Tag Archives: API Management

Why We Make Our Product Roadmaps Public

“Can you please share your roadmap?”

“What are your plans to engineer feature xxx?”

“Great product, but does your vision match ours?”

We get these questions all the time, from customers, partners, and analysts.

As the leading open source API integration company, it seemed antithetical to be open and transparent about our code, financials, and priorities, but not about our actual product roadmaps.

So we’ve now opened-up our product and solution visions and roadmaps for each of our integration-related products, all part of our Integration Agile platform:

Why would we do this?

There are a number of reasons we chose to take this bold step – a step that most high-tech companies shun as competitively risky, and thus guard their plans with absurd paranoia.

  • Public roadmaps are consistent with our open source community
  • We trust our community to work with us, and they can only do so if they know our plans. That way they are always involved in the technology and will be able to best deliver meaningful new features, contributions, and roadmap suggestions.

  • Public roadmaps signal our transparency
  • Transparency is key to building trust between partners. A public roadmap helps committers, partners and customers to know we’re pulling no punches with our direction. It’s also consistent with our no-lock-in approach… and that means there’s no lock-in to our roadmap either. With a transparent set of roadmaps, our technology partners know what to expect… and have a proactive vehicle to comment on the direction.

  • Public roadmaps are good for our customers’ trust
  • When our customers buy-in to our integration platform, they’re putting technology direction on the line. They want to know if we’ll be evolving in the direction they want. For them, it’s all about mitigating long-term technology risk. This way, we’re “opening the kimono” and boldly stating direction.

  • Public roadmaps show our pride, confidence, and vision
  • WSO2’s technology has been evolving for over 13 years. Over 350 engineers currently work on technologies like API management, identity management, ESBs, enterprise integration, and related integration architectures. This is one way of showing-off our vision and capabilities.

  • Public roadmaps are good for business
  • In sales situations, customers often ask pointed questions about specific (missing) features. And the usual answer “Yup, we’re working on supporting it” is always received with skepticism. Our public roadmaps put our money where our mouth is… either it’s on the roadmap, or it’s not. Or, we work with our partners to change the roadmap… for everyone else to see.

Next, what’s on our Roadmap roadmap?

This is the first of many more steps we’ll be taking toward increased openness and transparency. But the other critical component is your feedback. So if you have thoughts about our roadmap- positive or negative – there are many avenues you can use, including our Contact Us button – and include your feedback.

Medical Device Integration for Better Decision Making in the Healthcare Industry: A Case Study From Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A

Medical devices that communicate with one another…sounds futuristic (or like something from a science fiction movie or novel), but it’s happening today. Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A, an Italian based software solutions provider, developed a Medical Device Integration (MDI) solution that enables devices to communicate securely, efficiently, and intelligently, enhancing patient care and monitoring capabilities. And to create their solution, they rely on the entire WSO2 Integration Agile platform.

Medical Device Integration with the WSO2 Integration Agile Platform

MDI comes with its distinctive set of challenges. Communication between medical devices is complex, hence each device needs a standard and secure communication protocol based on multiple channels. Then there’s the issue of processing thousands of events. A large hospital has a multitude of patient data, generated from thousands of sources. Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A needed to analyze these events and view patient data in the form of trend lines on customized dashboards. Also needed were monitoring dashboards displaying data regarding the status of devices.

The architecture behind MDI makes use of WSO2 Identity Server, WSO2 API Manager, WSO2 Enterprise Integrator, and WSO2 Stream Processor, along with WSO2’s IoT platform (now developed and supported by Entgra). To begin with, WSO2 Identity Server – a holistic identity and access management product – makes this solution and communication between components secure by using protocols such as OAuth2 with JWT tokens. This identity platform also generates tokens to access WSO2 API Manager.

WSO2 Enterprise Integrator facilitates all the communications in this solution and comes with integration runtimes, message brokering, and business process modeling capabilities. This agile integration platform is responsible for communicating with external modules, between the various devices and the central MDI system, and with Terminology Services to perform compensation and transformation of incoming/outgoing streams. Furthermore, WSO2 Enterprise Integrator provides technology for this solution to generate alerts or notifications from MDI to application solutions.

WSO2 Stream Processor – a lightweight stream processing platform – analyzes clinical messages from the device driver in real-time. Technical and clinical information has been divided into different complex event processing (CEP) flows. This makes it possible to manage technical warnings or CEP feeds of clinical data, and the machine learning component acquires and refines classified algorithms to help predict critical situations. WSO2 Stream Processor, in particular, has helped Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A to address the challenges of processing and analyzing the many events and the need for a customized dashboard.

The IoT capabilities are used to develop device drivers with installation packages. Each device driver has a health module that transmits technical information (which ranges from data like the heartbeat to the status of components). Each driver is also able to transform specific device protocols (such as RS232, HL7, etc.) into an encrypted generic platform message, thereby eliminating the need for MDI to identify each protocol.

