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Digital Transformation and Modernization with IBM API Connect
Digital Transformation and Modernization with IBM API Connect

Digital Transformation and Modernization with IBM API Connect: A practical guide to developing, deploying, and managing high-performance and secure hybrid-cloud APIs

By Bryon Kataoka , James Brennan , Ashish Aggarwal
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Digital Transformation and Modernization with IBM API Connect

Chapter 1: Digital Transformation and Modernization with API Connect

Digital transformation and modernization are two adaptations that organizations are moving toward to help their organizations be more effective. API integration plays an important role in the success of these initiatives.

In this chapter, you will be introduced to digital transformation and how your role, as a solution architect or developer, plays an active part in achieving the benefits of digital transformation. You will understand the motivation and history behind what is driving this transformation and modernization. You'll also be introduced to the benefits of API-led architectures and strategies. With this understanding, you will be able to apply IBM API Connect capabilities that map to the transformation journey.

In this chapter, we're going to cover the following main topics:

  • API-led digital transformation
  • Digital modernization and APIs
  • API Connect enabling digital transformation

By the end of this chapter, you will have a good conceptional view of the reasons why your company is adopting digital transformation and how your efforts in using API Connect will help.

API-led digital transformation

Digital transformation and digital modernization are both common in business discussions and literature and are often being morphed into a marketing drumbeat. What does this mean? Is it just the latest buzzword? How does it fit into the project you are just starting or have been asked to architect a solution for? As an architect, project/product manager, or developer, having a good idea of what your end goal is and how you are participating in the eventual vision should be important.

API-led digital transformation is how you achieve connectivity to support your digital transformation, but before we dive deeper into the hows and whys, it's important to look at, historically, the business reasons that make this endeavor important.

A journey back in time

To gain a better grasp of the benefits of digital transformation, let's take a journey back in time. Imagine that you owned a family business where you make blankets. Like any business, you required the necessary raw materials (cotton or wool) to perform the painstaking weaving to produce your product. You had to reflect that in the price. Too high and it wouldn't sell, too low and you ran out of goods and it took you considerable time to create them. You hung your shingle outside to advertise your craft so townspeople would walk to your place of business and inquire about your goods.

Being a crafty business person, you also tried to create as many blankets as possible and have them transported to other towns or ships to sell on street markets or to other stores. Every evening you would sit down and review your books to count your sales, determine how many blankets you could complete, ensure you had enough raw materials to create the blankets, and write letters to other business owners to see if they would like to buy some of your blankets. You often wondered that if you had a storefront in the town square, whether that would increase your sales. In the 18th century, digits referred to fingers and toes, which you perhaps used to count your sales!

Luckily for you, you were living in the 18th century and it was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution was a period of innovation that transformed largely rural, agricultural societies in Europe and America into industrialized, more urban societies:

Figure 1.1 – Textiles of the Industrial Revolution, by Illustrator T. Allom – History of the cotton manufacture in Great Britain by Sir Edward Baines. Public domain: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9430141

Figure 1.1 – Textiles of the Industrial Revolution, by Illustrator T. Allom – History of the cotton manufacture in Great Britain by Sir Edward Baines. Public domain: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9430141

It was a time where inventions/technologies that were adopted by businesses provided improved business efficiencies/values and changed people's expectations on the availability of goods.

You found that by purchasing a Spinning Jenny, which made weaving faster, you saw work shift from family-led home production to factory production. Later, you were able to buy faster weaving equipment that ran on steam power and your output increased drastically.

Of course, this changed how you thought about your business. You had greater productivity and you needed to transport your product more efficiently. Horse and cart wouldn't be as effective as a locomotive, so you started shipping by train. Being the only blanket maker in town, you increased your storage space and people from all over flocked to your store. Given you were more efficient in making your blankets, you were able to garner better deals for increased raw materials and passed that on to consumers at lower costs. You even hired an accountant to keep track of your books (because you ran out of digits). You were a success and ahead of your time.

Fast forward to the 21st century

As we fast forward to the 21st century, we can see how the Industrial Revolution changed businesses (even our fictional ones). These factories could employ hundreds and even thousands of workers who produced mass batches of blankets more cheaply than they could be produced in homes.

