On November 7th, the WSO2 Integration Summit was held in London. As Premier Partner and sponsor, Yenlo attended this summit. In this blog, you will read a summary of the event. The summit, mostly focused on API Management, was opened by Charndika Arthanayake, Vice President – Sales EMA at WSO2. Charndika discussed that all Digital Transformations are API driven now. Through 2020, half of development will be API-based integration.
WSO2, a leader in API Management
WSO2 is proud that the WSO2 API Manager is recognized as a leader by Forrester Wave and Kuppingercole Analysts, and so are we. Users of WSO2’s API Manager are for example Transport for London, StubHub, Wells Fargo and Asset Management bank BNY Mellon. They all have an API-driven business. Also, every bank in Europe is now API-driven and WSO2’s Open Banking solution fits in perfectly. WSO2’s cloud native programming language Ballerina is the first programming language built around APIs.
The Composable Enterprise
Paul Fremantle, CTO and Co-Founder of WSO2, had his talk about composable APIs. He predicted that APIs are the products of the 21st Century. APIs are reproducible, fungible and reliable. Take IdeaBiz, for example, an API App store where companies can create and host their APIs. In the first 18 months, 2500 developers created 3300 apps. Another example is BNY Mellon. BNY Mellon developed Nexen, a financial platform. Nexen features a web application, APIs, and data analytics tools to allow financial services clients to access the BNY Mellon's services. BNY Mellon manage 33 billion assets for others with the use of Nexen, which is built on WSO2. Paul also mentioned the new WSO2 API Manager 3.0, which was launched recently. It has a product subscriber, improvements of monetization and directly integrates with Kubernetes. Ballerina integrations run directly on Kubernetes. Besides a leader in open source API Management, WSO2 is a leader in leader in API security too.
Internal and external APIs
APIs are both internally and externally important. With smaller components, you can scale faster which saves a lot of costs. Decomposing is like packing in smaller bags. Smaller bags fit better in a trunk than a few large ones. Paul said that every developer is an integration developer. Every generalization is wrong. There is no place left where we not program. And here comes Ballerina in. Ballerina draws the sequence line for you. Ballerina is supported in WSO2 Enterprise Integrator 7.0, same for streaming integrator (Siddhi) and micro integrator. API economy is important inside a company too. It’s important to have a self-service team, with a maximum of five to ten people. Paul calls this the two-pizza rule. When a team size grows, the team will perform worse (Quote of Jennifer S. Mueller). Since you can’t fight culture, you have to adapt as a manager. It is easier to write code than to change human nature.
Microservices and cell-based architecture
In 2019, microservices at Uber has so many non-manageable items that it scares you. Therefore, self-organizing teams need boundaries. Cells, in biology, have boundaries. API gateway is a way to get boundaries so you will get order in the microservices mess. Cells are the building blocks of a composable enterprise to get some high-level structure in the overhead. That is what cell based architecture is about. The interface of a cell needs to be treated as a product. Cellery is a project to help you create and monitor cells. We need an architecture not only technic, but it also needs to fit in teams so it can take you to the next level of digital initiatives.
Transforming your business through APIs
Christopher Davey, Senior Director Solutions Architecture of WSO2, held a presentation about transforming your business through APIs. Since digital transformation is been around for a while, it seems harder and harder to keep up. There are many ways to let systems communicate but APIs are the main components. With all the smart devices that around, APIs are everywhere. They now account for 25% of the Internet’s traffic. There are many reasons for Digital Transformation. It can be faster product development, the transformation of legacy systems, to increase customer reach, to create new partnerships, to innovate services, to save cost, et cetera. There are many modern development practices. Take advantage of that, learn what your customer like and start delivering what they want. Therefore you need to allow agile teams and digital teams to work together. Also cloud native platforms are important as they deliver lots of information which APIs can use and analyze to improve your business. Transform your legacy systems, sometimes called heritage systems, and expose them via APIs by leveraging the data you already have. When you do so, you can attract and retain more customers. If you want to give your customers a better customer experience, let them use your APIs. You can also do that by creating new business partners. Be creative and create new business opportunities with APIs.
John Underhill, Integration Architect at Elsevier presented the API journey of Elsevier. Elsevier, a global information analytic business, has 30,000 employees and 1,500 technologists. There were more than 900 million full text articles downloaded from Elsevier in 2017. They have a whole mix of technology platforms are running.
