@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Feed Post

Rise of the Thing - Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is giving rise to a whole new set of protocols for API access

Here are some predictions for the API space for 2014:

Rise of the Client
It's generally agreed that an API is only as good as the clients which use it. An unused API is a failure. So that's why it's odd that so much attention has focused on the server side of APIs, with comparatively little attention paid to the client side (there are exceptions though, like Runscope's handy Request Editor and hurl.it, to help developer API clients).

If you ask an API provider about how their API is going to be called by clients, often you are met with a hand-wavy answer along the lines of "It's REST, so it's easy". While it may be true that it's easy to hack together a client to call the API that "just works", the problem is that that's all it does. It "just works", but doesn't provide the high-level benefits such as:
- Ensuring the API is responding according to your expected service level
- A broker layer so that you're not locked into any particular API provider, or:
- API orchestration

At Axway we've seen that our API Gateway is frequently used at the Client Side, adding a layer of visibility and control to API usage from the client's point of view, as well as providing an independent audit log of API usage, separate from the logs provided by the API provider. All of this points to the rise of the client.

Another major factor involving the rise of the important of the API client is raft of new protocols associated with Machine-to-Machine API access, used in smart-meter or "connected car" environments for example. Which leads us nicely on to the next prediction...

Rise of the Thing
(hat-tip to Zahid Ghadialy from EE for this title, taken from his excellent recent presentation)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is giving rise to a whole new set of protocols for API access. Until recently, it was taken for granted that JSON is all-conquering and predominant. In my view, the popularly of JSON for APIs is as much to do with the widespread usage of dynamic languages on the client side (JavaScript in particular, of course) as it is to do with the smaller size of JSON relative to XML.

In the word of IoT, with embedded devices on the client and greater bandwidth constraints, it's not the case that clients will always be JavaScript based and expecting JSON. In IoT, we see MQTT, CoAP, and AMQP. All different, but all existing to deal with the low-latency and message size constraints of IoT devices. In this case, it isn't possible to simply throw together a REST client with JavaScript on the client - the result would be hopelessly inefficient since even JSON is too verbose. Ironically, with the IoT standards we are back to binary encoding, something I wrote about (BER encoding for XML) way back in 2002.

I would also watch Google's Protocol Buffer, which with protobuf.js provides JavaScript without the JSON size overhead.

Going Meta
In the world of SOA, we saw that each Web Service could be associated with metadata expressed using WS-PolicyAttachment with WSDL. The mention of any WS-* specification is enough to make anyone cringe, but in the case of SOA, at least there were standards for attaching meta-data to services.

In the case of APIs, we have sites such as ProgrammableWeb which provide human-readable information about APIs. But this is not the same as machine-readable information which a client can consume, conveying information how to call the API, security tokens (e.g. OAuth 2.0 Access Token) required, and expected response times.

Ole Lensmar wrote a great round-up of the API metadata options, back in the summer (now you would add RAML to this list). For Enterprise APIs, with security and quality-of-service requirements, I expect API metadata to grow in importance in 2014.

Traditional and API-based Integration continue to converge
Axway got a jump on this trend back in late 2012, with the acquisition of Vordel. In fact, at the time of the Vordel acquisition, Kin Lane foretold that "I predict in 2013-2015 we are going to see more of these types of acquisitions occurring. Large software companies are going to need a robust set of API tools to bring legacy systems into the modern, API driven economy." And how right he was! 2013 saw a slew of further acquisitions. I would hope that my predictions could be as accurate as Kin's.

There is clearly a need to take advantage of API-based integration, but in tandem with more traditional integration technologies. It's not a case of "either/or". Here at Axway, with API-based integration incorporated into our portfolio, we provide customers with a single suite solution covering B2B, APIs, managed file transfer, and even email security. In 2014, APIs will not be an isolated "new new thing", but will be working in tandem with traditional integration technologies.

SOA and APIs no longer adversarial
Paolo Malinverno from Gartner likes to say that "When people talk about APIs and Services, 99% of the time they are talking about the same thing". One of the big take-aways of the recent Gartner AADI conference was that we've gotten over the adversarial talk of "SOA versus APIs" and now there is a realization that they are linked. The linkage goes both ways. For example, APIs can be built on SOA principles (loosely-coupled, abstracting underlying implementation details), and SOA architecture itself can be used to manage APIs. Ideas from SOA, such as management of service meta-data in a repository, find new life in API Management with customizable API Catalogs in API Developer Portals.

In 2014, I expect to see more healthy realization that SOA principles are complimentary to API Management,

More API Breaches
Finally, on a less positive note, I believe we will see more successful attacks on APIs. In 2013 we had the attack on Buffer's API and, just last week, the attack on Snapchat's API. Earlier in the year we saw DoS attacks on banking websites which also brought down Web APIs (resulting in some banking mobile apps becoming unusable). One of the key things which API Gateways do is to protect APIs from attack. Of course, they also provide more positive advantages like API Quota Management, caching, and REST-SOAP transformation. But, with growing awareness of API breaches, the security factor will grow in 2014.

Happy 2014 everyone!

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cemware will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Use MATLAB functions by just visiting website mathfreeon.com. MATLAB compatible, freely usable, online platform services. As of October 2016, 80,000 users from 180 countries are enjoying our platform service.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...