Until recently, networking engineers hardly needed to know what API stood for, let alone how to use one. That’s all changing now as API growth picks up critical mass, which risks leaving established networking device players flat-footed, argues Teren Bryson over at TechTarget.
While the idea of a networking API is not new, growth in the industry is only now reaching a critical mass that established players can no longer ignore. Increasingly the desire for an API to configure networking devices is affecting purchasing decisions, Teren claims, and small, disruptive players have been the early beneficiaries as older players were content to keep offering command-line tools.
This steady API growth in recent years is due in part to early entrants making their APIs open-source, which has resulted in the emergence of new ecosystems. F5 Networks, for example, opened up its API and developers have since made hundreds of contributions in Ansible and Python. These libraries mean it’s now never been easier to configure the previously intimidating Big-IP Box, a high-powered network load balancer and proxy.
The challenge for the old, established players will be to not only get an API out there but to make sure it is as powerful as the old command-line interface. In this they have no choice, because API growth is forcing them to make their devices fully configurable or risk being left out in the cold.