August 23, 2017

Red Hat, in a move that could advance the state of hybrid cloud computing considerably, announced it is making the API management platform it gained by acquiring 3Scale available as a Docker container that can be deployed on-premises.

Steve Willmott, senior director and head of API management for Red Hat, says that when Red Hat acquired 3Scale it promised to make an instance of the API management software available on-premises as a complement to the existing 3Scale cloud service. The simplest way to accomplish that goal was to employ Docker containers that enable IT organizations to deploy API management software anywhere they see fit. In many cases, IT organizations operating in regulated industries are prohibited from invoking any external cloud services, he notes.

Over time, Willmott says, Red Hat expects to see IT organizations federate API management across hybrid cloud computing environments. This, at a time when the number of APIs being deployed is exponentially rising, thanks to microservices. In fact, the number of private APIs being generated inside IT organizations now far exceeds the number of published public APIs. Many of those APIs now are being wrapped around legacy applications deployed on top of Docker containers as a first step to modernizing them using microservices. A federated approach to managing APIs also should go a long way to encouraging the reuse of those APIs, rather than developers duplicating existing API functions, he says.

Red Hat 3Scale API management software running as a Docker container has been optimized for deployment on Red Hat OpenShift platform-as-a-service (Paas) environments. But IT organizations that want to deploy 3Scale API management software on virtual machines or bare-metal servers have that option, Willmott notes.

Red Hat also plans to fulfill its pledge to make 3Scale API management software available as an open-source project in the third quarter. That move also should increase the number of IT organizations willing to deploy 3Scale alongside existing open-source software provided by Red Hat.

In general, Willmott notes, microservices, PaaS environments and containers offer a unique opportunity to provide uniformity around DevOps processes yet still fosters developer productivity. Application developers can have confidence that within the parameters of containers and well-defined APIs, their applications will run in a production environment. In turn, IT operations teams will be able to deploy more applications at scale, he says.

Of course, not every IT organization is equally as far down the path to integrated DevOps. Many of them are just now moving responsibility for API management into the IT operations team. At the same time, many of those IT operations are just now coming to terms with the implications of microservices enabled by containers. But when they finally do put it altogether, Red Hat is betting that the level of complexity associated with managing all those technologies and deployment models will make the need for higher level of PaaS abstractions apparent to both developers and IT operations teams.

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.