By definition, the API economy is dependent on providing developers with access to a broad range of back-end applications and services that can be invoked easily. But with the rise of microservices, the number of back-end service that developers can invoke is exploding exponentially.
To make it simpler for IT organizations to cope with that shift, 3Scale has developed an API gateway based on web server software from Nginix that can be deployed as a Docker image. The 3Scale API Gateway is now available on the OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment from Red Hat.
3Scale CEO Steve Willmott says the rise of microservices architectures driven by the advent of containers, which enable developers to invoke a more modular set of back-end services. The end result, says Willmott, is a virtuous cycle in which containers actually are serving to increase consumption of APIs—in fact, containers are acting as a forcing function for API adoption.
Dropping the 3Scale API Gateway in as a Docker image makes it easier to manage all the APIs those containers need to invoke. The OpenShift PaaS is at the top of the list of platforms to support because it natively supports Docker containers and the Kubernetes container orchestration management software, says Willmott.
At the same time, he says, IT organizations need to be cautious about employing microservices, given the complexity of managing more granular sets of back-end services. In fact, some back-end services—at least for the immediate future—might be better maintained as a monolithic entity, Willmott notes.
The degree to which “irrational container exuberance” is leading IT organizations to fix things that are not broken is debatable. But given the number of back-end systems that can be deconstructed using microservices is virtually endless.
Because of that shift, Willmott says 3Scale is committed to making sure its API Gateway is available on multiple platforms because PaaS environments are just one of several places where microservices architectures will be deployed. By working with Nginix, Willmot says it’s now possible to deploy 3Scale API Gateways in all those environments, enabling IT organizations to better federate the management of APIs regardless of what platform they happen to be using.
Less clear at the moment is how proactively IT organizations will embrace the federation of microservices. At this juncture, adoption of containers in particular and microservices in general is being driven primarily by developers at a rate most IT operations teams are struggling to keep pace with. Proactively building an IT architecture to support those microservices requires IT operations to define a microservices architecture. Of course, developers eventually will force that issue. But in the meantime, IT organizations might want to start thinking about portable API gateways, which might provide a layer of management abstraction between containers and APIs that, over time, most likely will become a core element of an advanced microservices architecture.