Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, John Basso, Pat Romanski, Kevin Benedict

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
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...