Cloud computing environments are really ecosystems where applications share a common IT infrastructure. In that context it becomes critical for cloud applications to have access to a shared set of API management resources.
That requirement has touched off something of a race among API management vendors to deploy their offerings in cloud computing environments. 3scale, for example, has announced that its API management platform is now available on Heroku, the platform-as-a-service environment owned by Salesforce.com.
3scale has a similar arrangement in place with Amazon Web Services, and CEO Steve Willmott says the company is looking to expand the number of cloud environments where developers can readily access an API management platform.
Willmott says the existence of those API management platforms is not only critical to developers, but that organizations that consume APIs expect a certain level of API management functionality to be provided. For example, organizations invoking APIs want to be able to throttle back on how much data is being consumed at any given time.
Because Heroku dynamically allocates IT infrastructure resources at a higher level of abstraction than a typical infrastructure-as-a-service environment, Willmott says 3scale views Heroku as a hub where developers are likely to be publishing APIs in large numbers. The availability of 3scale on Heroku gives developers a vehicle to manage all those APIs using an account that can be set up in a matter of seconds. The 3scale management dashboard allows developers to set up API plans, configure how developer keys are issued and access usage analytics for all endpoints.
At the core of the API economy is a vast array of API management systems that make it all possible. While having an API management platform may not be an absolute requirement, it does make managing APIs at scale feasible. Otherwise, it’s really only a matter of time before an API breaks for one reason or another. In fact, as the API economy matures, 3scale is betting the organizations will reach a level of API sophistication where it is unlikely they will allow an API to be consumed unless there are some associated management capabilities.
Of course, without API management capabilities, developers are essentially flying blind. Most developers have no idea what the usage of an API is going to be like until well after they deploy it. Without the ability to see what’s going with any particular API, there’s no real ability to manage it, never mind optimize its actual usage.