So, how does that all relate to digital transformation, and where does API-led digital transformation come into play? We'll answer this question with some interesting correlations in the following sections.

Marketing mix – 4Ps

With the Industrial Revolution, it was inventions that drove increased productivity. Depending on the factory's location, their products were limited to transporting the product and finding a place to sell it. Getting the word out about their product was done through storefront advertising so that growth was steady.

As time passed on, the Industrial Revolution continued to bring improvement. Transportation improved, telephones became prevalent, and even typewriters came to light. Eventually, along came the internet, and the possibilities exploded. So, what did these revolutions have in common and why is digital transformation key? It all revolves around marketing. Digital transformation has its roots in marketing.

In marketing, there is the concept of 4Ps:

  • Product: This refers to goods or services that a company offers to customers. A product should be something that satisfies a customer's need, want, or desire. A product could also be a new invention that generates a demand to have one. It's important to note that a product has a shelf life. It may go through various cycles of reinvention to maintain demand. In subsequent chapters, you will learn how the product in API Connect is directly related.
  • Price: Price is the cost consumers will pay for your product. This will be based on several factors, including the cost of the materials, how quickly the product can be produced, and how to transport the product. Product managers must determine the price of the product's monetized value, but they may also consider various plans to support valued customers or try and buy scenarios. When you learn more about API Connect, you will learn how to monetize your API products.
  • Place: How you market your product is critical when determining where to place your products. In the traditional sense, you often place your products where customers can see them. In a brick-and-mortar establishment, this placement can be near a checkout display or with highly visible advertisements.

    More often than not, television shows, phones, kiosks, and web pages are the best way to attract attention to the product. API Connect allows you to showcase your APIs on the Consumer Developer Portal. You'll learn more about that later.

  • Promotion: Promotion is your chosen method of publicly advertising your product. This promotional strategy can be accomplished in various ways. The goal of promoting your product is to show the value of your product to consumers or business entities.

    Note

    Place and promotion are somewhat interconnected/dependent. In today's environment, most promotion is online. You are probably not surprised that most promotion is done with social media (digital word-of-mouth).

In our fictional blanket entrepreneur example, you probably recall where the 4Ps were important. For instance, the product was the blankets. You saw that the price of the blankets was contingent on the cost of raw materials and the cost of creating the blankets. The store location was important as you wanted as many potential buyers to purchase your blankets. Other than breadboards and your shingle hanging outside your home, you didn't have customers from outside of your town, but you were successful because you were the only store in town.

As you review the company today, there have been considerable improvements over the centuries that have been propelled by the second and third Industrial Revolutions. Inventions such as the telephone, engines, automobiles/trucks, and machine tools from the second Industrial Revolution greatly improved business ability. The advent of computers, telecommunications, and electronics in the third Industrial Revolution further advanced business processing. Factories got bigger, stores (brick and mortar) were replicated across the country, accountants were replaced with accounting software, and marketing continued to follow the 4Ps to grow business.

Best laid plans go astray

An interesting phenomenon occurred with the age of the internet, Service Oriented Architect (SOA), and Web 2.0+. As systems evolved, we have seen a great many implementations in silos. Enterprises went from centralization to decentralization and back again. SOA introduced the concept of Enterprise Service Buses (ESBs) and high governance (or assumed governance). Web Services APIs were introduced and Centers of Excellence and integration teams were formulated. The culmination of these factors and the siloed demarcations eventually led to hot projects oozing like lava. The 4Ps, while still applicable, were being hindered by a lack of agility and changing demographics and attitudes.

