August 22, 2017

One of the issues that containers and microservices usually bring to a head inside any organization is the need for a more mature approach to API management. As the number of more granular container applications proliferate across the enterprise, the number of API calls being made increases exponentially.

Axway moved to address that issue with the recent launch of Axway API Management Plus software that not only can be deployed in the cloud or on premises, it also makes use of an Arrow mobile backend-as-a-server (MBaaS) technology originally developed by Appcelerator to connect Docker containers to its API management software. Axway acquired Appcelerator, a provider of tools for building mobile applications, earlier this year.

Shawn Ryan, vice president of product marketing for Digital as a Service at Axway, says most organizations get started down the path of Docker containers and APIs when they first start to build mobile applications, and it’s not too long before they realize that scalability and management issues require them to deploy an API management platform.

Because Axway is also now providing tools for both creating and managing APIs, the company now provides an end-to-end platform for driving digital transformations enabled by APIs. As part of that effort Axway is also now bridging the chasm that exists between API management platform and the microservices that are rapidly becoming the default methodology for building modern applications, says Ryan.

Digital business transformation is obviously a major topic of conversation inside and out of IT circles. But when IT teams get past the initial concept, most digital business projects at a practical level involve stitching together mobile computing applications and cloud services that enable organizations to get closer to their customers. The glue that often binds those applications and services together is increasingly a combination of microservices and APIs. In fact, one of the simplest way to make legacy back-end services available to modern applications is to move them into a container that makes those services available using commonly employed APIs and serves to make it possible to port those services to another, faster platform on which an IT organization can standardize.

The best news, of course, is that it’s never been as relatively simple as today to mix and match applications and services. The challenge from an IT operations perspective is going to be keeping it all straight. In the past, developers mainly took charge of API management. But as API usage continues to proliferate, it is clear the responsibility for API management is starting to shift to IT operations teams. Those teams are responsible not only for ensuring the ultimate performance of any service attached to an API, but also—and just as important—documenting the environment in a way that complies with increasingly strict regulations.

Naturally, this all winds up being part of the larger DevOps conversation. The challenge facing IT organizations is to first delineate who is responsible for what. After that, negotiating the hand-offs between different roles inside the IT organization should become a lot simpler for all concerned.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.