Why did they decide to adopt API Management? In 2012, the year of the Olympics in London, Elsevier had a lock in. In 2015, the IT team migrated to Red Hat Fuse, which is open source and Java, and that unlocked them to support REST APIs. In 2017, integration was working and the IT team built a lot of services. But security was still inside the integration service and developers were frustrated. So, they needed developers to spend time on building solutions and designing re-usable services, on-board service consumers quicker and security that could be managed by the consumers.
They looked for an API solution and found WSO2 as the right one, as open source fitted their direction and WSO2 was a proven technology. After a proof-of-concept at the end of 2017, they went in production in February 2018. WSO2 immediately simplified all Elsevier’s restful microservices. Also, versioning and who is using what was much easier to manage. Nowadays, Elsevier has three API environments hosted on AWS and migrated to WSO2 API Manager version 2.6 earlier this year. The three environments have over 100 APIs now and there was 140 million traffic through the API Manager in August 2019.
Lessons learnt by Elsevier:
- 1. Use throttling
- 2. Microservices = API
- 3. Embrace OpenAPI Specification
- 4. Plan your Governance
- 5. Evolve (WSO2 is flexible, Elsevier started small and since then added some custom security)
Deploying WSO2 API Management has given Elsevier better API tools and security, provided them better analytics and visibility of traffic and simplified their integration code.
After the lunch break, Chakray’s head of service delivery Jamie Carter and Yenlo’s CEO Ruben van der Zwan held a fireside chat, moderated by Asanka Abeysinghe. The chat was about the role of APIs in Digital Transformation, the maturity of API programs and the predictions of 2020 that will affect APIs from the business- and technical side.
Ruben van der Zwan, Yenlo:
“How can we sell our data? is a question that we often hear in the market. The majority is moving to an API-first strategy to act faster. The downside is that companies only focus on technic, but the business and government is important too. Companies are afraid to still have the traditional silos and are afraid to be agile. The silo’s, they hope that they will be gone in a few years. Nowadays there are just a few companies really agile. API strategy is a mind-set. Lot of companies implemented an API strategy in 2019 already and that will further increase. We speak to a lot of big companies (for example in Transit) and the consumption of APIs will be huge the upcoming years. We also get a lot of questions about microservices and serverless computing. APIs and gateway are there to stay. Also centralize governance is what we see more and more. Budget is always a problem. Yenlo is striving to a partnership to deploy APIs for free and if the companies are successful, we take a percentage of their business margin."
Jamie Carter, Chakray:
"Decoupling digital glue is the ability for organizations to experiment more and developers are trying more things nowadays. There is a huge improvement in user experience (UX). Customers experience is hard to measure. There is a lack of engagement in UX teams. The level of maturity is different in the CXO level and what we try is to explain to companies is the business value of developing APIs and Chakray’s added value. I’ve seen an increase in the use of GraphQL for API’s as a competitor for REST. Another thing that I've seen is the adaption of zero-code kind of integration. Companies like the ability to go and mainstream applications without any knowledge of development to talk to another application."
IAM in an API-driven world
Mifan Careem, Solution Architect at WSO2, had a presentation about Identity & Access Management in an API-driven world. Exposing APIs means good security. But how do you expose and secure your APIs? APIs are your front door and APIs must be attractive. But how to reduce friction so that you can focus on your business? That’s the question Mifan answered in his presentation.
Onboarding Identity & Access Management in the API-driven world is about who is using my API (authentication). You can for example onboard them without friction with the use of their own ID’s via Facebook, Google or LinkedIn. But it’s also about “What can they do with my API?” (authorization). Multi Factor Authentication, for example Geo Velocity, can be adaptive authorization. Another important point is API security. Therefore you use tokens.
Fun API-fact: Mifan used Uber as an example of the API-driven world. He's a frequent user of Uber himself and he only sees the rides in the Uber app that are allowed to use by the WSO2 company card. When he was in Dubai, his app showed transportation by an UberChopper. Mifan did not use it but it is funny that different countries offer different transportation methods.
- Alexis Nelson, University College London, about the start of their API journey
- Asanka Abeysinghe, WSO2, about API-centric & Cell-based architecture
- Chatura Kulasinghe, WSO2, about API Led Integration
- Kent Brown, ModusBox, about B2B integration in an API-driven world
- Mauro Niewolski, WSO2, Ballerina Demo
Charndika concluded this summit with an overview of WSO2’s business model and their Open Everything Strategy. And last but not least a nice and applicable quote of Margaret Heffeman: “Openness isn’t the end, it is the beginning”.
See you at the next event!