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In 2017, Ovum categorized “apiPaaS” as a cloud-based platform for rapid creation or composition of APIs and the subsequent management of their lifecycles and operations. The market for API-led integration tools is growing at a rapid pace, and API platforms are emerging as worthy successors of second-generation API management solutions. We expect "API management" as a middleware market segment to be subsumed into a new segment defined as "API platforms."

API platforms foster implementation of good API design principles

Enterprises implementing digital business initiatives can end up developing a number APIs over a period of time, only to realize that just a fraction of them actually meet the requirements of end users or consumers. The pace of innovation and application development required for competing in a digital-first marketplace calls for rapid and "first-time-right" API creation. There is little room for multiple iterations and trial-and-error approaches to see what works for a specific use case or set of end users.

These constraints and the hybrid integration needs of digital business initiatives have led to the emergence of API platforms, which are composite platforms that enable rapid API creation or composition and end-to-end API management (including API lifecycle management). The focus has now shifted toward a rapid and effective API-creation stage that adds "life" to the relevant APIs and makes API lifecycle management a meaningful exercise.

apiPaaS ensures that API design is not an afterthought. API developers can use a single platform to design and compose APIs according to the requirements of users and different use cases, and subsequently to manage the lifecycles and operations of these APIs.

Of course, apiPaaS also simplifies the various steps involved in an API lifecycle and ensures that API providers do not lose sight of the associated business imperatives. Another key benefit of apiPaaS is the ability to rapidly create, test, and implement an API and reiterate the cycle to create a new version of it based on user feedback (the application of DevOps-style techniques to API lifecycle and operations). As apiPaaS simplifies the process involved in the design and creation of an API, providers can iterate faster to deliver an improved version of the API and its corresponding functionality.

A close look at the API management vendor landscape reveals that API creation is an area in which most vendors have added or acquired new capabilities. In January 2017, Oracle acquired Apiary to add API design and composition capabilities to its API integration cloud. In the second half of 2015, IBM acquired StrongLoop, leading to the development of the IBM API Connect offering. Other API management vendors, including TIBCO and Axway, have added to or expanded their API creation capabilities. Apigee (acquired by Google) has always been a proponent of good API design principles. The acquisition of 3scale by Red Hat also points to the better value proposition of an end-to-end API platform for integration developers.


Further reading

2018 Trends to Watch: Integration, IT0022-001091 (October 2017)


Saurabh Sharma, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions

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