The WSO2 Impact

Last week in London at the Royal Garden Hotel, 330 professionals gathered for WSO2’s EU Conference. It was our 12th conference, 5th to be held in Europe, and my 4th. We hold this conference to help our customers, partners, and employees better understand how to create an agile approach to shaping their digital business.

Preparing for microservice API gateways

In my opening keynote, we discussed the nature of WSO2’s impact on digital transformation over the past decade. With 485 employees and 6 global offices, we are finding new ways to help people get regulated financial services through PSD2 compliance and API management (Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale), get better health care by managing patient info and drug usage (Prime Therapeutics), get convenient shopping experiences (Far Fetched), getting to places faster through tube digitization (Transport for London), get efficient public services with digitized taxation (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs), or become more productive through integration (Travis Perkins).

WSO2 touches billions of people, identities, systems, and data daily

As part of this impact, 40 million identities login through our identity server. And given current projects underway with public sector and telco projects in Latin America and the EU, this will grow to more than 250 million in a few years. Dimuthu Leelarathne’s presentation on how IAM is a catalyst for digital transformation explains how identity has become the quiet backbone of nearly every transformation project.

In a couple years, 3 out of every 100 people will authenticate with WSO2

Increasingly, APIs are now the leading driver of digital transformation initiatives. APIs provide a common way for partners, developers and customers to access digital assets. WSO2 API Manager has become our fastest growing product, managing more than 20,000 APIs which in turn reach another 200,000 organizations. Engineers from WSO2 held sessions on how APIs are impacting microservice architecture, crafting API strategies with marketplaces, cloud-native API management, API gateways for microservices, building an integration platform strategy, and container-native digital transformation architecture.

In breakout sessions, WSO2 engineers discussed a future of micro gateways with billions of APIs…

APIs will have an even bigger impact on our future. As developers become comfortable with authoring microservices managed through orchestration, services will become recursive, both consuming from endpoints and becoming an endpoint themselves. The very act of writing small units of code generate new APIs. Centralized API management may not be sustainable forcing governance down into the services built by developers. Micro gateways, registries, and storefronts are emerging, embedding observability and control on the edge within each API into a topology of interconnected API managers.

If you are curious how APIs are altering the course of 6000 banks throughout the EU, see Seshika Fernando’s session on PSD2 and Open Banking.

WSO2’s Future Impact

Over the past few years, we have seen a new tension emerge:

  1. Rapidly changing developer consumption models
  2. Explosion of IT assets required for digital transformation

Did you know that there are now 286,000 SaaS applications and the average knowledge worker connects to 84 systems? These systems are now considered IT assets which must be integrated so that they become appreciating assets. But our range of IT assets has increased, where we must treat the billions of devices, millions of APIs, exabytes of data, billions of events, and billions of identities all as assets that are essential participants in our digital experiences.

In a few years, there will be trillions of endpoints participating in digital transformation

IT managers are facing new challenges.

  1. How do you increase agility across legacy assets and emerging technologies?
  2. How do you enable developer choice while increasing release velocity?
  3. How do you build and deploy services with Google SLAs when you have 3rd party dependencies?

Digital transformation starts with unlocking your IT assets. But with so many different assets to be managed, there is growth in 3rd party providers, which has lead to significant infrastructure specialization to achieve hyper-scale, which leads to a large number of specialized development frameworks required to program these IT assets.

It’s no wonder that according to IDG and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation that IT managers now report a 60% skill gap that is expected to increase in future years. The breadth and volume of technologies that a developer must understand has grown faster than our industry’s ability to absorb those technologies. With developers gaining bargaining power to choose their programming language, development methodology, and tool chain, IT managers are stuck in the middle choosing between recruiting available talent that brings unique development standards versus standardizing their IT stack for group-wise productivity.

At WSO2, we view APIs, events, and streams as technologies that allow IT managers to standardize how all of their IT assets are made available to developers. These technologies are a standard language that allow developers to unlock any consumption model, programming language, and tool chain.

More than just technology, these assets are the foundation of the serverless IT operating model. Today, most digital transformation projects are still server-based which has your services deployed as servers with reserved capacity, upfront commitments, and weak task isolation that creates an economic incentive for architectural bundling of tasks together. IT seeks out an optimal bundling of tasks to avoid overpayment for idle server time. However, APIs, events, and streams offer a simplification of IT architecture that allows for individuals requests to be aligned with microservices. This creates a potentially new type of operating model where costs are allocated per request, payments are made in arrears, and there is strong task isolation leading to economic behaviors that encourage us to split tasks instead of bundling them.

Build APIs, events, and streams to prepare for the world you are imagining…

Serverless programming models, still in their infancy, offer the promise of altering the IT cost structure to align costs with transactions. We heard from dozens of customers and partners that they are beginning their serverless journeys with WSO2.

Whatever your destination may be, APIs, events and streams are a way where you can advance your digital transformation journey. They unlock different programming models including servers, VMs, microservices, and FaaS; allows your services to be authored in different programming languages; creates composable “digital building blocks” with recursive consumption built-in; and modernizes your distributed architecture without disrupting bi-modal IT.

If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to consider WSO2 for your digital agility and transformation initiatives. We are the only provider that can connect all of your IT assets into APIs, events, and streams and then also provide a comprehensive governance. Our open source licensing model makes it easy to get started with WSO2 and forces us to align our subscription value to your project’s success.

WSO2 is the only provider that connects all IT assets into APIs, events, and streams

In Paul Fremantle’s keynote, he dove deeper into the concepts of APIs, events, and streams on how they are shaping an adaptive future for all of us. I wonder if we should be scared that he titled his session, “Darwin Ate My App”.

