As enterprises rely on microservices for business agility, Dr says they need an API architecture for integration beyond the service mesh. Software AG’s Stefan Sigg.
What is an API integration?
API integration is the connection between two or more applications through the API, allowing these systems to exchange data. API integration supports the processes of many high-performance enterprises that keep data in sync, increase productivity, and increase revenue.
What is an API?
The API or “application programming interface”, according to Wikipedia, is:
“… a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for creating application software. In general, this is a set of well-defined communication paths between different software components.”
… but it is. What does it really mean?
Perhaps the easiest analogy to explain the API is, of all things, the way international shipping has changed over time. Prior to World War II, products were generally shipped as “break bulk” loaded individually onto freight ships by squads of longshoremen. However, after World War II, the way freight was shipped changed permanently once intermodal freight transport gave rise to standardized shipping practices. So long as a company`s wares fit inside a container of agreedupon size at an agreedupon maximum weight, they could be shipped anywhere in the world.
In the same way, APIs act as shipping vessels for software. Cargo is carried by ships made of reusable steel, but the API of a web service consists of dialogues or messages passed from (request) and (response) to and from the application. The API is so popular that it actually uses over 16,000 and can reach an estimated 50,000.
The era of API integration and management software business has never been more fascinating. From new technologies such as cloud-based microservices to 5G, from the Internet of Industrial Things to non-digital disruptive events such as pandemics, change is accelerating. Global fault lines in the supply chain are exposed to structural changes in the economy, which requires a higher degree of integration than ever before.
The reason is simple. Fragmented, non-digitized companies can no longer survive, let alone competition. The pace of change and the speed of reaction are simply too fast. Half the answers from disconnected business resources resulted in unfounded decisions and effective response time delays, which was once a bad business practice yesterday. Today they are deadly. Digging into the heart of these issues with customers, we find that the resilience of business in these turbulent times relies heavily on digital fluency. Successful businesses bend, but never collapse-and are returning to rare businesses at an impressive rate.
Microservices and API frameworks are at the heart of this fluency. Application architectures based on microservices provide the speed, scalability, and flexibility that are fundamental to digital business models. As? They are all based on the same underlying data model and well-defined secure APIs by providing a better approach to integration through consumable and interoperable services. If the organization does this correctly, it can better serve the needs of millions of mobile or blocked customers. It also accelerates the speed of innovation by separating the barely touchable core system from the ever-changing business apps.
Why microservices – why now?
Increasing profits under cost pressure is a simple answer. Microservices can be provided in a variety of ways.
- Reduce upfront IT investment with cloud-hosted applications.
- Reduce time-to-market by accelerating application development.
- Just-in-time availability of IT infrastructure through containerization and adaptation of application demand to application delivery.
- And always stay one step ahead of the competition. Containers are the perfect hosting environment for the ongoing application delivery pipeline required by today’s digital business models. This architecture allows you to quickly deploy microservices and application improvements to maximize customer satisfaction.
In addition, cloud microservices provide the reliability (99.99% and above) and scalability required for mobile and edge applications. This kind of scalability is unpredictable when you deploy your application, but you may need it later.
This requires dynamic integration and reliable API delivery. Key innovations in application development and delivery require corresponding innovations in integration and API technology. Microservices are no exception. Proper integration with microservices is especially important due to the myriad connection paths and the ever-changing ecosystem. Without the right level of integration, governance, and control, IT infrastructure would be similar to the Archetypal Old West.
Dynamic integration and well-defined APIs are needed for microservices
Software AG calls this integration “dynamic.” This is because so many things can move within the infrastructure. Data can be migrated. Virtual machines can be moved or modified in one cycle. To handle this type of integration, many are looking to the concept of service meshes. In short, service meshes provide the abstraction needed to adapt and communicate in an ever-changing cloud delivery environment. Think of the Service Mesh as a layer of infrastructure that supports microservices in communication over business APIs. This layer can increase observability, ensure secure communication, and manage failed requests.
A service mesh is the foundation needed to run an environment that uses microservices, but it’s just the foundation. It’s designed to better manage communication between microservices, but it’s also a fairly technical concept. Also, it does not cover basic application management functions. A service mesh is like a car steering wheel … it’s basic, but it doesn’t go that far.