August 18, 2017

API management originally gained popularity mainly as a cloud service that used to provide some command and control over how data was shared between web applications within the context of a larger “API Economy.” Before too long, however, IT organizations began making extensive use of APIs to integrate internal applications. As that began to occur, demand started to rise for API management platforms that could be deployed inside a local data center.

To help meet that demand, TIBCO Software has been providing an instance of the Mashery API management platform that it acquired from Intel that can run in a local data center. Now the company has moved to make TIBCO Mashery Local available as a Docker container that can be deployed anywhere.

Ed Julson, a senior product marketing manager for TIBCO Software, says IT organizations now are demanding more agility in where and how API management platforms gets deployed. Use of private APIs inside IT organizations now dwarfs the number of APIs that organizations publish. Because of that shift, API management platforms are now standard elements of enterprise integration architectures, Julson says, which is why all the providers of API management platforms over the last two years have been acquired by larger enterprise IT vendors.

While TIBCO continues to offer Mashery as a service, Julson notes that TIBCO Mashery Local is becoming a key enabler of hybrid cloud computing strategies spanning private and public clouds. Via support for Docker containers, it’s now possible to deploy TIBCO Mashery Local on any public cloud that supports Docker containers. All instances of TIBCO Mashery Local can be managed centrally via a single console regardless of where they happen to be running.

In general, modern applications are increasing dependencies on API management platforms. For example, mobile applications don’t lend themselves to traditional approaches to enterprise integration based on service-oriented architectures (SOA) built on top of an enterprise service bus (ESB) platform, Julson notes. Instead, they require access to an API management platform that can run natively as a cloud service.

Of course, as use of microservices increases, IT organizations are discovering that each microservice not only generates its own API, but they also typically consume hundreds or even thousands of other APIs as part of a logical application consisting of multiple microservices. As IT organizations gain more experience with those microservices, API management has become a core element of a mature DevOps process.

That shift naturally brings into question who will be responsible for managing the API management platform. Originally, many developers managed the API they created using a cloud service. Depending on how an organization decided to manage microservices, that still may be the case. But as APIs become a more mainstream element of the enterprise, many IT operations teams now are responsible for API management, because most traditional IT organizations prefer to have their limited developer resources focused more on writing code than on managing APIs and containers. Regardless of who is tasked with managing APIs an organization creates, API governance has become a much higher priority throughout the enterprise.

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.