The Benefits for Patients in Real Life

There’s quite a complex architecture in operation, so how does it function in a real-life situation? Marco Mastroianni, a software architect at Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A, explains how their solution applies to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Patients in the ICU are dependent on monitoring and life-sustaining devices where the use of information from combined (or integrated) data sources play a critical role in predicting a patient’s condition. Underpinning everything is time and the speed of communication. In such environments, monitoring capabilities and notification mechanisms come to the foreground. The data generated by these devices appear in the form of signals which is of value to signal processing techniques. Therefore, this process helps to both monitor patients and design algorithms that are used to implement patient alarms.

Patient monitoring is not limited to hospital premises – the MDI solution helps to monitor them in their homes too. Monitoring is dependent on communication between devices, how they’re managed, and how patient data is received by medical professionals. An MDI solution such as this reduces the probability of errors (particularly human errors) – greatly supporting the wellbeing of patients and the quality and speed of decision making.

You can listen to Marco’s presentation for more details on the MDI solution built by Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A.

WSO2 offers an open source integrated platform for digitally driven organizations who want to become integration agile. Everything you need to know is here.

Schneider Electric Uses API-driven Integration for Innovative Energy Management

Schneider Electric is the market leader in the digital transformation of the energy management and automation industry, with an annual revenue of over 25 billion Euros and around 150,000 employees in more than 100 countries. Schneider Electric makes it possible for IoT-enabled solutions to seamlessly connect, collect, analyze, and act on data in real-time. In doing so, they deliver enhanced safety, efficiency, reliability, and sustainability to their customers. The company helps its customers do three main things: enable them to to manage their efficiency better by optimizing their processes and energy usage; manage their energy supply better by integrating local production and managing energy sourcing; and lastly, manage their grid better through digitalization.

Addressing Changing Energy Needs Through Technology

Schneider Electric is keenly aware of the changing energy and technology landscape and knows that it needs to stay ahead of these changes in order to remain competitive. As the demand for energy continues to increase, Schneider Electric’s approach to solving this issue is to find ways of generating energy more efficiently. Using digitization and IoT, the company is looking at being three times more efficient in its energy demand going forward.
In 2015, Schneider Electric decided to move from solution-driven integration, to a service oriented architecture (SOA). This simplified how customers could access and consume services in a more standardized way, and also shielded them from the complexity of the back-end of the SOA systems. The digital team at Schneider Electric decided to use APIs to support the new SOA, and sought API publishers that would be able to expose APIs easily, and manage them effectively.

Schneider Electric chose WSO2 API Manager because it fulfilled all of their requirements while being open source and flexible in that it could be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. WSO2 API Manager was the ideal choice as it addresses full API lifecycle management, monetization, and policy enforcement as well as extensibility and customization.

They also decided to replace their legacy integration solution with WSO2 Enterprise Integrator in order to further support their API real-time strategy. WSO2 Enterprise Integrator is a comprehensive integration solution that enables communication between various disparate applications. Instead of having Schneider Electric’s various applications communicate directly with each other in all their different formats, WSO2 Enterprise Integrator would enable all of the disparate applications to communicate with the the product which handles transforming and routing of messages to their appropriate destinations. According to Tristan Solanet, integration platform owner at Schneider Electric, using WSO2 Enterprise Integrator has helped bring consistency across the company.

Deployment From Europe to the US and China

Schneider Electric began by deploying WSO2 API Manager and WSO2 Enterprise Integrator in a data center in Europe. The company uses both internal gateways and external gateways, the former for internal network usage and the latter has a subset of APIs published on them. As its customer base in the US expanded, Schneider Electric’s digital team decided to deploy select API gateways in North America using an Amazon virtual private cloud. This addressed the problem of latency that US customers had experienced when they had to call gateways in Europe in order to access information and support. The next step in Schneider Electric’s deployment strategy was to address the increasing demand from China. Taking into consideration the specificities of the Chinese context, Schneider Electric deployed additional gateways in China. Among the challenges the company faced was in making the connection between China and Europe work. The connection between the US and Europe through the company’s internal network had been a lot smoother than the one between China and Europe. Ultimately, it was decided that a second key manager be configured in China, in addition to the original one in Europe.

Schneider Electric’s partnership with WSO2 has enabled the company to share functional intelligence with their customers using log value. Custom dashboards have also been developed to suit the company’s needs using WSO2’s analytics capabilities. Metrics are monitored on a real-time basis on these dashboards and can be filtered for geographic region, period of time, and customer’s perspective.

EcoStruxure: An IoT Enabled Interoperable Platform

Schneider Electric also created EcoStruxure, an IoT-enabled, plug-and-play, open, interoperable architecture and platform. It is used in homes, buildings, data centers, and infrastructure industries and delivers innovation at multiple levels from Connected Products to Edge Control, and Apps, Analytics and Services. EcoStruxure has 6 domains of expertise – Power, IT, Building, Machine, Plant, and Grid and uses standard communication protocols to simplify the collection of data from intelligent devices around a customer’s organization. The data is then analyzed either locally using Edge Control or remotely in the cloud to provide the customer with critical insights to improve their business.

