Within most enterprise IT organizations there is a tension between classic approaches to middleware based on software-oriented architectures (SOA) and approaches based on APIs that are easier to build and deploy but potentially more difficult to manage.
But Axway CTO Mark O’Neill says in reality the way APIs will be used in the enterprise will be as a layer of services that will make systems based on SOA more accessible to, for example, mobile computing applications.
Rather than replacing SOA, O’Neill envisions an enterprise world where SOA middleware platforms and API converge in a way that makes it much easier to pull data out of a SOA-based application than it is today. In effect, O’Neill says APIs will be used to integrate those applications with external systems while SOA technologies will continue to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to integrating internal systems.
As part of a campaign to drive the convergence of the governance of API and SOA middleware platforms, Axway today released version 7.2 of its API Server. New capabilities include support for a broader array of authentication protocols and a sample API catalog that shows developers how to build a portal, which can now be hosted on premise or on an Amazon cloud platform.
O’Neill says what makes Axway unique is that it has combined and API management platform based on technology it gained with the acquisition of Vordel with a portal that make it easier to for developers to manage the entire end-to-end process. Combining that with Axway’s existing SOA governance capabilities creates a foundation for managing the entire base of technologies that now routinely included within any enterprise middleware architecture.
In fact, by 2016 Gartner is predicting that API and SOA governance will merge into one market that will be valued at $474 million.
That convergence will naturally lead to some culture shock across the enterprise. Developers that work with SOA applications tend to be a lot more structured than developers that use APIs to dynamically address new integration requirements in a matter of days.
Nevertheless, both camps have a lot to learn from each other. SOA developers need to come to terms with new requirements for IT agility. At the same time, many API developers need to develop a greater appreciation for the need for resilient applications that can stand the test of time.
Naturally, making that happen may require some adult supervision for a significant period of time. But the ultimate benefits to the organization should wind up being nothing less than phenomenal.