Modern applications owe their flexibility and ease of use to the rise of the API economy Essentially the API is the base component that allows applications and data sources to talk to each other. The massive rise in importance of the API has led to a corresponding rise in the awareness about the important role that API management platforms have in enabling the effective use of APIs. Witness the recent acquisitions of both Mashery and Layer7 and the funding that 3Scale obtained – all great validation of the space.

Another API management player, SOA Software, is today announcing API management on Microsoft Azure. The proposition here is that Microsoft-centric IT organizations (which often means large, traditional enterprise shops) haven’t had a comprehensive API management solutions that both functions across the entire API lifecycle and is tailored to the Microsoft development stack.

SOA is intending to chance that with this product offering which they believe offers:

  • Comprehensive management solution for APIs hosted on the Windows Azure Cloud
  • Flexibility for development and deployment of APIs on the Microsoft platform – cloud, on-premise and hybrid
  • Ability to manage Microsoft-based APIs across their entire lifecycles in an enterprise Microsoft environment
  • Enabling an API platform for mobile apps, with multiple mobile platforms accessing Microsoft-based APIs.

As part of this announcement SOA Software now offers API support for Windows Azure Cloud, Mobile Services, Azure Service Bus and WebAPI. The solution allows Microsoft developer shops to build internal or external developer portals and communities while meeting enterprise needs for  a single place to manage and secure APIs. IT departments can use modern approaches such as OAuth, OpenID but can also integrate natively with enterprise security systems. The platform supports BizTalk applications, Microsoft SQL Server data, and core internal application services built on the Microsoft platform.

I reached out to Steven Willmott from 3Scale, one of the last remaining small API management vendors that hasn’t been acquired. I asked Willmott about 3Scale’s efficacy for a Microsoft shop. He told me that 3Scale supports both Azure and .NET via a client library and that they have active users on Azure. he admitted that it’s not all plug and play yet though – users need to add the library to their code. Although he did hint that 3Scale is looking at more automated support in the future. The other option for Azure users with 3Scale is to deploy the 3Scale open source traffic manager and have all APIs run through that.

The API economy is massive and growing fast. Microsoft is one of the development stacks of choice within traditional enterprise IT. Put those two things together and you have a real value proposition for what SOA (and 3Scale) are offering here.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • At the wire interoperability level, any API management platform will be compatible with .NET. Running on Azure VM is also a viable option for all on-premise API management solutions.

    WSO2 is another independent API management vendor, with the unique distinction of being the only API management vendor who also delivers a complete application platform, SOA & integration platform, Big Data platform, and Cloud platform.

  • Yes, as mentioned we support deployments on Azure via the .NET libraries we have and it’s something we may expand in the future. It’s also possible to run our NGINX based API traffic gateway on linux azure in the same infrastructure and abstract out the API Management control from the application.

    Interesting times in API Management!

  • Ben – good overview of our newly announced Microsoft support.

    @Chris – some API use cases are not interoperable at the wire level.

    To give an example, Windows Azure Service Bus is an optimized wire level API protocol that Microsoft customers use to cloud enable their API backends. Because of our support for the Microsoft platform, we can offer this functionality out of box – essentially integrated and operational on day 1.

    From a functional standpoint, another example is the ability to mediate an OAuth token as an authenticated Active Directory principal secured by Kerberos. We can then drive that token down to backend Microsoft systems using native Windows Security. Again, this is offered out of box so it is very easily to get up and running.

    So the distinction is that SOA Software can handle some very powerful native Microsoft API use cases out of box without additional code, configuration, or toolkits.

    This is noteworthy because it gives Microsoft customers the full power of the Microsoft platform for their APIs with no integration cost, coding requirements, or interoperability issues. Out goal is a cost effective, fast, and easy way to gain access to all of Microsoft’s native security and integration features.

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