Interoperability is a key feature of EcoStruxure, facilitating the deployment of a range of agnostic applications, analytics, and services for seamless enterprise integration. To put it simply, EcoStruxure bridges IT and IoT and allows customers to maximize the value of their business data. Data is transformed into actionable intelligence which in turns leads to wiser business decisions. To date, deployment of EcoStruxure exceeds 450,000 installations, with the support of 9,000 system integrators, and over a billion connected devices.

mySchneider App: Showcasing Digital Transformation at Schneider Electric

The redesigned mySchneider App is one of the flagships of Schneider Electric’s digital transformation initiative. Distributors, partners, Schneider employees and increasingly, end-users use it to connect to the company’s digital hub. Based almost entirely on APIs, mySchneider App allows access to information on order management, support, partnership management, and a comprehensive product catalog. The app has been translated into 36 languages and has approximately 30,000 unique users a month. Each user has the ability to customize their interface with the app based on their user profile and country.

The benefits of an API-led connectivity approach include building reusable assets that save the company time and money, creating infrastructure that is flexible and designed for change, along with enhanced visibility, compliance, and governance. Projects are now delivered faster and team productivity is greater as a result.

Schneider Electric believes that by implementing SOA with an API-led connectivity approach, facilitated by WSO2, they have been able to drive business agility, provide customers with better customer experiences, and retain their competitive advantage as the world leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation.

Watch Tristan’s talk to learn more about Schneider Electric’s plans to prepare for the future.

New to the WSO2 Integration Agile platform? Learn more about our technology for API management and enterprise integration, all open source!

Delighting Customers with an API First Approach at Proximus

Proximus, the largest telecommunications provider in Belgium, has been around since 1930. At present, Proximus provides internet, TV, telephone, and network-based ICT services. Their brand portfolio includes Scarlet, NBRACE, tango, ClearMedia, TeleSign, Davinsi Labs, telindus, BEMOBILE, and bics. Collectively, these brands have presence beyond Europe – in the Middle East, Americas, Africa, and APAC.

APIs Are Great – Again

Proximus has 2,000 to 3,000 applicators in the entire organization, integrating internally and externally with partners, competitors, and customers. Most importantly, these integrations have to be managed. The scenario that would result in not doing so is endless difficulty and inconvenience. A decade ago, Proximus designed their architecture for managing commodity services such as authentication, authorization, routing, and monitoring. So far, so good.

Change came in the form of agile business transformation. By becoming more agile, they were looking to deliver services faster, of better quality, and at lower cost. Proximus achieved business agility by building functionality shaped building blocks that are re-usable and loosely coupled. These building blocks are used to provide their digital solutions, all at lower costs and higher quality. Agile transformation has been made possible by WSO2 API Manager, which supports any spectrum of the API lifecycle, and WSO2 Identity Server, a holistic identity and access management (IAM) solution. Both are open source.

“We had to rethink what we were doing and essentially look at making APIs great again,” says Sean Kelly, an enterprise architect at Proximus. They’ve already worked with APIs, mainly to offer services – but agile transformation means approaching everything differently. This began by bringing together architectural domains that are well-defined and separate. For one, there was a functional domain which operated on specific blocks of functionalities (such as customer address management). Then there was an important security domain that is responsible concerns such as GDPR compliance. The application domain handles patching, upgrading, migrations, and such. And finally, the infrastructure domain is needed for deployment.

Functional Domain in Detail

Sean explains the new approach at Proximus by using the functional domain as an example. The team at Proximus documented all business capabilities and they first defined the characteristics of a capability. For starters, a capability must be a subject matter expert i.e. a customer address management capability is the owner and master of this specific block of data. This capability is the single source of data for the particular function, with a specific team attached to it. Furthermore, business capabilities are also mutually exclusive – unique, but independent, self-contained, and well defined.

The implementation of this new API-first approach happened in a very structured manner. APIs at Proximus are lightweight and powerful, with simpler life cycles and release cycles. Product teams were empowered and the API management platform is more agile. Although the API management platform is a self-service one, there are certain controls in place. Collaboration plays a big role too. Given the number of architectural domains, collaboration could be a challenge and it required a shift in mindset across the organization.

Organizational Change from Service Orientation (SOA) to Resource-Based Architecture

Proximus adopted the Bimodal practice to deal with organizational change. Introduced by Gartner, Bimodal refers to the strategy of coping with change and it’s comprised of two modes (modes 1 and 2). As per Gartner’s definition, these 2 modes are cycles, and not separate groups or departments in the company. “Mode 1 is the marathon runner, that is, it refers to APIs that perform core business functions. Mode 2 is more like a sprinter. These are the APIs that respond to the environment, are closer to your customers, more agile, and typically more disruptive,” Sean explains. At Proximus, mode 1 is applied to internal APIs and existing SOA services. Mode 2 is applied to external APIs and this is where they publish their digital products, with a strong focus on security.