In Sanjiva Weerawarana’s keynote, he discussed the role of Ballerina, a new programming language designed to make it simple to program cross-cloud distributed transactions.

After my keynote, I was able to take private meetings with dozens of our customers and partners, and network with speakers and attendees. This group, collectively, makes up our ecosystem.

220 delivery partners, 50 technology partners, and 100 open source projects make an incredible ecosystem

I’ve never attended a conference where so many people were grappling with digital projects of such complexity and scale before. It’s incredible that we see WSO2 at the heart of all these projects and the excitement the community feels for how we can contribute even more significantly in the future. I’m eager to participate in our next conference and to further this vision, together.

I’d like to send a special thank you to the more than 100 WSO2 employees who participated in conference planning, logistics, organizing and speaking. Such an event is not possible without all of your passion and commitment.

iJet International: Transforming Identity Management for Increased Agility

iJet International provides customized risk management solutions, underpinned by intelligence, to global organizations for enhanced functionality and profitability. Their global intelligence experts monitor the world around the clock and empower their clients to respond to events such as natural disasters and political upheavals. The R&D at iJet is owned by their innovation arm, iJet Labs, who transformed their identity and access management (IAM) systems using WSO2’s IAM and API management capabilities. This transition was driven by a need to become more competitive, agile, and improve their business value for customers.

The pre-WSO2 days at iJet Labs were challenging, if it were to be described in one word. A centralized IAM solution was absent and in its place, there were purpose-built custom applications. As the user base increased, scalability became difficult and iJet could not always meet their various customers’ exact requirements. iJet Labs understood that it was imperative to create a centralized solution, which can be delegated to their clients to help meet their requirements and give them greater control of managing their credentials. At the time, user provisioning was a manual process. Even though this process was functional for several years, it was not necessarily user-friendly – there were examples of users repeating this process multiple times as they needed to access different types of systems.

Adding to their list of challenges, the architecture was an issue. From its inception in 1999, iJet has continually added many applications to their architecture, built on a central database. Yet again scalability proved to be problematic, as an application had to be scaled in its entirety and this was time consuming (though possible). “We are a product company, it is very important for us to market our ideas from the product team within the shortest possible timeframe. We need that market advantage, and this legacy architecture made it too difficult for us to be competitive,” says Ismail Seyfi, Lead Software Architect at iJet Labs.

iJet upgraded their architecture using WSO2 capabilities and migrated their servers to a WSO2 managed cloud. As big advocates of open source, Alfresco, Liferay, GeoServer, and Apache applications also contribute to their architecture. The WSO2 IAM platform has replaced iJet’s custom-built user and access management system. This introduction did not disrupt any existing applications, which now use proxy-based authentication. WSO2’s API management platform has enabled iJet to write microservices and replace their monolithic applications.

iJet Labs’ aspirations were not solely limited to revising their architecture, there were several deployment goals in mind as well. They wanted to build and configure an environment where new products could be developed efficiently without causing any interference to other development projects in progress. This was achieved by using an iJet development stack (which separates environments, installs software, and integrates them into one environment), base installation of WSO2 products and automated configuration. Ansible was adopted as the infrastructure and configuration tool. The positive results have become evident at iJet International. The changes have allowed them to integrate environments efficiently, provide dedicated environments to each development stream, sync environments with production, eliminate manual changes, and provide a single source of truth for configurations.

Listen to iJet International’s presentation by Ismail Seyfi and Matt Barnes (Automation and Software Engineer, iJet) for an in-depth discussion of this project.

Find out more about using WSO2’s IAM and API management platforms for business agility.

Fulfilling Integration Aspirations at the University of Exeter

Integrating 50 software applications in just three months – this is the feat Chakray Consulting UK achieved for the University of Exeter using WSO2’s integration capabilities. A part of the Russell Group, the University of Exeter is renowned for its research intensive agenda. As with any world-class educational institution, the University of Exeter seeks to build winning partnerships with their diverse student base and employees, create an impact with their research and ensure their strategies are future-oriented. Their digital strategy falls within this framework and a university of this scale (over 20,000 students, approximately 4,000 employees and campuses located in multiple locations) has several different systems in operation.

“Integration is strategic, it is always long term,” explains Jack A. Rider, CTO of Chakray Consulting. Accordingly, the university wanted to discard their legacy systems and adopt a cloud framework and service-oriented architecture. The beginning was quite daunting – as there were over 50 third party applications to contend with, and much of the time was spent on meetings alone (around 1,500 hours as shown by a rough calculation). Yet, the project was made easier because the university’s enterprise architects had a precise idea of the architecture they aspired to. Furthermore, Chakray Consulting has developed a solutions accelerator to build WSO2 platforms from code. As the name suggests, it expedites this process.

Selecting a cloud provider raised some issues as well initially – the Zero solution enabled them to create this on-site, Chakray then used AWS, switched to Microsoft Azure and reverted to AWS (without causing any significant changes to the project timelines). The current architecture uses a range of systems – SQL Server, Oracle Database, Git repository and Amazon Aurora to name a few. WSO2’s integration platform was used as the modular design, was absolutely necessary for integration of this scale, engages with continuous integration and automation technologies to enable the Zero solution, and could be used for hybrid and cloud deployments.

Now that the integration has proved successful, Jack is especially thankful for the encouraging leadership extended by the University which, in his opinion, is one of the lesser mentioned aspects of large-scale projects.

Watch Chakray’s presentation for more details of their integration feat.

Explore the WSO2 middleware platform with its offerings in integration, API management, identity and access management, analytics, and IoT.