Adding more Ps to the 4Ps

As we progress toward API-led digital transformation in this chapter, you are probably aware the technology today has brought to light how people, processes, and passion (the new Ps) about products have changed the way marketing is strategized:

  • Passion: Consumers today are passionate. They demand innovations, speed, and personalization. You may have been considered a "Best of Breed" before but in today's markets, you can go from "Hero to Zero" in a heartbeat. Just consider the passionate responses on Yelp and other social media. As a part of your digital transformation, you have to take into account how passionate your consumers are. Doing so will gain the respect and loyalty of your customers.
  • People: Being customer-focused is imperative. The more you know about your consumer and how they view your products or services, the better. You learned about passion and how it is paramount to manage expectations. When you consider adding people to our mix, you should also consider your internal people. They are the ones responsible for achieving your marketing goals. It will be these same people who will buy into your digital transformation and participate in making the transformation holistic and broad.
  • Process: Process is the final consideration. It will be the process that ensures the delivery of your product to the customer. There will be policies and compliance aspects that will need to be considered. Failure to execute could be catastrophic to your goals. When you learn about the features of API Connect, you will be able to incorporate these processes into the life cycle of your products. Some of these processes will enable you to be more agile and deliver more in less time. You'll learn more about this in detail in Chapter 11, API Management and Governance.

    Additional Resources

    Here are some good resources about Agile integration:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB001-j8bOg&list=PL_4RxtD-BL5tYINDy6tntfYx4t6N7ulNe&index=11

    https://community.ibm.com/community/user/integration/viewdocument/integration-modernization-the-journ?CommunityKey=77544459-9fda-40da-ae0b-fc8c76f0ce18&tab=librarydocuments&LibraryFolderKey=028cc27f-9de4-478d-a818-f0ba67621cb2&DefaultView=folder

The concepts you've learned about in this chapter provide a basis on the key aspects that drive business. Relating these concepts to strategic and tactical digital planning is what you'll learn next.

Business transformation to a digital transformation framework

At this point, you've learned about some of the history and marketing tactics that establish reasons for the business's transformation. As you have probably recognized by now, being successful in your business transformation involves taking advantage of the digital capabilities that are a part of today's everyday life.

Let's summarize some of the key business changes that you should be aware of:

  • New startups are going digital at inception.
  • Customers/consumers are changing and so are their expectations. Customer loyalty is waning.
  • How information and customer feedback affects your products.
  • Innovations are changing rapidly. You need to surpass or be left behind.
  • Delivery of goods has drastically improved, which affects pricing.
  • Similar products have made innovation and pricing differences indifferent. Best of Breed is no longer a consideration.

So, how do you get started and how can you ensure you are successful? All too often, digital transformation initiatives fail.

Avoiding failure

So, how can you move thoughtfully toward transformation? Prior business models and processes may cloud your direction. If you recall the key business changes in the previous section, you should be aware of how old methods could be a roadblock to your digital goals. As an architect, it will be contingent on you to thoughtfully set goals and guidelines to ensure continuity and compliance with your strategic endeavor. It should be a holistic view that considers all the departments or lines of businesses and how each contributes to the overall digital transformation.

What you should attempt to avoid is allowing a single silo to be implemented digitally, and then another, without first establishing a digital integration plan between the two and recognizing the benefits this brings to the company. Always review alternatives before launching each new effort. However, you need to coordinate these efforts; the incremental steps should be appropriate and should follow a logical path.

Getting off to the right start should begin with establishing a digital startup checklist:

  • Are all the executives on board and supportive? An executive demanding change and expediency may easily destroy the framework. It must be a sponsored endeavor.
  • Consider a design thinking session where multiple parties participate and contribute their insight and experience. This should include parties from compliance/governance, marketing, content delivery, analytics, architecture and development teams, and executive input. The team should be open to change and radical ideas.
  • Identify stumbling blocks and technical challenges.
  • Determine how you measure success. Not all implementations by department or line of business will be measured the same.
  • Take stock of your existing resources. Are they sufficiently trained? Are there business cultural barriers? Are you organized by silos? Is there a DevOps team?
  • Look at yourself. Are you engaged and excited? Do you feel supported by executives?
  • Are you considering frameworks to assist in your digital vision and provide guidance as you begin your journey?

You should now have a good idea of how the business ties in with digital transformation and have been given some simple guidelines on how not to fail. If failures do occur, revisit the checklist and see what you could have done better or if there was something you didn't consider.

The last item in the checklist was considering frameworks. Having an architectural picture will provide your company with some guidelines and potential solution additions to help you achieve your goals.

