Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Wayne Ariola, Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, IoT User Interface, Agile Computing, SDN Journal

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Categorizing APIs

Quick: name some APIs! Which ones come to mind? Amazon? Twitter? Google Maps?

Quick: name some APIs! Which ones come to mind? Amazon? Twitter? Google Maps? Chances are, the APIs which came to mind are APIs which are open to any developer to use. But are these the only kinds of APIs that exist? What about Enterprise APIs?

In order to answer this question, let's look at how APIs can be categorized.

First of all, let's look at API Exposure. The two categories are:

  • External : Able to be used outside the organization.
  • Internal : Used only inside the organization

Second, let's look at API Protection. It may be one of three categories:

  • Open: Anybody can use the API, anonymously with no controls
  • Requiring Registration: Developers are identified with API Keys and usage is monitored accordingly
  • Enterprise: Goes beyond just developer registration, adding tight controls on sensitive data, integration with enterprise systems such as Identity Management and event monitoring (SIEM, Splunk, etc).

These axes are orthogonal. Using these axes, APIs divide into six categories. Let's look at the categories:

External APIs

Open External APIs
These are APIs which are open to anybody to access. Usually they take the form of read-only public data feeds.

An example is the Nobel Prize API, which allows a developer to query information about Nobel Prize winners. Another example is the Massachusetts Roadway Events API, which provides developers with access to the (many) roadworks projects happening in Massachusetts at any given moment.

External APIs requiring Registration
These are APIs which are open to any developer to use, but require registration. Once a developer registers, they typically get an API Key. It's important to note that the API Key is not necessarily used for authentication, but instead it is used for identification of the app developer. In this way, the API publisher can apply limits to the usage of their API, and track the usage also.

An example is the US Postal Service's Shipping API. Any developer can use this, but they must register first. The Google Maps API is another good example of a Managed External API. API Keys are required in order to use this API, but any developer can sign up for it. Another example is the Staples API which allows the Staples catalog to be queried. The data is not sensitive, but the developer access is controlled with API Keys.

External Enterprise APIs
These APIs are used to conduct business, or to access sensitive data such as health records. Documentation and information about the API is sometimes public, as in the case of some payments APIs. In many cases though, developer access to the API is by invitation only,  and the documentation may be private. An example is a large HMO in the US which provides an API to retrieve patient prescription information. Access to this API is tightly controlled. Another example, in the B2B space, is a large 401.K provider which allows its corporate customers to provision their new employees with 401.K plans via an API. Access to this API is also tightly controlled.

Other examples of Enterprise External APIs come from the "Internet of Things" where devices such as electricity meters transmit sensitive information via APIs, and this data must be tightly protected.

Enterprise External APIs are typically linked to other enterprise systems such as enterprise Identity Management (IdM).

Internal APIs
Just like on the Internet, lightweight REST APIs are taking over from heavyweight SOAP services inside the organization. However, SOAP and XML are still a fact of life, which means that Internal APIs typically span both XML and JSON.

Open Internal APIs
An example is a company directory API. It is open to all access.

Internal APIs requiring Registration
In some large organizations, as part of an initiative to allow internal developers to develop apps to be used by company employees, some functionality may be exposed as APIs. Access to these APIs is managed, so that developers can sign up, and usage of the APIs can be monitored. An example is an inventory lookup API, which checks the inventory of a particular item in a warehouse. This may be used to develop internal apps for personnel in the field. Internal developers sign up to use this API, get their API keys, and the API usage is monitored in order to prevent data-mining or excessive usage. However, data sensitivity itself is low.

Internal Enterprise APIs
These include APIs used to access private customer data, which may be subject to regulatory controls. Enterprise-class controls are required for these APIs. Even though its exposure is just internal to the organization, its data sensitivity is high. Remember that many privacy breaches come from inside the organization.

In the financial services sector, these include APIs to perform fund management operations such as buying and selling stock. For example, in one large Mutual Fund company, fund managers required the ability to manage their funds via iPad apps. This required access to Internal Enterprise APIs from iPads. This was delivered using tightly-controlled Internal Enterprise APIs.

In the healthcare sector, this category includes APIs which access patient data from inside hospitals and health insurer systems.

On top of simply registering developers, Internal Enterprise APIs require rules to be in place for sensitive data protection, and for a signed audit trail, to prove which user has accessed the API. Internal Enterprise APIs also must integrate with enterprise Identity Management, such as directories and single sign-on.

It is useful to categorize APIs into different axes, because it allows decisions to be made about how to manage them. It is a fact that the most well-known APIs are open APIs on the Internet, or APIs such as Google Maps for which any developer can obtain API Keys. However, although many people are not aware of them, Enterprise APIs are common and perform vital functions for businesses. They are exposed outside the organization and inside the organization also. By categorizing APIs, we can see their requirements clearly, and manage our APIs accordingly.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, will provide an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...