EMC Moves to Embrace APIs in the Enterprise

Given that the Pivotal unit of EMC created the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment, it’s only natural that EMC applications would find their way onto Cloud Foundry. Less obvious is how EMC plans to increase the use of those applications by making them available as services that developers will be able to invoke via APIs.

At the EMC World 2014 Conference this week, the company announced EMC Supplier Exchange, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application based on EMC Documentum document management software running on an implementation of Cloud Foundry.

Gautam Desai, director of marketing for the EMC Information Intelligence Group, says that not only will EMC applications continue to be exposed as SaaS applications complete with APIs, over time many of those applications will evolve into more granular sets of services that developers invoke.

In the case of EMC Supplier Exchange, the service is designed to streamline the management of contractual deliverables across multiple suppliers. The APIs EMC is exposing via Cloud Foundry make it possible to incorporate that service within a broader enterprise application.

In general, document management is a core element of almost every business process. Desai says EMC will continue moving toward exposing more granular services that eliminate the need to reinvent the same functionality multiple times within applications.

IT organizations should view this evolution of enterprise software as the emergence of a reusable Library of services through which they can compose applications, Desai says. In some instances it may be a developer composing the application. But it’s just as likely that a business analyst or power user could compose the application, he says.

EMC, of course, is a participating in a nascent trend that is about to play out across all of enterprise IT. With the rise of PaaS technologies, application vendors are finding new ways to bring enterprise software to market as a service that developers can invoke via a published API.

Instead of building monolithic applications that require massive amounts of IT services effort to deploy and manage, the service the IT organization wants to leverage is managed by the vendor. In time, IT organizations should be able to mix and match services as they see fit using APIs that are validated by a vendor.

That transformation will occur at different rates depending on the vendor involved. But at this point it’s pretty clear that the race to create new classes of enterprise application services is most definitely on.

Be sure to read the next Applications article: Wunderlist Will Open its API, Focus on Enterprise