Digital framework considerations

So far, you have been provided a business background on why to consider various factors when improving your business. You have also been introduced to a startup checklist to begin to formalize change and improve the process so that you can measure success. You know that your customer has changed and demands more, changes often, and seeks better experiences. With all this information, establishing or adopting a digital transformation framework will help you ensure you thoughtfully consider all the aspects covering the facets of customer experience, operational improvement, and the modernization strategy.

The following table helps organize everything we have discussed into categories. These categories will transition to digital practices and implementations:

Figure 1.2 – Categories of digital transformation

Figure 1.2 – Categories of digital transformation

The three categories shown in the preceding table highlight tactical directions within the digital transformation adoption. We'll have a look at each in the following subsections.

Customers

One constant theme in digital transformation frameworks is the focus on customers. The Customers category lists items that are important in getting to know your customer's needs, desires, and ability to provide feedback (good or bad).

As you learned previously, people's passions can provide positive or negative results. So, for example, if customers would like to sign up for your application, make sure the self-service capabilities are implemented. Ensure that the approach is streamlined and proper customer service capabilities (such as reset password) are easy to perform. Perhaps consider chat sessions and/or alternative ways to access your application (mobile, iPad, kiosk, and so on) so that the customer feels important.

As you look into building digitally, utilize this category to verify you have considered and addressed those items and have communicated to the other teams how they will be accomplished.

Processes and performance

Having a focus on the customer also leads to considerations to improve processes and performance. Delivering a new digital product should include communications throughout the organization so that everyone is on board. One critical aspect of digital transformation is ensuring that changes and improvements are delivered quickly. Your customers do not want to wait for extended periods for new features or improvements. Investing in an agile delivery mechanism, as well as considering how application scaling can improve performance at peak times for seasonal events, will help you out here.

You should also consider where you would like to implement your digital solutions. Considerations should be taken into account for hybrid implementations so that you can take advantage of cloud capabilities/efficiencies such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, as well as capitalize on your on-premises assets and solutions.

While digital transformation is generally about applications and solutions being executed effectively, what it really takes is people. Many of the implementations could include new technologies and platforms. Ensuring your teams are trained on new technologies and communication flows between organizations is critical.

Business cases

One potential stumbling block when adopting digital transformation is the misunderstanding that one single implementation of a digital project doesn't make your entire organization digitally transformed. A digital island is just that – an island.

To be an effective digitally transformed enterprise, you will need to be constantly focused on the holistic view. You should be thinking about the enterprise integration of digital implementations working cohesively together with common products, shared decision making, and creative design thinking. Your implemented digital services should be shared. Don't build digital islands. Focus on blurring silos and folding in and adopting existing digital successes.

As a reminder of all of the common considerations, the following word cloud diagram can be referenced at your leisure:

Figure 1.3 – Digital framework word cloud

Figure 1.3 – Digital framework word cloud

It's time to get technical and dive into API-led frameworks.

Hybrid reference architecture

Working within a framework will give you some themes to follow when you are just starting. Taking those themes, you can now map them to an architecture that will provide you with the flexibility to implement them.

The following hybrid reference architectural diagram provides you with a holistic look at the components you can use to bring your digital solution together:

Figure 1.4 – Hybrid reference architecture

Figure 1.4 – Hybrid reference architecture

This reference diagram depicts the intersection of your on-premises applications and services and new or migrated functionality to cloud infrastructures.

The on-premises functionality (at the lowest level) would be your existing applications utilizing SOA, Java, messaging, and web services, all of which will be coordinating and managing your system of records.

As you begin extending this functionality with external partners, you begin integrating with another implementation layer that provides APIs, events, and various ways of exchanging data. This layer will operate with general-purpose APIs, or what is called backend for frontend (BFF) APIs. Introduced by Sam Newman, this design strategy reduces bloated services with too many responsibilities into a tightly coupled specific user experience API that is maintained by the same team as the UI.

The benefit of BFF is this API layer, which can now be implemented by your digital teams as a new service offering in the public or private clouds.

