Red Hat has gotten on board with this movement by acquiring API management-as-a-service outfit 3Scale. It's the latest in a long line of API-themed acquisitions by big-name IT presences, driven by the ongoing growth of all things API-related.
How 3Scale scales
3Scale's cloud-based product adds scalability, developer-oriented front-ends, access controls and security, analytics, and ways to monetize existing API sets. Red Hat plans to keep the existing offerings rolling along for the time being, but to also open-source the core 3Scale API management technologies and make them part of Red Hat's larger product portfolio.
Red Hat claims that open-sourcing 3Scale's work won't be difficult, as it's already built on open source tech like Nginx and Varnish. Nginx is well-suited to be the core of API-management technologies; another major API management system, Mashape's Kong, uses Nginx as well.
Red Hat's also taken pains to spell out to its customers how 3Scale will directly benefit their API work with both legacy and next-generation projects.
The legacy side includes JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, JBoss Fuse, JBoss A-MQ, and the Red Hat Mobile Application Platform. All these are built with Red Hat's suite of JBoss tools, and Red Hat claims its customers are "[increasing] their priority on API management features for their integration projects" -- that is, creating and managing modern APIs for legacy projects built with those tools.
The current- and next-generation side is about API management for software made with Red Hat OpenShift. 3Scale had already introduced a product in this vein, which Red Hat describes as "a containerized version of its API Gateway for Red Hat OpenShift, enabling users to easily and consistently create applications with microservices distributed across diverse, hybrid environments."
Everybody wants some API management
The 3Scale pickup is the latest in an ongoing parade of such acquisitions.
StrongLoop, creator of Node.js development tools (with Node.js itself being a major API-creation system) was acquired by IBM late last year, with its tools to be rolled into IBM's Bluemix platform. Back in 2013, API security outfit Layer7 was snapped up by CA Technologies. Shortly before that, Intel picked up Mashery, a cross-platform API management tool maker, as part of a general plan to have those tools "power cloud services, digital storefronts, location services, network services, and security." And Apigee, a provider of analytics for API users, went public early last year.
If APIs are the cornerstone elements of modern IT they're made out to be -- and by all accounts they are -- the last thing Red Hat wants is to leave such a base uncovered. 3Scale's portfolio is far-reaching, covering not just management generally, but developer-facing resources, analysis, and tools for making APIs into resources for third parties. Red Hat's biggest obligation will be to preserve the value those things already provide while figuring out how to add them into its own product lineup.