A few weeks ago I highlighted the importance of applications programming interfaces (APIs) and their proper management to the future not only to service providers but to the ecosystems they wish to enable and/or become core members of by providing critical assets and functionality. The focus at that time was on a new Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) (ALU) consulting and professional services practice that is part of their Applications Enablement initiative that is built around a proven lifecycle methodology for APIs. As I noted, getting the API strategy right and executing in a manner that clearly showed the value that service providers (SPs) can provide needed to be a priority and openness would be an essential component of strategic considerations. After all, at a high level being able to exploit the benefits of openness is what APIs are all about.
Laura Merling, senior vice president, Application Enablement at Alcatel-Lucent noted in our discussion about the new service that there was something interesting on the way relating to the topic of openness and how it engenders value-creation. It turns out that might have been a bit of an understatement. Alcatel-Lucent has just announced the apiGrove API management platform —an open source-based software engine designed to give SPs, cloud services and enterprises a standardized “try it you will like,” way to test the API exposure experience.
It is an easy way (the software can be downloaded in less than 30 minutes) to quickly feel the power of making a network more programmable. It demonstrates the value of API exposure and also the reason why manageability of APIs at the infrastructure layer is important. This is true not just of SPs looking to commercialize their IT capabilities by providing them as Platform- as- a- Service (PaaS), but in regards to leveraging a standardized approach to make services and the APIs used more manageable and extensible across public, private and cloud networks. Given the explosive move to the cloud the timing on this could not be better.
apiGrove: what it is, why open source and why now
In making the announcement, Ms. Merling stated: “We’ve reached a point where basic API exposure and management is ‘table stakes’ for doing business in today’s economy. Network exposure, through APIs, is becoming a commodity. The future of the API ecosystem lies in building on an open industry foundation and a holistic approach that spans the network, cloud and enterprise/IT spaces. We believe apiGrove gives our customers and the community the foundation they need to make this a reality.” It sets the stage for enabling everyone to move faster, more efficiently and effectively.
What it is
The apiGrove installation package, source code, and documentation are available immediately on the open-source repository and collaboration tool GitHub under the business-friendly Apache 2.0 license. It has the following characteristics:
- 100 percent Java
- Relies on open source middleware including: Fuse ESB IApache, ServiceMix, Apache Camel, Apache CXF and Apache Karaf), Jetty and Hazelcast
- Tested on Red Hat (News - Alert) Enterprise 5.8; works on other Linux distributions (i.e., CentOS)
As noted, it can be downloaded in less than 30 minutes and provides a try-before-you-buy option for companies looking to strengthen the management and utilization of their APIs to explore the benefits of API exposure with little or no financial commitment. It is a taste test that is a pathway to a more robust platform such as ALU’s Open API Platform (OAP) solution, and allows users to make their own modifications to apiGrove to address their needs.
Tangible benefits are that apiGrove lets businesses manage APIs at scale, while handling access policies and security needed to protect critical assets. Deliverables include support of scalability through clustering, load balancing and request routing.
ALU points out that the foundation of apiGrove’s all important security capabilities is authentication and authorization, injection detection, and certificate management. And, from manageability perspective apiGrove also includes critical metering features for rate limiting, quota management, and generation of sophisticated transaction records.
Where its fits
apiGrove, which is being made available in both an open source version and a premium version under license for those looking for enhanced functionality, provides four valuable capabilities: Scale, Meter, Protect and Manage.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman