2014 Will See SOA and API Complement Next-Gen Mobile, Cloud, Big Data Projects

In 2014, SOA and APIs will be even better together – and even prove they are two side of the same “loosely coupled” coin. When used in combination, SOA and APIs will deliver a new generation of flexible and impactful enterprise-class projects, especially for big data, mobile and cloud. This prediction is made by execs at SOA Software, among the early vendors to fuel the API economy. IDN speaks with SOA Software’s executive vice president Roberto Medrano.

Tags: API, governance, integration, Internet of Things, mobile, REST, services, SOA, web sockets, expert voice,

In 2014, SOA and APIs will be even better together – and even prove they are two side of the same “loosely coupled” coin. When used in combination, SOA and APIs will deliver a new generation of flexible and impactful enterprise-class projects.

The prediction from execs at SOA Software, among the early vendors to fuel the API economy, could lead to some eye-popping consequences for a laundry list of cutting edge projects – analytics, big data, cloud, mobile and even the Internet of Things.

 

IDN speaks with SOA Software’s executive vice president Roberto Medrano.

“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,” Medrano said.

 

“Operationally there are not many differences between APIs and SOA. One is a REST service and the other is a SOAP service.” Medrano takes this similarity a step further, and says companies in 2014 will get smarter at exploiting the similarities.

“In practice, today we see APIs being adopted at a fast rate, mainly because of their flexibility, openness, and ease of integration,” Medrano said. However, he added that “organizations with a strong SOA foundation will recognize the ease with which they can extend services through development of APIs.”

 

Medrano noted two top-level valuable benefits to this SOA and API similarity:

  1. Gartner’s latest research says that to do cloud well you should use APIs and adopt some basic SOA principals, such as reuse, a services architecture and so forth.
  2. Because SOA and APIs are very similar, they should also be able to be governed by the same product, rather than have separate products. This saves on cost and complexity of governance, management and security.


As a consequence of APIs ability to leverage a proven, enterprise-class SOA Foundation, Medrano sees a whole new wave of innovative API use cases that will emerge in 2014.

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 they’re accessed, used and managed in an organized manner. 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, according to Medrano

“Things will also get interesting in 2014 as smart organizations adopt API-based platforms 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,” he added.

APIs drive mobile apps. “We’re seeing massive usage . . . for APIs . . . focused on translation and integration of data for mobile devices,” Medrano said. “[And] we suspect that there will an increased focus among devs to use APIs to bring apps to users’ smartphones 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, he added.

Roberto Medrano
executive vice president


"Organizations with a strong SOA foundation will recognize the ease with which they can extend services through development of APIs."

 

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,” Medrano said. News items such as NSA spying and breaches in e-commerce (a la Target) will drive security to a higher priority. 

“Internet of Things” will become the “API of Things”. 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,” Medrano said. This means APIs will need to be created, distributed and used intelligently and according to smart business strategies, he added.

Industry-specific APIs. “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 who needs a loan: application, credit report, financing, delivery, all combined into a single app,” Medrano said. This customer-centric use of APIs will become more prevalent as providing a better customer experience (Web or mobile) becomes more crucial to company executives.

 The next chapter in SOA, APIs.  Medrano also sees 2014 will open a new chapter in how to facilitate connections among data and services. “We expect to see the emergence of new standards like WADL, Swagger, RAML and others, all due to their flexibility and these will fill in holes left by REST and the deficiencies it has with defining service descriptions,” Medrano said. He also expects wider adoption of MQTT for mobile and IoT uses and more use of ‘Web sockets’ for real time applications. 

Even with these new standards and technologies devs “will need to apply the SOA governance principles as you do today for SOA and APIs,” Medrano added.

 




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