With API management, these new APIs can be exposed to various channels with proper monitoring, governance, and security. These system APIs are the workhorses within this architecture.

With the reference architecture in place, you can now explore the capabilities of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) on cloud service providers, build new applications using Platform as a Service (PaaS), and incorporate and integrate with other Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions such as Workday, ServiceNow, and Salesforce.

API-led architectural approach

API-led, API-first, and the API economy are all mantras that bring to the forefront that APIs are key implementation strategies for digital services. These are all architectural approaches that center around APIs as the mechanism to communicate between applications and business services that result in revenue. APIs provide an invisible delivery functionality that allows applications to run across all digital channels (as noted in the Hybrid reference architecture section).

An API is an API is an API. Yes, in general, that is correct, but the placement and responsibilities of an API may change. Let's explore these differences.

API flavors

APIs are developed in different flavors, with each for a different target audience. When you learn about API Connect, it will be beneficial to understand the different types of APIs you may need to manage and/or interact with. We will use the hybrid reference architecture to help label the different types of APIs:

Figure 1.5 – API-led flavors

Figure 1.5 – API-led flavors

As you can see, there are four types of APIs. The following is a brief description of each:

Table 1.1 – API types based on where they're utilized

Table 1.1 – API types based on where they're utilized

Our primary focus will be developing process/interactive APIs when we are working with API Connect. Although API Connect has Node.js capabilities to create backend APIs, we will not be showing you how to code with Node.js. There are many other resources available to help you with that. You can start learning about Node.js by going to https://nodejs.dev/learn.

If we return to our digital framework categories, the following diagram highlights the specific points that can be accomplished using API Connect:

Figure 1.6 – API Connect supported technologies

Figure 1.6 – API Connect supported technologies

As you can see, the table has highlighted the majority of the goals. When you look at the Customers column, you can see that you can provide consumers with the ability to subscribe to and create UX APIs/applications for multi-channel devices. API Connect provides you with the ability to engage with consumers using the Developer Portal. The Developer Portal has built-in capabilities to interact with social media applications. It lets you start forums and allows the company to add customer support (FAQ and Contact Us). As added benefits, analytics is provided to the consumers to show how well their apps are performing.

As we mentioned earlier, you can include operational capabilities (such as automatic deployment and testing), improved performance within the gateway runtimes, and the ability to share APIs between consumers and internal teams.

Your responsibilities for APIs

Now that you understand what an API-led architecture is and the types of APIs, you will have to consider the following responsibilities and address them:

  • Securing APIs from unauthorized access (OAuth, JWT, and others).
  • Defining security authentication/authorization for backend systems.
  • Ensuring that consuming applications are routed to the appropriate API endpoint.
  • Setting a rate and burst limit to limit the number of calls that are made to an API.
  • Error handling with catch blocks and preventing error propagation to the backend.
  • Begin working on using the API Connect capabilities for life cycle management, CLI interaction for future DevOps integration, and generating unit tests for deployment.
  • Documenting your API so that consumers can quickly adopt your services.

So, you might be wondering where digital modernization fits in. You will learn about this next.

Digital modernization and APIs

You have already learned a lot about what digital transformation is. As you know already, digital transformation is the adoption of new, advanced, digital technologies, processes, people, and culture to transform your business. You have looked at ways to approach transformation and understand business benefits such as improved customer experience.

What you might be confused about is what digital modernization is. Is it the same as digital transformation? While many of the concepts are similar, the adoptions are looked at slightly differently.

Digital modernization is the practice of upgrading and/or implementing new technology, platforms (cloud or hybrid), and software innovations to meet the needs of today's organizations. Digital modernization has a focus on making infrastructure and operations improved to a point where the maintenance of systems is reduced – both financially and operationally. Legacy systems were expensive to provision and maintain and as time passed, finding resources to maintain them was difficult. IT functions are constantly under pressure to support new capabilities such as data analytics, continuous integration, and integration with SaaS applications and other state-of-the-art vendors.

The easiest way to do this is through a platform that has a cloud-based digital infrastructure. IBM's Cloud Paks provides such a capability.

