by Tony Harris • September 7, 2021
Businesses are in a constant battle to adapt to constantly changing customer demands. To remain competitive, organizations must have a strategy that allows them to address those needs. API-led connectivity enables companies to be agile and respond to customer needs. API-led connectivity is not simply a technology, but a critical business strategy. Here we’ll discuss five of the top trends for API-Led connectivity.
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A service mesh architecture is a rising trend in API-led connectivity. It allows developers to focus on adding business value rather than coding communication logic.
How is this possible? Service-to-service communication can overload resources as multiple services compete for access to resources. A service mesh combats this problem by abstracting this communication from each individual service to a layer within the app. Within this layer is the concept of proxies. These proxies route requests between services and essentially optimize how each service works within the application ecosystem.
Proxies are often called “sidecars” because they run alongside the service. A service mesh architecture makes an application more resilient to downtime because proxies can reroute requests. The business value of this approach includes:
Many business leaders would agree that repetitive, tedious tasks take employees away from more value-driven work. Whether it is processing invoices, updating inventory, or data entry, these monotonous tasks can eat away at productivity. Robotic Process Automation automates these tasks based on rule-based processes. RPA consists of configurable “robots” or “bots” to capture data, analyze it, manipulate it and trigger responses to other services.
Many people use the term Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) interchangeably. They both can accomplish the same functionality, however, there are key differences between the two. RPA is software-based automation based on a predefined set of rules. AI, on the other hand, simulates human thinking.
Enabling enterprise scalability is key to a business remaining competitive and agile. Traditionally, a Center of Excellence (CoE) team that centralized resources and data handled this capability. New projects must follow procedures outlined by the CoE to get things done. Unfortunately, this approach created barriers to accessing information quickly and hindered progress.
Many companies realized a better solution was necessary. The new approach became what is called the Center for API Enablement (C4E). This strategy decentralizes the management of data and services. These cross-functional teams enable any business unit or project team to quickly access the information needed as part of the development process.
This new way of thinking allows for shorter delivery cycles because there are no bottlenecks in the process. It also enforces better adherence to standards.
APIs are valuable tools for sharing information between systems. They often start small but can quickly grow into a robust solution for enabling communication. However, what happens when the system grows so much that you get multiple services making repeated API calls to get a simple data update? The impact could be huge on your system.
An event-driven architecture helps scale the system to avoid overload. This approach moves away from a pull model and toward a push model of sharing information between services. Event-driven architecture uses a routing approach to eliminate service-to-service communication.
The router strategy consists of a producer producer-router-consumer sequence. The producer pushes an event to the router; the router then pushes that event to the consumer; and the consumer eventually uses that data. This communication strategy eliminates the problems associated with high polling. It also allows the system to scale and fail independently as services are interoperable, however, failure of one doesn’t break the entire system.
An API-first approach to development projects speeds time to market and reduces cost through the reuse of APIs. With this approach, APIs are treated as “first-class citizens.” As such, the API gets developed first. The application is then developed off the API.
This approach is a radical change from the traditional model of code-first. A code-first approach is often time-consuming and often results in a disjointed system based on a constantly changing set of requirements.
An API-first approach minimizes this problem by ensuring that functionality will work in the context of the APIs developed. Also, this strategy means development teams can work in parallel. Developers can simply develop mock APIs to test dependencies. Using this method for system development reduces cost through code reuse. It also speeds time to market.
API-led connectivity is more than a technology; it is a business strategy that keeps companies agile in a competitive market. It is a strategy that will require companies to rethink their approach to projects. They will need to shift to a decentralized approach to managing data and resources. Companies will also need to embrace new software architectures that can support rapid growth. These five trends will continue to shape how organizations keep pace with constantly changing customer needs.
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