Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Michael Jannery, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Eclipse, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

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
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.