When you think "open source," you probaby think applications. But maybe you should also be thinking about APIs. In a recent conversation with Sonoa Systems' Sam Ramji -- who in a previous life was a central figure in Microsoft's open source strategy team -- Ramji described a shift in his work from "open source to open cloud." It's a shift that may -- and should -- be coming soon to your work as well.
Ramji explained that enterprises are increasingly opening access to enterprise applications and services to third-party developers, especially mobile developers, through open APIs. The impetus? Increase application content routes to market in an effort to boost revenue potential. The increased routes to market add to the potential load on the core application or service being exposed through the open API. Without careful consideration, the potential load from a third-party application could disrupt the company's own, likely business-critical, use of the application or service.
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Ramji explained that the explosion of third-party mobile applications is driving interest and use of open APIs. For some companies, this is a double-edged sword. Third-party use of a company's APIs increase revenue potential, but it also ups the risk of core system downtime based on factors beyond the company's control, whether through misuse or abuse of the open API.
As you'd expect, Sonoa Systems addresses this issue through an enterprise-grade platform for visibility, management, and governance for cloud services and APIs. Sonoa's flagship product, ServiceNet is available as a hardware appliance, a virtual software image for private data center, or public cloud deployment.
Ramji described a major U.S. retailer whose IT department built and exposed an API to its product catalog as a skunk-works project. Nobody knew the degree to which the API would be used or the extra load to expect on the product catalog service, a business-critical IT asset.