November 7 2014

In the past few years, the continued popularity and focus on web APIs and technologies like REST have brought the discussion of services more into the mainstream.  Access via mobile and cloud technologies means the business is more than ever interested in connecting with customers and monetizing their data via new channels and partners. Exposing services externally is a key puzzle piece.  Many firms have already invested heavily in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and are struggling to take advantage of the changing landscape.

Much like Indiana Jones, IT leaders are wondering if they have to carefully swap out their existing SOA investment (and then run really fast!).  How different are the concepts?  Do they overlap?

Here is a simple comparison of SOA and APIs:

DImension SOA API
Typical Use Enterprise integration; internally focused Channel or application; internal and external
Governance Tight, central control Self-service desire
Primary Protocols SOAP/XML REST/JSON
Lifecycle Management Full (creation to maintenance to decommision) Full

The Good News 

 

In the end, I believe this is just the new name for the same integration challenges, but with a mobile and open/external focus.  The good news is that your business can take advantage of these features by extending your investment in SOA and the SOA Suite platform.  With Oracle SOA Suite 12c, several new and upcoming features will make this transition even easier for existing or new users:

  • REST/JSON become first class citizens for integration  
  • Automated conversions for REST and SOAP  
  • A New API Catalog enables built-in harvesting and publishing of APIs

This is a real win for companies that have invested in the hard work of exposing data via services and truly implementing a service oriented architecture.  In addition, Oracle API Gateway provides enterprise-class functionality for exposing your internal services in a safe and secure way to external partners and consumers.  Adding this to your existing SOA investment means a quicker time-to-market.

What You Should be Doing Today

  • Reframe the conversation with your leadership and business partners: Start using different terms like Web APIs or REST and socialize how you are taking advantage of APIs to expose key company information to the right partners and customers
  • Continue to invest in services and exposing your core and authority system data
  • Start some basic governance to enable visibility and basic reuse of your services - encourage your developers and the business to explore and play with the services exposed!
  • Think hard about security using a solution like Oracle API Gateway and protocols like OAuth.

In the end, it is still the service-enablement and heavy lifting in the back end that will allow your company to unlock your data and processes.  The new tooling, along with some governance and security planning, can enable you to take advantage of the changing landscape without running for your life!

Contact us today to discuss how you can taking advantage of SOA and API Management.

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