Apart from the Bimodal practice, Proximus has also adopted several principles. There’s no domain dumping model at Proximus, and they use concepts that are known and understood within the organization. They design for loose coupling, as vendor-neutral APIs are preferred and it allows them to change one component to another with minimal impact. Proximus also use industry standards such as O-Auth2, XACML, SID, JWTE, etc. Another is the use of smart endpoints and dumb pipes, which is to avoid business logic in a centralized middleware. Security is coded, rather than configured. As such, the code is typically only written once and then validated by security, making it easier to manage this process as well. Proximus also do not use the latest version of a particular technology offered – they prefer to trail behind the bleeding edge, as they’re on the lookout for the first round of patches and use the functionality with greater confidence at a later time. And finally, Proximus only builds components or purchases software that is cloud native.

Delighting Customers

The team at Proximus are satisfied with their API first approach and the resulting API marketplace. “We’re focusing on delighting our customers, delivering value, and doing all this at a lower cost. We use WSO2 to do what they do best. For us, WSO2 is an API management platform and we let them handle that while we focus on the business,” says Sean. As with any innovative business, there are more changes afoot at Proximus and they’re looking to take WSO2 along with them as their business evolves.

Watch Sean’s presentation for more information about the transformation at Proximus.

Check out our product pages for WSO2 API Manager and WSO2 Identity Server to find out how you can use these products in your enterprise.

The API-driven World: WSO2 Integration Summit is Coming to a City Near You!

Starting in March, the WSO2 team, our partners, and I will be hitting the road for the 2019 WSO2 Integration Summit world tour. The 2018 Summit series was our biggest yet, featuring customer success stories from enterprises that have used our technology to fulfill digital transformation strategies and create innovative experiences for their customers. Refusing to sit back and relax, we’re making the 2019 Summits even better. We will be visiting at least 24 cities in 20 countries and 6 continents to show how you can achieve API-driven integration agility.

We are scaling our efforts by collaborating with our partners on each of our summits. We started this year by inviting all our partners for WSO2 Sales Bootcamp. For the first time ever, we had partners from all around the world participating in the 2019 kickoff alongside our own teams. Insights were gained, strategies were discussed, plans were made, and the summit tour was born. Because of our partners’ global presence, we are able to reach six of the seven continents (the penguins in Antarctica didn’t show much interest in WSO2!).

Group picture from Sales Bootcamp 2019

Summit Theme: The API-driven World

APIs are touching every facet of our society and the underlying trends are going to generate nearly 1 billion APIs in the coming years. All digital transformation depend on APIs and integration technologies underpin their evolution. Each WSO2 Summit will comprise a full day of vision and practical use cases focused on integrating a world of disaggregated APIs, cloud services, and data. We will discuss topics such as transforming integration projects from waterfall to agile, by moving from the centralized model to a decentralized architecture and methodology; combining enterprise integration, API management, and identity solutions; writing microservices that integrate APIs using Ballerina; and using open source technology for greater customization and flexibility. The summits will also feature guest speakers from digital-native organizations who will talk candidly about their API-driven transformations.

We’ll show you how to navigate current trends and use them to deliver innovation and new opportunities. Listen to visionary keynotes by WSO2 senior leadership, meet and network with industry experts and others who are striving to solve similar enterprise problems, and learn how integration agility could help with maximizing revenue and productivity. Join our interactive discussions to empower your team and stay one step ahead of evolving business needs.

While the the underlying themes of each summit remains the same, the agenda differs from location to location. The interactive sessions are tailored to each region, helping you gain relevant information on what matters to you and your enterprise. From open banking to retail and healthcare, our plan is to cover it all.

WSO2 Integration Summit 2019 global locations

If you are a customer or a community user and would like to speak at one of the summits, please let us know, as we have a limited number of spots still available. Get in touch with us at cfp@wso2.com.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Space is limited, so save your spot today.

Follow @wso2 on Twitter to get the latest updates. We are using the #WSO2Summit hashtag.

Macmillan Learning and Ribbonfish: Solving Diverse Integration Needs to Help Students and Instructors Better

Macmillan Learning is a leader in the education publishing and EdTech industries, with a target market of over 9,000 colleges and 50,000 high schools in USA and Canada. Their partnerships with many of the world’s best researchers, educators, and administrators, as well as their emphasis on top quality content drive their business. Macmillan Learning teamed up with Ribbonfish, who specializes in offering service solutions to the media and publishing industries, to answer the changing needs of the education industry – helping both students and instructors improve their outcomes.

A Technology Strategy for an Evolving Industry

Macmillan Learning observed how the education industry has been evolving over the years and realized that they need a strategy to answer to the rapid developments that are taking place in this industry. Key among their goals was responding to market needs faster and providing students with interactive digital solutions to support their education.

However, the education industry is a seasonal one and Macmillan Learning wanted to ensure their new solutions caused the least amount of disruption, particularly during peak times. Another important consideration was the internal organizational structure. “You can’t develop a technology strategy in isolation, we need to be mindful of both the structure and culture of an organization. The culture needs to be improved, particularly when partnering with others and the structure needs to be standardized across the various teams,” says Sagar Bujbal, VP technology at Macmillan Learning.

