Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SAP API Management

In today’s world Application Programming Interface (API) plays very important role. This is given by nature of every business which is nowadays – digital business. Regardless if the business is between companies and customer (in its every form like customer, employees, etc.) or between companies there always some digital part of it. The API connects digital businesses. Whether it is business process, service, platform, technology solution or content at the end it needs to be able to communicate with other of these. So they must be capable of performing data exchange between them. Here comes a role of the APIs. All parties involved in the data exchange needs to have API. By this I mean that function which do the exchange are known to all the parties and they can use them to actually perform the exchange. Moreover in today’s economy driven by mobile devices (not to mention Internet of Things (IoT) or even Internet of Everything (IoE)). Companies data (e.g. web shop data) must be available in the form of software responses to queries from other software or applications. This is so true for companies ruining their ERP systems where SAP is big player in the field.

Historically it is not one of SAP strength (e.g. see here) when it comes to the API. Over the years SAP has tried to something about it but with not much success. There were, hmm well they still are there their own solutions which tried to kind of cover role of API. To name few of them them: SAP Enterprise Services (SOA), BAPIs, IDocs. The most famous are probably sets of remote execution functions called BAPI. However in today’s world it becomes clear that SAP has to be more aggressive API when it comes to their API approach.

To solve in larger scale SAP turned to APIgee. They both recently announced a partnership. In this term SAP will delivers the API management application based on OEM’s Apigee Edge digital acceleration platform. The SAP API Management application will be available as a cloud solution on HANA Cloud Platform (HEC) and also as an on-premise solution.

The SAP API Management application provides managing of exposed functions (e.g. services available over the web) of backend systems and it has following scope:

Security – controls access to exposed services
Compatibility – support of different platform and devices that consume services
Measurability – monitoring of services

SAP API Management consists of following parts that all provide infrastructure for the API management:
API Platform - creation, security, management, consuming or basically all operations within API
Analytics Services – analytics on top of API, to see trends in its e.g. usage
Developer Services - tools to manage the community of application developers

The importance of API is very significant with SAP offerings like SAP Gateway. The Gateway provides ODATA access to SAP data. As it is currently used at very large scale within SAP customers therefore was seen a clear need for API management tool. Technically having SAP API Management on top Gateway will call on predefined Gateway services, and expose those services in the cloud. Gateway’s service catalogs will be integrated with API Management. This means out-of-the-box integration with that catalog as API proxy will be defined then catalog can be browsed and finally there is a call up of service.

Other vendors of API mngt software, basically competitors to APIgee:

More information:
2051594 - SAP API Management - Release Note

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