Modernization can be implemented in a variety of ways. You should consider different approaches. Let's identify some of them.

Approaches to modernization

Just like what you learned about digital transformation, there are many ways to approach modernization. Depending on your current digital makeup, consider the following approaches:

  • Migrate your existing systems to the cloud: Move your legacy systems to the cloud. If you run application servers, you can now move your deployments to containerized application servers such as Liberty. This would reduce costs in your data center and simplify operations.
  • Utilize APIs to modernize: There may be some legacy systems that are just too difficult to containerize. In those cases, you can extend their capabilities by exposing APIs to new customers.
  • Chip away at your existing monolithic systems: As a sculptor, you can take a massive rock and begin chipping away to make it more manageable. These newer deployable components can then be applied either on-premises or in the cloud.
  • Begin microservices projects: As we mentioned chipping away, one way to begin is to start developing microservices that you can build incrementally. Since this type of development may be new to your organization, it will prove to be invaluable as this will reduce the complexity, introduce deployment experience, and provide valuable experience for future microservice projects. Orchestrating containers can be managed by Kubernetes. Kubernetes is a piece of software that automates container orchestration, thereby replacing – with automation – operational tasks such as automatic scaling, deployment, and self-healing. Kubernetes can run on-premises as well as on cloud environments, giving you the flexibility to digitally transform and modernize. Nothing builds confidence more than successful outcomes.
  • Leave nothing behind: To achieve modernization and capitalize on the digital transformation, you need to begin moving away from older technologies and focus on the new. When the goal is to modernize, there is nothing worse than having multiple silos with bits and pieces of legacy systems that never were sunset. This is one of the causes of digital transformation failures.

There are many benefits to digital modernization. By modernizing your applications, you help accelerate your digital transformation goal. And by adopting cloud-native architecture and containerization, your applications can be deployed faster. Your ability to utilize a hybrid cloud approach gives you greater flexibility in deployments and improved delivery. With modernized APIs and DevOps, your transition will be more agile, more consistent, and you'll deliver solutions that meet your digital transformation for your organization.

API Connect enabling digital transformation

At this point, you have learned about digital transformation and how digital modernization helps implement that transformation. You have learned about the various tactics you can use to begin the modernization process and understand that you can utilize APIs to modernize and achieve transformations.

Since this book is titled Digital Transformation and Modernization with IBM API Connect, you will now learn how to begin developing, securing, deploying, and managing agile and multi-cloud APIs. Your efforts will enable your transformation and let you achieve many of the key benefits of digital transformation. Your motivation will be to do the following:

  • Develop new capabilities while extending existing applications by exposing APIs.
  • Leverage these new APIs with other applications while maintaining the methodology of incorporating digital solutions holistically.
  • Create and deploy your APIs on-premises or in the cloud, depending on your modernization effort. Implement a hybrid cloud to combine modernization without compromising business assets.
  • Expose business capabilities as RESTful services and incorporate event processing to support the many channels your customer uses.
  • Not only will you create APIs, but you will ensure the management of those APIs using API Connect's capabilities to support improved security and provide optimal performance to business partners and consumers.
  • Continue to build with agility and promote the utilization of DevOps pipelines and automated testing and deployment.

Let's learn how to take these motivating factors and map them to the capabilities of API Connect.

API Connect aligns with the goals of digital transformation

API Connect is not only about creating APIs – it's also about API management. API Connect is configured with a program called Cloud Manager and an API Manager console where you can configure your environment to fit your needs. Cloud Manager is shown here:

Figure 1.7 – API Connect Cloud Manager

Figure 1.7 – API Connect Cloud Manager

As you can see, Cloud Manager lets you configure your cloud, specify a topology that can include multiple availability zones, manage resources such as user registries, create provider organizations to establish a development team, and download a toolkit that provides offline development. It also provides a command-line interface so that you can begin building DevOps pipelines to drive agility in your deployments.