Like any other business, Macmillan Learning integrates with many disparate systems. “Around 60 to 80% of your time is spent on supporting these various systems, rather than concentrating on innovation. When thinking about the right solutions implement, we really need to quantify the strengths and weaknesses of each of these systems,” says Paul King, a solutions architect at Ribbonfish. Both Paul and Sagar stress on the point that seamless integration in such a context requires architectural guardrails and governance. They explain that a well-defined target reference architecture (prior to development) with a long term vision, taking into account changes that will have to be encountered over the years, is a solid starting point. Best practices and utilizing out-of-box platform capabilities are further requirements for seamless integration.

Sagar and Paul presenting at WSO2Con USA

Selecting the Right Technology

Both Sagar and Paul believe that an enterprise integration platform is one of the most strategic technology decisions that a business makes. They were looking to build a target reference architecture that was business driven, rather than focusing on a particular technology and evaluated several technology vendors based on this. Macmillan Learning and Ribbonfish considered factors such as platform capabilities, maturity of the product, type of agility provided for developers, quality of production support, costs, and the vendor’s willingness to work closely with a business to solve their particular needs. Both were of the view that WSO2 Enterprise Integrator, with its integration runtimes, message brokering, business process modeling, and analytics capabilities, catered to their requirements.

Achieving Seamless Integration

Given the fact that integration needs at Macmillan Learning were diverse, Sagar and Paul decided on APIs as the de-facto standard for integrating all their systems. They also made sure that there was no direct coupling. Their current architecture includes the Macmillan Learning integration layer composed of WSO2 Enterprise Integrator along with Salesforce. Paul explains that one of their main goals when building the new architecture was to not over complicate things and using WSO2 helped, “One of the big things we really took from it when we selected WSO2 as a platform and service was that there are plenty of solutions within WSO2 itself.”

Paul and Sagar state that documenting the inventory of business processes and interactions contributed a lot to their success, as it helped them to better define their target reference architecture. They also believe that defining their integration techniques, constant communication with their engineering team, and weekly reviews of what they implemented helped them immensely.

More innovation is planned for Macmillan Learning and Ribbonfish. The huge scale of transformation at Macmillan Learning means that there is a continuous demand to meet these requirements. Proactive customer service plays a key role in this transformation. Macmillan Learning and Ribbonfish gain insights from interactions between customer care agents, students, and instructors to improve this transformation process and customer satisfaction. And as mentioned earlier, they will continue to review what they do for the best possible outcomes.

To learn more about how Macmillan Learning and Ribbonfish are working together, watch this video:

Everything you need to learn about WSO2 Enterprise Integrator is here.

NewWave Taps API-driven Innovations to Develop Federally Compliant Healthcare Microservices for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is a federal agency in the United States Department of Health and Human Services that administers the Medicare program and works with state governments to administer Medicaid. It is the single largest payer for healthcare in the United States and provides services to over 130 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Creating a stream of relevant and timely applications and products to service their significant customer base, while ensuring compliance with federal IT regulations, poses enormous challenges to CMS.

Traditionally, it takes several hundreds of hours of manual coding to develop an application that meets the federal government’s 3-zone architecture requirement. The process is so laborious and time consuming that the solution being developed often risks being obsolete before it has even deployed. Fortunately, CMS’ healthcare technology partner, NewWave, has devised an API-based solution that develops and deploys federally compliant healthcare microservices at hyper speed.

NewWave’s mission is to work with their clients to modernize their businesses and empower them to use technology in new ways. Donghwa Kim, director of application engineering at NewWave, says, “When we solve problems, we constantly remind ourselves of three things – people, processes, and tools. And of all three, people always comes first.” In keeping with this mission, the challenge of technological obsolescence at CMS was a natural fit for the company.

Donghwa discussing this solution at WSO2Con USA

Powered by Flexible APIs

Using API-driven innovations, NewWave developed SmartApp, a powerful development accelerator that streamlines application start-up and delivery at CMS. NewWave compared several vendors and settled on the open source WSO2 API Manager, as it had all the features they required for the new solution, which above-all needed to be flexible. WSO2 API Manager allows customization and extensibility, in addition to supporting full API lifecycle management. It’s designed to fit into microservices architectures. “Also, WSO2 provides great support,” says Donghwa.

Based on JHipster, a Yeoman generator for Sprint Boot applications, SmartApp uses best-in-breed components like Spring Boot, Spring Cloud Components, MongoDB, MySQL, HTML5, Angular JS, React, Bootstrap, and OAuth to generate responsive and cloud-ready Java applications. This saves developers hundreds of hours in manual coding. Compared to traditional application development which can take several sprints and up to fifteen weeks to complete, SmartApp compresses project set up/plumbing, basic CRUD Domain implementation and custom development into 2-3 weeks.

The beauty of SmartApp is its simplicity. The user selects an application’s desired features from a list of menu items which then generates a secure, unit-tested, and standardized project structure specific to the user’s specifications. A fully functional application can be built in minutes, with no coding required. Features include auto-populated project libraries, architectures and database back-ends. SmartApp is also available as a Vagrant-ready Docker image.

The infrastructure supporting SmartApp is called SPADE (Self-Provisioning And Dashboard Environment). SPADE is an open-source DevSecOps platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that deploys and manages SmartApp microservices. It supports modern containerized deployments while complying with the government’s three-zone architecture. This infrastructure is web-based, cloud-hosted, API-driven, vendor-agnostic, open-source, hosted on-premise, and has dashboard functionality. SPADE also enables SmartAPP users to develop, test, deploy, and maintain microservices.

