Earlier this week, Axway announced version 7.2 of its namesake API server which, according to the company, forms the foundation of its Axway 5 Suite (the "5" stands for fifth generation). While the press release includes a list of new features, the company's vice president of innovation Mark O'Neill zeroed-in on the new version's three biggest highlights when I interviewed him about the announcement.
O'Neill is one of the co-founders of Vordel which was acquired by Axway in November 2012. At the time of the acquisition, Vordel's specialties included API management, identity management (particularly when it comes to API access control), and SOA governance. Not only did the acquisition close some gaps in Axway's portfolio of API-related solutions, it spotlighted the synergies between API and SOA governance as ProgrammableWeb contributing editor Mike Vizard pointed out earlier this week (see: Convergence of API and SOA Governance Gets Underway).
According to O'Neill, version 7.2 of the Axway API Server is the first version to finally incorporate the newly acquired Vordel technology into one package. At the top of O'Neill's list of newly introduced functionality is the ability for the server to dynamically scale in both cloud-based and on-premise situations. "Whether in the cloud or on-premises, we have an inherently scalable architecture that can deploy new nodes to your API management infrastructure on an on-demand basis" said O'Neill. "For cloud-based deployments, we support Amazon's Elastic Load Balancing. We do the same thing on-premises, but with VMware ESX." Among VMware's various offerings is a load balancing technology for clustering ESX servers called the Distributed Resource Scheduler.
Though the feature is not terribly new, second on O'Neill's list was identity management (originally one of Vordel's areas of strength). In particular, according to O'Neill, the ability to manage separate groups of developers using different sets of APIs. "In our portal, we have the concept of developer organizations" said O'Neill. "You can manage developers in different groups. For example, if you had to outsource some of your work, you can put the [contractors] into a different group than your internal people. Not only will they will see different APIs, they'll have different levels of access."
O'Neill sees this as one of Axway's differentiating features (versus a more one size fits all approach to identity). "Some of the other API management solutions are focused on the broad community of developers without having that level of organization management" said O'Neill. "Different levels of developers require different levels of access to an API." O'Neill went on to talk about how API portals can be fully customized to match the requirements of certain developers or groups of developers based on their identities.
When asked if organizations have to embrace Axway's directory services versus integrating with others (to enable some of the ID management capabilities), O'Neill said that Axway's solutions work with other directories as well. "Businesses don't want to create new silos of developers or identity" he said. "We can tie to Microsoft Active Directory and other solutions such as Oracle ID Management and CA Siteminder. CA Siteminder is more for Web access management. But we have customers who want to leverage it for API management."
All in, the Axway 5 Suite includes B2B integration capabilities (where data transfer protocols like XML, EBXML, AS2 and more traditional EDI come into play), API management (from the Vordel acquisition) and portal tools, managed file transfer (secure passing of very large documents like price catalogs and medical records), email security (encryption to secure email attachments and also scanning of the emails for threats), and a file sharing service called Dropzone that O'Neill referred to as the "enterprise version of Dropbox." In August 2013, Axway was identified as a leader in Gartner’s 2013 Magic Quadrant for Application Services Governance.
Axway's Mark O'Neill is reachable on Twitter at @TheMarkONeill.
By David Berlind. David is the editor-in-chief of ProgrammableWeb.com. You can reach him at email@example.com. Connect to David on Twitter at @dberlind or Google+, or friend him on Facebook.