API traffic hits the cloud first and is managed against Enterprise policies for quotas, throttling, and authentication/authorization. Analytics are processed in the cloud and the API call is securely routed back down to the Enterprise. The SaaS portal is skinned to conform to the customer’s branding, has the ability to integrate web content of the customer’s choosing, and is branded with URL of the customer’s choosing so that as far as the developers are aware, the portal is owned and operated by the customer.

Due to the fact that enterprises use the cloud elastic model in this case, both for scaling and for costing, the Opex prices can be multitudes cheaper than the heavy initial investment that might be required in the previous models. In one sense, this is comparing apples and oranges: In the opex model you trade the higher up-front costs of running and maintaining your own servers with a lower monthly fee, but as we mentioned before, there may be reasons for both: A large Enterprise may run a SaaS API program for their marketing department and an internal API management program for their IT department supporting a new mobility strategy. The SaaS API option maximizes developer scale and has the lowest maintenance costs. Plus, the enterprises will require fewer resources to run and maintain the deployment. This is the option best suited for having instant updates to the API management platform with minimal downtime and high performance through CDN caching and managed fail-over and resiliency.

It is never one size fits all when it comes to API management. Each situation is different based on specific needs. Examine the different deployment options carefully, and see what will work best for you, keeping in mind that these deployment models are NOT mutually exclusive as you can combine them.

When we built our API 2.0 platform, by combining Intel and Mashery solutions, we took all of the above into consideration. Not only will we not limit you to a specific deployment model, but also will we help you transition between deployment models with ease.

We just recently announced the combined solution, API 2.0 platform that combines our strengths. Check us out at cloudsecurity.intel.com.

EverythingLocal Virtual PrivateCloud Hybrid SaaS Pure SaaS Custom Built
Initial cost

$$$

$$

$$

$

$$$

Ongoing costs

$

$$

$$

$$$

$$$

Level of Control

High

High

Medium

Low

High

Risk & CompliancePosture

High

Medium

High

Lower

High

Flexibility

High

High

Medium

Medium

Medium

Scalability

Medium

High

High

High

Low

Ideal for

Internal/Partner

Developers

Internal/Partner

Developers

Public/ Partner

Developers

Public/ Partner

Developers

Mostly Internal

Cloudification

Not Offered

Built-In

Partial

Built-In

Maybe

 

The post API Management – Anyway you want it! appeared first on Application Security.

More Stories By Blake Dournaee

Blake Dournaee is currently the product manager responsible for Intel SOA products. As a product manager at Sarvega, he was deeply involved in the development of their flagship XML security, routing and acceleration appliance products. He was a specialist in applied cryptography applications at RSA Security and was a frequent speaker at many RSA conferences throughout the US and Europe. Dournaee is an established author who wrote the first book on XML Security and co-authored SOA Demystified from Intel press.

More Stories By Andy Thurai

Andy Thurai is Chief Architect and Group CTO of Application Security and Identity Products with Intel, where he is responsible for architecting SOA, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Governance, Security, and Identity solutions for their major corporate customers. In his role, he is responsible for helping Intel/McAfee field sales, technical teams and customer executives. Prior to this role, he has held technology architecture leadership and executive positions with L-1 Identity Solutions, IBM (Datapower), BMC, CSC, and Nortel. His interests and expertise include Cloud, SOA, identity management, security, governance, and SaaS. He holds a degree in Electrical and Electronics engineering and has over 25+ years of IT experience.

He blogs regularly at www.thurai.net/securityblog on Security, SOA, Identity, Governance and Cloud topics. You can also find him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/andythurai

Cloud Expo Breaking News
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.