SOA Software Rebrands as Akana to Reflect Company Direction

To reflect the changing business landscape of microservice APIs, Internet of Things connectivity and cloud integration, API management provider SOA Software believes the time is right to rebrand, choosing to change its business name to Akana.

“Service-oriented architecture keeps moving into other principles like APIs, microservices, API security and cloud integration," executive vice president Roberto Medrano told ProgrammableWeb on the eve of the rebrand launch. "We needed to change to a name that we can build on, a name that will come to mean the convergence of SOA, microservices and cloud.”

Akana will continue to deliver its existing SOA Software product range but is expecting to see the emergence of new services that reflect the rapidly changing landscape of business application architecture that all hinges on REST APIs.

Akana offers an API Gateway service, Community Manager, API Lifecycle Manager and analytics tool EnVision.

Medrano explains:

The majority of our customers use our API Gateway product — I would say 100% of our customers actually, because of its role in API mediation, orchestration and connectivity. It’s like a lightweight ESB for the cloud generation. Those customers that have several APIs, that operate several services, they use the Lifecycle Manager to manage their API portfolio. Then many use an API portal for sharing their APIs with their ecosystem. We also see a combination of a hybrid approach amongst some customers who are using an API portal on the cloud only, while those that have regulatory requirements tend to have an on-premise API portal, and then there are customers that have our products both on cloud or on-premise.

A Potential Growing Enterprise Demand for Microservices Management

While Akana boasts an impressive number of enterprise customers across various industries, it is also increasingly driven by demands to create new products. Principal among these are products that bring the robustness of API security to the microservices, container-based application environment.

Microservices provide a new granularity that is emerging in application development environments. Whereas traditionally APIs have enabled applications to integrate with business processes or create a conduit for the flow of data from one application or data store to another, the rapid growth of the containerization model for managing applications in a distributed architecture environment means that instead of whole apps being connected by API, it is now a granular service within an app that needs to integrate with other granular (micro-) services that together are then bundled up as an application.

As John Mueller from software and API tools provider SmartBear explained in a recent blog post:

A microservice is extremely focused and performs a distinct function. For example, you might include a customer management microservice, an order entry microservice, a shipping microservice, and other microservices on your servers that could support any application, not just one application.

Medrano sees more enterprises looking for an API management solution that can work in the microservices environment:

In this case, generally the market is driving us. They are asking us how can we help them with containers and how can our API Lifecycle Manager help them.

Enterprises are moving fast into microservices. The creation of containerization for applications is meaning it is becoming more agile to create new applications. It is a big extension of the old SOA principles. Several people are talking about this microservices game. The recent Gartner conference in December was all about microservices. The IBM InterConnect two weeks ago had a lot about their move to Docker containers on their Bluemix platform. Microsoft recently had a conference where there was a lot of talk about microservices as well. The way to create new applications will be microservices.

We are in that space in microservices management and security and are extending our products in that direction, especially in container environments. Here, we have to develop the security and the containerization of how we monitor and manage those services because it has to be done within the containers. That’s the new conversation we are having with our customers. We are already doing proof of concepts with some customers who are looking at those capabilities with us. You will see something from us on this this year as well.

Internet of Things Market Reaching Maturity

Alongside the push toward APIs for microservices, Medrano believes this year will see a further surge toward business use cases involving Internet of Things-enabled APIs.

Already this year, Medrano has written about how he sees the Internet of Things turning a corner in terms of business use cases. “IoT is really nothing more than an API-enabled platform for extending data to the things that are being used to deliver value to users. There is no IoT without APIs, and just about every piece of data that gets moved into a device will get there with an API,” he wrote at the start of the year.

This will mean new API security products that ensure that device or “thing” integration is secured as APIs move data and service functionality along a communication stream.

“The Internet of Things is moving faster with actual consumer products instead of just B2B products, so people aren’t seeing the services (the APIs), but they are seeing more things connecting to something," Medrano says. "You will see this more and more this year than in previous years. You need to think, how does this play with multiple devices? The management of the whole will become the next thing you have to think about. Everything is connected through some sort of service. IoT devices will have to be connected to some sort of API security.”

Akana’s website includes new sections on microservices and API management for the IoT, as well as the existing product range from the company formerly known as SOA Software.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.

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