API Management in the cloud is a misnomer

API management as hosted solutions, is not where larger enterprises or government entities want to be (or even small enterprises for that matter).

As an enterprise, we want control over every piece of our infra.. (Hold your thought before you make your opinion though) Even if it’s in the cloud.

And the way we’re going, we’re gonna be extending our internal services as orderable components in the cloud, and extend our app platform to be in any of the commercial platform providers — EC2, Rackspace, Google.. etc..

There’s a complete shift happening here from an enterprise perspective to the ITIL, or serviceprovider-servicebuilder-serviceconsumer model .. With our own controls on top of each layer

And this has nothing to do with cloud hosted api management solutions or packaged and cloud enabled (in vms, unit-packageable-licensable software) solutions..  It’s each vendors approach to interfaces in general, hosting/monetization aspects etc..

There’s no sharing going on between cloud-hosted api-management  tenants. That was the whole argument. And that’s a losing proposition. The cloud-hosted api-management folks have realized that in time.

There’s no way, a company that’s exposing apis “a” that are similar to apis “b” offered by another company appear in the same space in the same context, that’s potentially in control by another company “api-hoster-at-large”.

Granted you have control about SLAs, but SLAs have not evolved to the concept of  SLAs for “marketing value” or other higher level business functions. And no company even with a 500M revenue would want to be in that position where some aspects of your apis are in the hands of a “cloud” provider.

Why would a medium to large company like “YYY” want to compete in such a marginal space where they end up being api providers for everybody else? They probably want to be in a space where they end up being api providers to their own APIs.

What they would want is an api monetization platform, that I whole heartedly agree with.

Which has nothing to do with being in the cloud. We are in the cloud. We better be.. all of us.

Our services should be in the cloud, but as providers, we better have control points in every aspect, including the stack.. that’s where your billing aspects come out from and your differentiation in terms of how you meter, how you bill, how expected security controls changes the whole billing aspects etc..

And if you did have apis that you wanted to compete with others on, then, sure, you should look at api federation, or even driving the standards on where that should go.. None of that is happening here. OR for that matter, an api marketplace.. that’s orthogonal to API management as a whole.

It may sound like I’m against cloud-hosted-api-portals, and I am. Api Portals being in the cloud for enterprises, managed by someone else, is not something enterprises, any one, is comfortable about right now.

I’m not against api management. Some of these cloud-hosted-api-portals helped kickstart the whole api management movement, (barring some currently large api providers who would not trust these vendors with the their control-points) .

The clients who’re getting the best kick out of it are either startups who’s core business is not APIs but want to expose APIs, or smaller companies, who want to outsource their entire IT, or larger companies who’s API aspirations are limited to a small Business Unit.

An enterprise should have an enterprise-wide (or cloud) integration strategy, whether it’s api monetization for services they offer, or point to point integration with their partners around high volume high SLA transactions, or whether it’s social apis that they’re using for their marketing and/or sales efforts, or open-social apis in general.It has to be a concerted effort from a technology execution point of view.

The way I look at it is, apis are  just another aspect of a control point. That was what gateways are about in the first place. Control points, even if it means SLA management or metering or whatever, have that notion of a  control-plane versus a data-plane concept and the difficulties of balancing that. In the internet at large, gateways as control points do not work. It does start working, when you have a whole bunch of gateways working in conjunction with each other across the cloud.

API management is an evolution of the whole “RPC” concept, doled out to users outside of your control. And the control point here is monetization, not much more. The bigger aspects of monetization around api are ease of use, etc.. everyone in this space realizes that.

 

**UPDATE

The same goes for mobile app providers.. they just happened to duke it out first.. there’s no clear winners and there’s not gonna be one. The cat’s out of the bag.. anyone can create “apps” in any platform.. same goes for “apis”.

What you need is things like “api management” for groups, distributed groups and federated groups.

same for “apps”, you need “app management” for groups, distributed groups and federated groups.

The market’s wide open. Wondering when the current “api management” folks will branch out to “app management”. It’s just an additional bunch of metadata, and maybe some additional binaries.. everything else is the same..
At this point, would you call it “interface management” 🙂
… just a thought.

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