October 21, 2017

In a move that promises to make integration engines more portable than ever, Software AG has created an instance of its webMethods that can run as an image inside a Docker container. Armed with that capability, IT organizations can then opt to more easily deploy webMethods Integration Server software anywhere they see fit.

Over the past several years the IT industry has debated the merits of integration functions being deployed locally versus in the cloud. The cloud, in fact, gave rise to integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) environments that generally are simpler to invoke than traditional integration platforms deployed in a local data center. The challenge IT organizations faced is they had to support two different classes of integration platforms running inside and out of the cloud.

Sachin Gadre, vice president of Product Management for Software AG, says support for Docker means IT organizations can now deploy integration engines that support a standard Docker interface anywhere needed within the context of a much broader hybrid cloud computing strategy.

Other new capabilities included in webMethods 9.12 are a unified webMethods API gateway that combines service mediation, API lifecycle management and API policy definition, as well as support for API monetization in a single platform.

In many ways, containers and API management increasingly are joined at the hip. Each container that gets created exposes an API. Before too long, keeping track of all the API relationships between containers becomes next to impossible without relying on an API management platform. Software AG is making the case for embedding API management into a larger integration platform.

That’s more important now more than ever, says Gadre. Rather than simply making use of APIs to provide access to external-facing web applications, APIs themselves now are being used to glue to together any number of internal applications spanning multiple business processes. What differentiates the webMethods platform is that organizations can use the same code base to expose an integration platform to professional developers as they do internal citizen developers, he notes. The result is a more fluid approach to integration that enables organizations to seamlessly take advantage of different levels of integration skills as required while being able to keep track of all the associated metadata consistently.

In fact, Gadre notes that in terms of integration, a “wild, wild west” approach to integration currently prevails. But API management and containers are forcing the DevOps transformation issue inside large enterprise IT organizations. As each software function gets managed on a more granular level, IT operations teams that increasingly are in charge of API management and governance need to work more closely with developers, who often create and replace containers to add new functionality. APIs, of course, make it possible to minimize that disruption. At the same time, however, keeping track of all the API dependencies that exist in a container environment can be overwhelming.

The challenge is finding a way to enable agile development as much as feasibly possible in a way that ultimately doesn’t wind up collapsing in on itself of its own API management weight.

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.