API Connect lets you create APIs, develop process/interactive APIs, and integrate with general-purpose or BFF APIs that work with system APIs. All of these APIs need to be managed. The consumers of the APIs need to be able to discover them, quickly understand how to interface with them, and review the documentation on how to apply security and quickly test the APIs. Here are some of the things that need to be managed

  • Versions of your API Products and Open API source code.
  • Creating and managing provider organizations. Provider organizations create the APIs, so you will need to add/maintain users to your provider organization.
  • Creating Catalogs for provider organization users that they can deploy to testing and production. You must also maintain users and roles for the respective Catalogs.
  • Creating and managing user registries for authentication/authorization.
  • Creating and managing security for your APIs with TLS certificates and OAuth provider resources.
  • Managing the life cycles of API products as you publish them to Catalogs and portals.
  • Community manager roles that manage consumer organizations.
  • Product manager roles that ensure API deployments are released properly.
  • Customizing your Consumer Portal and socializing your APIs.

The following screenshot shows the Developer Portal that is presented to consumers:

Figure 1.8 – API Connect Developer Portal

Figure 1.8 – API Connect Developer Portal

This un-customized portal shows features that you have learned are important in satisfying digital user experiences such as self-service, social interaction, search, and much more.

You'll learn more about these activities in Chapter 3, Setting Up and Getting Organized.

Modernizing implementation choices with API Connect

When you are modernizing, having the flexibility to choose where you deploy is important. If you are modernizing your existing on-premises systems with APIs, you can deploy API Connect on-premises using Kubernetes, OpenShift, or VMware.

The following is an OpenShift screenshot showing pods in a user-friendly interface:

Figure 1.9 – RedHat OpenShift platform

Figure 1.9 – RedHat OpenShift platform

The OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) provides the container orchestration layer for API Connect. API Connect is built on microservices and running on top of OCP allows your organization to choose which cloud provider to use. You can run OpenShift on-premises or on any of the major cloud providers (AWS, GCP, Azure, or IBM Cloud). OpenShift includes an enterprise-grade Linux operating system, container runtime, networking, monitoring, a registry, and authentication and authorization solutions.

The following is a screenshot of the OpenShift Cluster management screen. You can see that it provides critical information for an administrator to understand the health of the cluster and what activities are running:

Figure 1.10 – OpenShift Cluster overview

Figure 1.10 – OpenShift Cluster overview

If your company is leaning toward containerization in your digital journey, then OpenShift or Kubernetes are excellent options. If you're taking advantage of IaaS or PaaS, you can install API Connect on the IBM Cloud or as a reserved instance where your instance of API Connect is managed separately from a shared instance.

One of the PaaS options is Cloud Pak for Integration, which is part of IBM Automation. Cloud Pak for Integration (CP4I) is a powerful integrated platform for deploying containerized integration capabilities as part of an OpenShift deployment environment. By making use of CP4I, an organization can connect applications, systems, and services quickly and simply as part of a managed, controlled, scalable, and secure environment. This includes the following:

  • IBM App Connect Enterprise
  • IBM API Connect 
  • IBM DataPower Gateway Virtual Edition
  • IBM MQ and IBM MQ Advanced
  • IBM Event Streams and Confluent OEM (add-on)
  • IBM Aspera High-Speed Transfer Server

The following is a screenshot of CP4I:

Figure 1.11 – IBM Cloud Pak for Integration

Figure 1.11 – IBM Cloud Pak for Integration

These capabilities of CP4I (excluding API Connect) are not covered in this book because they support other capabilities and functionality that are not part of API Connect. If you would like to learn more, then there is plenty of information on the web regarding CP4I. You can start by going to the official website: https://www.ibm.com/cloud/cloud-pak-for-integration.

Summary

For some time now, digital transformation and digital modernization have been discussed in countless articles and references. There has been a success in these transformations, as well as many failures. At the beginning of this chapter, you were provided with background knowledge of the driving influences of businesses and how improvements in technology have driven new business practices. By understanding how the 7Ps of marketing (price, product, place, promotion, passion, people, and process) has led digital transformation and modernization into a holistic consolidation where all the parts of the organization work toward a common goal. By understanding your customers and taking advantage of new ways of doing business through digital technology, you learned that organizations can be more agile, run more efficiently, and produce products at a high level of efficiency and creativity so that consumers will react passionately about your product and do the promotion for you.