Better, Faster Healthcare Apps

Both SmartApp and SPADE make up the complete solution by which CMS can develop, deploy, and manage federally compliant, secure healthcare applications in a matter of minutes. CMS is now able to automate the long-drawn out process of application development, and by reducing the time spent on time-consuming tasks, they can focus more on delivering value to their customers.

Learn more about SmartApp and SPADE in this video:

Find out more about WSO2 API Manager. We were named as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: API Management Solutions, Q4 2018 Report.

Micron Technology: Leveraging an API-first Strategy to “Chip” Away at Technical Debt

What do a caveman, a horse cart, and a Micron developer have in common? They all use archaic tools.

Micron Technology — a global manufacturer of semiconductor devices, headquartered in Boise, USA — currently has numerous monolithic client/server applications and legacy technology that amount to a lot of technical debt. To solve this issue, they decided to migrate from a system deeply entrenched with internally developed thick clients to an API-first strategy using WSO2 API Manager.

The Problem at Hand

Micron Technology has many dynamic link libraries (DLLs) that are deployed throughout 40,000 workstations across the company. Thick client applications are pushed to each desktop and all DLLs, .NET libraries and the issues that come with them need to be managed. By employing an API management layer, they first aimed to simplify the means for migrating and managing this system.

Today, if they wanted to do an enhancement to a DLL, they don’t know who it will impact and can’t easily find out who the owners are. So another key requirement was to have the ability to identify owners and users of those APIs. They also needed throttling capabilities and 24/7/365 uptime was critical. Next, they needed to support all sites with one solution. This includes the front-end site where the semiconductor chips and created and the back-end site where the processed chip is tested, probed and packaged.

They also needed to ensure that standards and best practices for API development and deployment were followed, which proved to be a difficult task considering the paradigm shift for Micron developers. “We need to provide a solution that makes it easy to design, develop, and manage these new web services,” says Alan Pearson, IT Operations Manager at Micron Technology.

The Journey to API Freedom

To create this solution they needed key functionality including security, monitoring, throttling, multi-tenancy, transforming, and routing capabilities – which lead them to WSO2.

They are currently deploying WSO2 API Manager on-premise and are in the process of reworking all their thick application to an API-first approach while providing the guaranteed uptime. They have 10 gateway deployments worldwide, kept up-to-date using subversion sync, with the master publisher and store in Boise, Idaho. Updates to WSO2 API Manager are applied every month using WSO2 Update Manager and Puppet scripts, which has saved them 15 hours of manual work and eliminated the possibility of human error.

They have now enabled core APIs as web services for language agnostic development, which eliminates the need to recreate the wheel for every desktop update (for example from Visual Studio 2010 to Visual Studio 2017). This is done by moving the data access and business logic to the web service.

They also implemented a global server load balancer, which is a self-aware system that sets up an alias and routes users (the developers) to the nearest site based on their location. For example, if a user makes a request from Taiwan, the load balancer would point them to the Singapore gateway. If for some reason that gateway is down, there will be an automatic failover to the Boise gateway. This provides resiliency and guaranteed uptime. In addition to this, they also created a number of usage metrics.

Creating an API Marketplace

Micron Technology didn’t stop there. To really make this API-first approach a success, they needed to educate their developers and make sure usage increased. This was done by applying the concepts of an API marketplace and promoting activities like evangelism, hackathons, and workshops. They built a Center of Excellence (CoE) that was responsible for helping the development community understand what the API gateway was and how to leverage it.

They did dog and pony shows in sites around the world, created manuals, conducted train-the-trainer sessions, and even employed additional training through Yenlo — a WSO2 Premier Certified Integration Partner. An innovation initiative was also introduced. They used an API that translates English to whatever language (the secure tech translator) to provide an overview of the API store and publisher. They then conducted a hackathon that allowed users to create and publish their own web services.

“The cool thing is you could translate English to Klingon [a fictional language in Star Trek], and when I did this is the demo, a few people actually understood what I translated,” says Alan. This shows how relating an educational session to something that their developers were interested in really helped Micron Technology with their onboarding process.

Learning Areas for a Successful API Program

Because it was a major paradigm shift for their developers, providing them with the appropriate training and tools was key. They also had to align WSO2 ownership within the team (from the hardware to the applications) in order to speed up turnover time and tighten the integration. Implementing the global server load balancer was also an important step in ensuring high availability. Additionally, they used Puppet to automate where possible and reduce manual work.

“The other thing I had to do is really go around and sell, sell, sell. If it means doing site visits, visiting with all our developers, and doing on-site training, that’s what we’ll do to get a successful deployment,” says Alan.

They still have a lot left to do including growing their documentation, continuing their training, supporting DevOps and API lifecycle management, creating a WUM test area and evaluating WSO2’s cloud deployment for external facing APIs.

