November 23, 2017

A newly rebranded Kong Inc., formerly known as Mashape, this week announced the availability of Kong Enterprise Edition, a version of the company’s open-source application programming interface (API) management platform that has been designed from the ground up to support microservices based on containers.

Kong Inc. CEO Augusto Marietti says the enterprise edition of Kong differs from the open-source edition in that it scales to support more API calls. It also includes role-based access controls, authentication, analytics, a developer portal that generates documentation that complies with the Swagger/OpenAPI Specification, a graphical user interface designed specifically for administrators and 24/7 support.

Just as significantly, pricing for Kong Enteprise Edition is based on the number of administrator seats rather than trying to monetize a specific number of API calls. In a world full of thousands of microservices calling a similar number of APIs, pricing API management based on the number of API calls being made is simply no longer practical, he says.

Marietti says the enterprise edition of Kong is also well-suited to environments where private APIs are making calls over remote procedure calls (RPCs) rather than HTTP. While HTTP is widely employed by external-facing applications, more robust RPCs are preferred for internal applications, especially when microservices are relied on to connect latency sensitive application components, he says.

Kong Inc. expects most organizations will employ multiple container orchestration engines to manage container-based microservices. Kong will provide a mechanism for ensuring interoperability between multiple container orchestration engines that can be integrated with a common API management platform.

Marietti notes Kong has now been downloaded more than 4 million times. That level of activity suggests that there is now enough critical mass to warrant an enterprise edition of the platform for IT organizations that are not comfortable with deploying open-source software unless it’s supported by a vendor, he says.

Despite widespread adoption of API platforms, Marietti says the first generation of API management software is being rendered obsolete by the rise of microservices based on containers. The next generation of API management platforms must be able to support large amounts of caching at the edge of the network to guarantee performance levels are both achieved and maintained, says Marietti.

While there’s a lot developer enthusiasm for containers, it’s clear that the impact microservices based on containers will have on IT operations is being overlooked. Many IT organizations will discover that most of the backend services they have developed will need to support more APIs calls than ever. Lifting and shifting a backend service into a container will not be enough—before too long, developers frustrated by application performance will start pointing fingers at the API management platform. They might not always understand the root cause of the issue. But given all the circumstantial evidence, it won’t be too long before they determine something is amiss with how APIs are being invoked both inside and out of the organization.

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.