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Olaf van Gorp
As more APIs are being deployed and traffic volumes rise, API management platforms like Akana are likely to expand because of this increased demand.
For example, the number of API Gateways, responsible for API traffic management and processing, is likely to increase. Typical enterprise deployments will contain several API Gateway clusters in different network zones or even distributed across distinct data centers.
Also, evolving API requirements may call for additional Akana Platform features, which can have an impact on the overall Platform architecture. For example, additional containers may be introduced to provide API Portal capability, act as an OAuth Authorization Server, or have the sole responsibility for the execution of scheduled jobs.
Akana containers often will have configuration settings optimized to address specific requirements as they apply to a customer environment. Of course, you want to ensure that a consistent configuration is applied to all containers of the same type.
Also, we need to consider the situation where additional containers need to be rapidly provisioned. For example, increasing the size of an API Gateway cluster to enable it to handle an increase in traffic (and ensuring that traffic is processed uninterruptedly). Apart from the need for (deployment) speed, it is crucial that the container’s configuration is identical to its present counterparts.
A separate but certainly no less significant example is upgrading the Akana Platform itself. As part of a Platform upgrade, containers are typically created afresh; yet it is very important that they are created with the exact same configuration as was applied to the container running under the previous Platform version. In other words, it is essential to capture the configuration so that it can easily be reapplied to a new container.
Apart from a speedy process, ensuring configuration consistency in case of additional deployments or when upgrading the entire Platform is essential. Fortunately, we now have the power of automation to help with these tasks.
Automation ensures speed and consistency; tasks can be repeatedly executed using scripts to which a system responds in a predictive manner. Moreover, assuming the use of curated automation scripts, this is achieved without compromising security. Finally, automation eliminates - or, at least, significantly reduces human error.
It is important to note the reference to curated automation scripts. Automation is very powerful, so automation implemented incorrectly can easily cause damage. Therefore, Akana provides a declarative approach to automation in the form of automation recipes. These recipes just describe the actions that should be executed, rather than containing the technical execution details. The use of Akana recipes avoids the use of error-prone custom scripting.
Moreover, creation and ownership of recipes can be assigned to a specific group within the IT organization. Thus, responsibility for a correct implementation of automation steps can be centralized, whereas execution may be done by different groups within the enterprise.
Any Akana installation or configuration task can be captured in an automation recipe. Executing the recipe will result in the exact same action being performed, so actions can easily be repeated. Moreover, recipes can contain automation ‘rules’, for example to validate the conditions under which the recipe is expected to run and determine whether a recipe step can/should be executed.
Recipes can be used to install and configure the entire Akana Platform – and it is highly recommended to do so. Some tasks that can be executed using automation recipes are:
The main advantage of automation recipes is their declarative nature. Recipes declare what should be done, and under what conditions. As mentioned above, the responsibility for creation and managing recipes can be delegated to a specific group that does not need to have profound expertise about the technical execution details. Akana provides a substantial collection of recipes as part of the product release; they can either be used as such or be adjusted to implement specific automation tasks.
When a recipe executes, the declarative steps are interpreted by the execution engine which then invokes the respective container administration service. The how remains transparent to the user, but actions can easily be reviewed by inspecting the automation logs.
Akana automation recipes allow you to automate complex configuration sequences without having to resort to custom scripting. Furthermore, the use of recipes greatly facilitates the repeated deployment of specific Akana container set-ups.
To summarize some essential benefits, Akana automation recipes allow you to:
In this day and age, with APIs becoming increasingly critical elements of an enterprise integration architecture, ensuring their quality as well as the reliability of their management platform is of the utmost importance. Automation is a powerful capability that helps to effectively address both, but it is important to harness this power to avoid automation itself becoming a source of error. The use of Akana automation recipes allows you to do just that.
Akana customers utilizing the recipe-based automation approach can attest to its efficiency, both in terms of Platform upgrades and day-to-day Platform management. Once more, Akana can help you to leverage such customer automation experience to benefit your organization, too.
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Technical Sales, Akana
Olaf has over 20 years’ experience with software development and architecture, helping organizations such as Compuware and Capgemini solve enterprise-level integration and governance issues. Olaf has supported the technical sales for Akana API management since 2014, diving deep into security challenges as well as issues specific to financial services, such as PSD2 and Open Banking.