When we started talking about the “API Economy”, we weren’t simply driving a marketing message. We helped create what truly has become an economy, one with all the real factors of what’s involved in a real economic system. The term is catchy, but it’s also what we live and breathe. When organizations use their data in an SOA framework and make it accessible to multiple applications, they begin to take advantage of a massive incremental shift towards extending the reach of their business.
Today we announced a new product that goes a long way towards helping our customers take advantage of the promise of an economy that requires taking your data to where your customers use it. Policy Manager for IBM WebSphere DataPower uses REST technology to support SOA frameworks to more efficiently and securely move data to where it can be consumed. This means that, as enterprises look to extend their reach, they’ll have a governance tool that enables that reach to mobile devices, Cloud, Web applications and APIs.
The data that fuels most applications resides in backend repositories like our LifeCycle Manager, and one of the most commonly used sources of data is IBM WebSphere – considering IBM’s massive install base, it’s no wonder that it is so widely used. In the WebSphere product family is IBM WebSphere DataPower, which is designed to secure and accelerate Web services in an SOA infrastructure. For organizations that operate with an intelligent and optimized set of services, using DataPower means they keep their data secure as it travels and operates among other services.
To get all that valuable information out of the database or server and into an application used to require some sort of connector or interface. And while we still have data stored in huge backend systems, it could also be in a variety of other repositories and in multiple possible formats. To make applications usable, you have to find, connect with, and manage that data so it can render as something useful. The most efficient way to do that is with an underpinning of REST in your SOA framework.
This is mainly because of the workload our applications now have. We need them to not just access others’ data, but to allow other applications to access our data. This is so pervasive that to be unwilling or unable to share data across applications and make them accessible in any format dramatically limits our ability to use our data as a tool to drive more business or more exposure. To do that, applications and their data need to be usable in the ways that consumers need them – on mobile devices, in Web apps, in enterprise apps. We need to take the data to where the customer is.
In order to effectively use all that data, in whatever format it is delivered, it has to be secure. We’re talking about data on a huge magnitude, and it’s moving from one source to another quickly and being consumed in a variety of different ways. If users can’t use an application on their mobile device, through an API, or even in a big enterprise application without their data being compromised, they’ll look for someone else who can provide that. So we take security very seriously, because as enablers of the API Economy and SOA frameworks, which is why we looked to REST to help create an efficient environment in which that data can move and be used.
We constructed Policy Manager to be fully supportive of REST so it can centralize and automate the management of DataPower services and provide consistent policy and service definition. Many of our customers began to see REST as a standard requirement in order for them to monitor, cluster and add valuable SOA governance functionality. It’s become apparent that for lean, but feature-rich applications, REST offered the best way to provide fast and secure access.
We derive great satisfaction from looking at what our customers do with their own solutions. Last year we enabled more than 50 billion API transactions, and it’s humbling to know that we’re helping the world’s leading brands drive some of the greatest innovation on the planet today.