You learned that, of the many ways to modernize, APIs become the flexible glue that ties the solutions together. APIs are apparent at many levels of your architecture. Of the three major layers of APIs (UX APIs, process/interactive APIs, and system APIs), you learned that API Connect is dominant in the latter two by providing important management capabilities that follow the digital transformation's holistic practice.

In the latter half of this chapter, you were provided with more details on how API Connect supports your digital transformation. You were introduced to how API Connect can be installed on various platforms that follow your modernization efforts, whether that be on-premises, on cloud platforms using Kubernetes, or with OpenShift/Cloud Pak for Integration. By learning about all the available options, you now have choices that you can map to your strategic goals.

You are now at a point where having a deeper insight into API Connect will give you the tools to begin building, deploying, securing, and managing your digital transformation with APIs. The next chapter will provide that introduction.

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Key benefits

  • Explore techniques to design and deliver valuable customer-centric APIs using API Connect
  • Manage your APIs with improved security and optimal performance across many channels
  • Uncover hidden capabilities that help improve business agility and management within your API ecosystem

Description

IBM API Connect enables organizations to drive digital innovation using its scalable and robust API management capabilities across multi-cloud and hybrid environments. With API Connect's security, flexibility, and high performance, you'll be able to meet the needs of your enterprise and clients by extending your API footprint. This book provides a complete roadmap to create, manage, govern, and publish your APIs. You'll start by learning about API Connect components, such as API managers, developer portals, gateways, and analytics subsystems, as well as the management capabilities provided by CLI commands. You’ll then develop APIs using OpenAPI and discover how you can enhance them with logic policies. The book shows you how to modernize SOAP and FHIR REST services as secure APIs with authentication, OAuth2/OpenID, and JWT, and demonstrates how API Connect provides safeguards for GraphQL APIs as well as published APIs that are easy to discover and well documented. As you advance, the book guides you in generating unit tests that supplement DevOps pipelines using Git and Jenkins for improved agility, and concludes with best practices for implementing API governance and customizing API Connect components. By the end of this book, you'll have learned how to transform your business by speeding up the time-to-market of your products and increase the ROI for your enterprise.

What you will learn

Use API Connect to create, manage, and publish customer-centric, API-led solutions Run CLI commands to manage API configuration and deployments Create REST, SOAP, and GraphQL APIs securely using OpenAPI Support OAuth and JWT security methods using policies Create custom policies to supplement security Apply built-in policies to transform payloads Use CLIs and unit testing hooks within DevOps pipelines Find out how to customize Analytics dashboards and Portal User Interface

Product Details

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Publication date : Jan 14, 2022
Length 588 pages
Edition : 1st Edition
Language : English
ISBN-13 : 9781801070799
Vendor :
IBM
Category :

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Product Details


Publication date : Jan 14, 2022
Length 588 pages
Edition : 1st Edition
Language : English
ISBN-13 : 9781801070799
Vendor :
IBM
Category :

Table of Contents

21 Chapters
Preface Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
1. Section 1: Digital Transformation and API Connect Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
2. Chapter 1: Digital Transformation and Modernization with API Connect Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
3. Chapter 2: Introducing API Connect Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
4. Chapter 3: Setting Up and Getting Organized Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
5. Section 2: Agility in Development Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
6. Chapter 4: API Creation Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
7. Chapter 5: Modernizing SOAP Services Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
8. Chapter 6: Supporting FHIR REST Services Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
9. Chapter 7: Securing APIs Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
10. Chapter 8: Message Transformations Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
11. Chapter 9: Building a GraphQL API Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
12. Chapter 10: Publishing Options Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
13. Chapter 11: API Management and Governance Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
14. Chapter 12: User-Defined Policies Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
15. Section 3: DevOps Pipelines and What's Next Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
16. Chapter 13: Using Test and Monitor for Unit Tests Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
17. Chapter 14: Building Pipelines for API Connect Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
18. Chapter 15: API Analytics and the Developer Portal Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
19. Chapter 16: What's Next in Digital Transformation Post-COVID? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
20. Other Books You May Enjoy Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

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