After an architecture review and use case walkthroughs, WSO2 identified and added product enhancements to the roadmap including access control for an unlimited tier and mediation extensions. “WSO2 does listen and partnering with them has helped out. We’ve had quick turnaround on [support] tickets, they’ve added numerous enhancement requests, and we’ve had on-site architectural reviews that have been really helpful to drive the product forward,” concludes Alan.

Watch Alan’s presentation at WSO2Con USA to learn more.

Try the open source WSO2 API Manager today >

Did you know? We were named a leader in The Forrester Wave: API Management Solutions, Q4 2018 report. You can download the report here, no email required.

Skate to Where the Puck Will Be: How Wells Fargo Created an Award Winning, Customer Facing API Channel

When studying Internet user habits, Wells Fargo came across a surprising revelation – although the amount of time that individuals spend online has leaped significantly over a 16 year time frame (from 2000 to 2016), only around 3% of that time is allocated to browsing about financial services. This got Eric Halverson, SVP, Head of Gateway Support & Services at Wells Fargo, thinking about their existing distribution channel and how it can be improved to provide better experiences for people. For Eric (and Wells Fargo), doing what’s right for customers means not only answering customer expectations, but exceeding them and building relationships that last a lifetime. Enter the Wells Fargo API Gateway, created using our open source WSO2 API Manager. This platform delivers all their products and services to customers’ digital experience of choice and supports all of Wells Fargo’s business units across the company.

Eric Halvorson presenting a keynote at WSO2Con USA 2018

Yet how do you begin to provide APIs to customers all around the world? Upon realizing there were no large banks in the US that had an API platform, a team of 4 from Wells Fargo spoke to banks in Europe and Southeast Asia, in addition to companies in the US who had built API platforms. Following which Wells Fargo decided to expand this particular team from 4 to 150 within six months. They also decided to use agile, and in essence live the agile manifesto, over the waterfall fashion. The API Gateway was launched on September 2016, with 5 APIs and DevPortal 1.0 (the latter was very basic at the time, although it had all the functionalities for integration).

Fast forward to July 2018, Wells Fargo had hundreds of implementations with many customers who are performing multiple API implementations. The platform provides streamlined on-boarding for both new and existing partners, round the clock operations and support, and multiple security layers in addition to the existing risk management controls. They’ve also launched DevPortal 2.0 which bagged a Monarch Award for its creativity and innovation.

Engaging with their community of customers and partner groups takes precedence for Wells Fargo. They’ve repeatedly heard from customers about the difficulties they face when implementing large scale platforms. Which is why from the project’s inception, Wells Fargo went that extra mile to ensure that customers can integrate easily. The fastest onboarding time so far? One day!

Customers and partnerships will continue to be at the forefront as Wells Fargo continues to explore the many API opportunities that are out there. Currently they’ve identified 3 areas of interest: creating API products for wholesale customers, partnerships with 3rd party platforms, and accelerate Wells Fargo integrations with vendor solutions. Eric explains further, “As we gain more experience with our customers and see how our integrations work, we’ll open up to more as we go along. It’s a constantly evolving strategy of trying to be where the puck will be – we want to be where the industry is moving before it gets there.”

Some use cases of the Wells Fargo API Gateway include account aggregation, ACH payments, and foreign exchange. Retail customers are a big beneficiary of account aggregation APIs, as they can control access to their data through a product named Control Tower™ which Wells Fargo introduced specifically for this purpose. Customers can check their account balance and activity data on approved aggregator sites. As the top ACH payment provider in the US, Wells Fargo has built up their transactional APIs to be re-used, allowing customers to move from one experience to another with minimal changes to their resources underlying the APIs. Customers who need to transfer funds internationally benefit from the foreign exchange platform, which is directly connected to customers’ ERP or customer portals. These customers can obtain a foreign exchange quote, book a deal, and settle the payments all in one go. “We’re making people’s lives richer by embedding financial services in the moment they’re at, and delivering services to where the customer is at rather than making them come to us,” concludes Eric.

Watch Eric’s presentation for more details about the Wells Fargo API Gateway.

Learn more about WSO2 API Manager. Did you know? We were named as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: API Management Solutions, Q4 2018 Report. You can download this report here, no details required.

WSO2 Named a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: API Management Solutions, Q4 2018 Report

Today, The Forrester Wave™: API Management Solutions, Q4 2018 was released and WSO2 is named a leader!

You can download the report (without filling in a form) here.

This recognition is a major achievement. Congratulations to the many internal teams, partners and customers that participated in the efforts to make WSO2 the only open source vendor evaluated in the report.

Nuwan Dias, WSO2’s product lead for APIM gave a tour-de-force 2-hour non-stop demo demonstrating raw software athleticism. Also, I’d like to tip my hat to Randy Heffner and the Forrester team for structuring a thorough (and frankly, exhausting) analysis that assuredly left no stone unturned from any vendor.

The API management market is growing because IT professionals see APIs as a critical foundation for agile software to support customer engagement, operational excellence, digital transformation, and business agility.

Forrester states why APIs are essential: “The API management solutions market is growing because more AD&D pros see APIs as a critical foundation for agile software to support customer engagement, operational excellence, digital transformation, and business agility.”

