As the API economy continues to evolve, one of the foundations is that there is enough network bandwidth between two different applications such that latency and state are never in issue. In practice, given the state of most wide area networks, there is not always as robust a connection in place as most developers would prefer.
Looking to solve that issue, Equinix, a provider of data center hosting and interconnection services, has partnered with Apigee to make sure there is always a robust stateful API service available with the new Equinix Cloud Exchange. Chris Sharp, vice president of cloud innovation at Equinix, says the Equinix data center service is designed to provide hosting services in support of applications that need low-latency access to Internet services at locations that are close to Internet peering exchanges.
Equinix Cloud Exchange takes that capability one step further by embedding API management services directly in the service. Sharp says the goal is to entice developers to host their applications at Equinix facilities where API integration services are continuously available in an environment that can dynamically scale to meet their application requirements.
The result is not only a more consistent user experience involving multiple applications, but also a simpler methodology for creating hybrid cloud computing environments via the Apigee API management platform, Sharp says.
When it comes to APIs, Sharp says one of the biggest challenges developers face these days is network congestion. By providing Layer 2 networking services to application developers, Sharp says Equinix removes network congestion as an issue while laying the foundation for creating an API ecosystem.
Equinix’s Cloud Exchange Portal and APIs are intended to simplify the process of managing connections to multiple cloud services. Businesses can use the Equinix portal to access APIs that will enable them to allocate, monitor and provision virtual circuits in near real time. The provisioning of those circuits is then automated from Cloud Exchange to the service provider.
At present, developers can connect to Equinix Cloud Exchange in 13 locations — Silicon Valley; Washington D.C.; New York; Toronto; Seattle; Los Angeles; Atlanta; Dallas; Chicago; London; Amsterdam; Frankfurt; and Paris — with expansion planned to a total of 19 markets by the end of 2014.
Customers can also connect to Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute in Silicon Valley, Washington and London, with planned expansions into 13 additional markets by the end of 2014, and they can access Amazon Web Services via Equinix Cloud Exchange in Silicon Valley, Washington and London. Equinix plans to extend those integration services to other cloud service and telecommunications providers, including tw telecom, a provider of Ethernet networking services.
It’s still relatively early days when it comes to turning APIs into a telecommunications service. But it’s pretty clear that as the API economy continues to mature, that’s the direction things are heading. The result is that in the not too distant future, making an API call is going to be a whole lot more like placing a phone call than an exercise in writing code.