Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Janakiram MSV

Related Topics: Eclipse, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Eclipse: Blog Feed Post

The API Is the New CLI

Infrastructure 2.0, from a purely developmental standpoint, is about APIs

Cloud Computing on Ulitzer

Infrastructure 2.0, from a purely developmental standpoint, is about APIs. It’s about offering up the functionality and capabilities of a wide variety of infrastructure – network, storage, and application network – to be externally controlled, integrated, and leveraged for whatever purpose a developer might dream up. It enables providers and enterprises alike to turn infrastructure functionality into services. Need compression? Caching? Routing? Load balancing? Via service-enabled management APIs these can become services, provisioned and released through the invocation of a service. When expanded to include the sharing of actionable data – performance statistics, status, availability of application services (context!) – this integration becomes the mechanism through which a dynamic infrastructure is created. One that reacts to events and conditions in the network, storage, application network, and application infrastructure in real-time.

But all of this functionality, the automation of functions, the codification of processes (orchestration) requires integration. Where previous generations of administrators evaluated the manageability of network and application network devices based on the CLI (command line interface) the next generation of administrators and the developers who will support integration efforts, will almost certainly look to APIs as a means to determine suitability of solutions within their architecture.


APIs are the new CLI


In the past network administrators would compare the CLI syntax and functionality of network and application network devices to Cisco’s IOS. IOS became the de facto standard for command line interfaces and even today you’ll find reviewers and discussions that mention how “IOS-like” any given CLI might be. But as infrastructure 2.0 and the need for dynamic infrastructures continues to drive administrators and developers toward APIs for integration and automation the CLI will wane in importance and the API will rise to take its place. That’s because the APIs provided by network and application network devices will be the primary interface through which the device is configured, controlled, and managed.

Luckily network and application network vendors learned from the trials and travails of enterprise software and the first implementations of these APIs have been primarily standards (web-services, XML) based. Service-enabled APIs means both administrators and developers can take advantage of the functionality and do so in whatever language or environment they are most comfortable. This flexibility is key to adapting to the myriad possible environments and architectures in which such devices may be deployed.

The danger in this shift toward APIs is that it is infinitely more difficult to replace systems that are integrated via an API or library – any programmatic-based integration, really – than it is to replace those for which the CLI is the primary administrative route. Administrators comfortable with the APIs of a Cisco router or switch will be less inclined, for example, to replace those core networking devices with a Juniper or other networking solution because of the inherent difficulty and time involved in learning – and using – a new API. This is true across the infrastructure spectrum; the APIs that allow complete control and management over BIG-IP (iControl) are very different from those available for Citrix Netscaler, or Cisco ACE or any of the other API-enabled application delivery platforms.

It is quite possible that whomever can win the “API wars” for Infrastructure 2.0 will become the new de facto standard for that particular “tier” (for lack of a better term) in the infrastructure architecture. Eventually one API will be preferred over the other – either due to saturation and usage or specific demand and it will give the vendor an edge that will not easily be dulled.


EAI and Adapters


But it’s not just network-facing IT that will help set the direction of APIs. Because part of the premise of infrastructure 2.0 and the APIs that are part of parcel of the standards and devices within its domain is integration there is a developer-focused component to the success of infrastructure APIs. While administrators are most likely to be closest to the APIs of network and application network devices, developers are most likely closest to the applications that drive orchestration and integration with business-focused systems.

One of the ways software application vendors knew they’d “made it” was the inclusion of adapters in EAI (enterprise application integration) systems for their product. ODBC drivers for databases, message queuing adapters for MQ and JMS, and more recently “salesforce.com” and other SaaS offerings. The inclusion of adapters for specific solutions in EAI and development environments is tantamount to declaring that solution a “win” for the enterprise. Thus it will be important to vendors of network and application networking solutions to court management and orchestration system vendors to include at distribution an “adapter” or samples, at a minimum, as the means to integrate and include their particular solution.

This seems counterintuitive, as most APIs are service-enabled and thus the bulk of the integration work is implicit in the API. But the ease with which those APIs are used and integrated by developers is paramount to successful adoption of infrastructure 2.0 APIs. The inclusion as an “adapter” provides the ease of use, often via a GUI, necessary to garner use and support from developers and business-focused orchestration analysts because of the inherent differences in the data plane. Mapping of objects from one device to another, from one system to another, is required and it is this core requirement that is fulfilled by middleware systems such as EAI and ESB (enterprise service bus) implementations. The easy integration with these middle-tier applications will be increasingly important as we move from operational policies based purely on technical metrics toward data centers driven by both technical and business metrics.


APIs are the new basis for standards


The first generation of the Internet used protocols and structural definitions to engender interoperability and even portability. Infrastructure 2.0 heralds the coming of a second generation of the Internet just as Web 2.0 signaled the beginning of the second generation of the Web. This next generation of infrastructure interoperability and portability will certainly be driven by protocols, but those protocols will include APIs and encompass a broader set of functions at higher layers of the network stack. Many of the ongoing efforts in the standards arena today are based not on structural definitions of data but on the APIs that will enable integration across the infrastructure and the Internet, a la “InterCloud.”

Both are necessary components to ensuring interoperability and portability, but until we see standardization of meta-data and component definitions, the emphasis will continue to be on the APIs.

Follow me on Twitter    View Lori's profile on SlideShare  friendfeed icon_facebook

AddThis Feed Button Bookmark and Share

Related blogs & articles:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search an...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...