API management has become an essential part of every integration strategy and it’s why WSO2’s APIM solution is fundamental to how we help organizations become integration agile.

What Forrester Says About WSO2

  1. “WSO2’s open source solution provides a solid base for a variety of API strategies.”
  2. “[WSO2 is] the only fully open source solution in our Forrester Wave analysis.”
  3. “WSO2 provides good breadth across all evaluation criteria.”
  4. “[WSO2’s] strengths include formal life-cycle management and non-REST APIs, both of which facilitate mature and disciplined enterprise API strategies.”
  5. “WSO2’s solution provides flexibility to address a variety of approaches to APIs.”
  6. “The reference customers provided by WSO2 are highly satisfied with its solution and very satisfied with the vendor.”
  7. “[Customers] tend to be very to extremely satisfied with the product’s detailed features and functions.”
  8. “Customer comments include“[WSO2’s] partnership attitude inspires confidence and trust.”
  9. And “[WSO2’s] solution is easy to use.”

What Is Special About WSO2

In addition to the demo and a (many 100s) questionnaire, we delivered a summary presentation to Forrester’s team discussing our market penetration, product composition, and long term thinking.

WSO2 API Manager: The only comprehensive open source solution has been shipping for 6 years

API Management provides full lifecycle management of APIs for a variety of scenarios, whether B2B access, internal development, shared libraries, or monetization. WSO2 has been shipping our offering for 6 years and it has expanded to include a macro and micro gateway, embedded analytics and API identity, and API development tooling. WSO2 was the only vendor whose entire stack was both open source and available in on-premises or cloud offerings.

Embedded identity and integration makes legacy asset transformation into APIs possible without buying other products.

WSO2 provides a complete set of capabilities that allow customers to pursue any kind of API strategy. We front-end our offering with our ESB, identity server, and embedded analytics offerings to provide means to digitally transform legacy infrastructure into APIs.

More than 100 billion transactions run through WSO2 each day.

We are fortunate to have customers that participate in our conferences, give case studies and act as references. More than 30% of our API customers are financial services institutions. Starting small, our API management business is growing more than 75% each year and makes up 1/3 of our business.

What Are WSO2’s Big Bets

Forrester evaluates 26 criterion around the vendor’s current offering, strategy, and market presence.

WSO2’s long term strategy and roadmap are largely influenced by what we are seeing across the projects that we are working. Our observations are influenced by exploding endpoint issues on how integration has been preventing many organizations from realizing their agility goals.

  • Expect an increasing proliferation of digital endpoints, APIs, and applications that consume APIs. There is an integration economy that will grow exponentially with endpoints in the trillions, driven by edge computing, IoT, SaaS-SaaS integration, AI, machine learning, cloud computing and serverless.
  • APIs and digital endpoints will have an increasing diversity of origin. Different groups and personas will be creating APIs whether they are developers, knowledge workers or self-actualizing systems. There will be different locations where APIs reside, internal, external, on the edge, or in the cloud. And the structure of APIs will diversify taking construction from streams, events, async, and new protocols.
  • Expect the rise of dynamic APIs: short-lived, with frequent changes to facility agility. Microservices drive needs for fast-boot, low footprint, containerized services and some architectures requiring a microgateway per API. This creates change management and deployment problems for DevOps.
  • A need for adaptive management of APIs due to their proliferation and dynamism. Integral monitoring and management needed across diverse API origins. This amplifies demand for dynamic and federated identity, token swapping and SSO integration along with decentralized observability and monitoring with tools that keep pace with API rate-of-change.

These dynamic conditions allow us to invest into features that enable micro API management in environments that have thousands of constantly changing and distributed APIs.

WSO2 API Manager roadmap focuses on diversity and micro-ization of distributed APIs

Rethinking API Development and Lifecycle With Ballerina

Starting three years ago, WSO2 began working on Ballerina. It’s a new programming language that is designed to be the best language for writing services that need to talk over the network. Ballerina’s launch earlier this year has received a number of accolades, has grown in adoption, and now has multiple enterprises using it to build service-based architectures.

A service, or an API, is a first class concept within the language. Ballerina is a compiled, strongly and statically typed, concurrent language. The language provides modern benefits of structural programming without requiring significant scaffolding to resiliently (load balance, fail over, transaction, payload management, and error conditions) build and talk to APIs.

Ballerina dramatically improves developer productivity by making API iterations fast and agile. Ballerina has a built-in API gateway and is designed to plug any services built by Ballerina into an API management solution, or drag along a micro gateway. Essentially, the Ballerina language and compiler are distributed systems aware, and prepare the artifacts made by developers to be API management ready.

Get Started with WSO2’s API Management Offering

WSO2 is now the world’s 6th largest open source software company. Our significant size and staff (600 employees!) allow us to run a 24/7 operation with a global reach. We have sold and delivered into 63 different countries with offices in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, United States, Sri Lanka, Australia, and Germany.

And as usual, if you have any questions about open source, our API management offerings, or WSO2 (we are hiring, a lot!), you can reach me at tyler@wso2.com.