January 27, 2021

Multicloud & Hybrid Cloud Integrations With APIs

Digital Transformation

Scaling applications across hybrid cloud and multicloud environments poses major challenges.

That’s why innovative enterprises use APIs to simplify multicloud and hybrid cloud integrations. This often includes developing a multicloud strategy that leverages APIs to improve interoperability, enhance security, and consolidate oversight and systems management.

But let’s back up.

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What Exactly Are Multicloud And Hybrid Cloud Environments?

In multicloud environments, an organization is running application and program workloads on more than one public or private cloud platform. These providers often include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and IBM. According to Gartner, this represents the majority of enterprises — 81% of public cloud users leverage multiple providers.

In hybrid cloud environments, organizations keep some application workloads running on-premises or on private servers, while scaling a portion of their application footprint to a public cloud provider.

APIs: The Roots of Your Multicloud or Hybrid Ecosystem

At first glance, many view APIs as just another trending technology. In reality, they can unlock incredible efficiency across your entire technology ecosystem. In a way, APIs are the roots of your multicloud or hybrid cloud ecosystem.

Harvard Research recently discovered some amazing characteristics of forests. Using isotope tracing, Harvard scholars have shown that:

  • Tree root systems create same-species underground networks.
  • These systems are used to communicate above-ground conditions and share essential nutrients for survival.

Some have dubbed this the wood wide web. But what does this have to do with APIs?

Cloud APIs perform the exact same function inside and outside your digital footprint. If your entire technology stack were trees, APIs are the roots. They communicate, manage, and maintain the health of your digital forest. Without them, your technology cannot communicate, share resources, or work in conjunction seamlessly. Likewise, these roots allow for safe connection to systems outside your organization. This enhances the competitive health of your technology.

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So how can you integrate your multicloud and hybrid cloud environments using APIs?

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How to Perform Multicloud and Hybrid Cloud Integration With APIs

Scaling workloads across multiple public and private cloud providers brings two major challenges:

  • Lack of interoperability.
  • Emergence of silos.

You will find striking similarities in hybrid cloud environments, despite the fact that there is often just a single cloud provider present. When these issues exist, enterprises are forced to manage each environment separately. This clearly creates extra work for your technical professionals. And it poses planning and governance challenges for management. Plus, security risks emerge as multiple entry points become available to malicious attacks.

Managing your multicloud or hybrid cloud ecosystem using APIs solves these challenges. APIs help with the following:

  • Break down the silos.
  • Allow for enhanced security.
  • Streamline systems management by consolidating your technologies.

They allow you to view, manage, track, and alter the performance of separate cloud or hybrid cloud resources from a single user interface. 

Here are three steps for scaling APIs and aligning your multicloud or hybrid cloud environments.

Step 1: Build Your API Management Ecosystem

There are three critical layers in your API management infrastructure that you must build. Keep in mind, parts of this can be automated through API management software.

These include:

Management Plane

This is the environment where your stakeholders, API publishers, and API developers will interface with your entire API ecosystem. When leveraging an API management software, such as Akana, this environment may be the only one requiring your attention.   

Control Plane

This layer will govern your API traffic and API security protocols. It will work as an intermediary between your management layer and data layer. This layer is the gatekeeper that controls your APIs and the cloud provider they are embedded with.  

Data Plane

The data plane is the environment in which your APIs interface with your software, applications, cloud providers, databases, and other systems. This is where your gateways and microgateways live. Likewise, this is where your API consumers will access any APIs you have made available through developer portals. 

Once your API infrastructure is in place, you can turn to scaling APIs within your cloud and hybrid cloud systems.

Step 2: Build Your APIs

The next and most important step is building an API on top of each cloud provider, on-premises database, and other systems you wish to control via APIs. Again, you can perform this work with your own developers. Or you can partner with an API management software provider, like Akana, to implement some or all API tasks.

When working with Akana, you can streamline many aspects of the build phase:

  • Speed up deployment through full lifecycle management capabilities accessed through a single user interface.
  • Reduce security and compliance risks with comprehensive support for SOAP, REST, and AMQP APIs.
  • Streamline access to external APIs through an integrated Akana portal supporting discovery and consumption.
  • Ensure SLA compliance through ready-baked quotas for defined service tiers.
  • Enable flexible deployment options and scalability (on-premises, cloud, hybrid) through globally distributable, high-performing, fault-tolerant systems that can quickly be scaled up or down.

You can also scale your APIs manually by leveraging internal IT resources and talent. This requires complex knowledge of API development and API security. So, it may be feasible for a technologically advanced enterprise.

Step 3: Call and Consolidate Your APIs

The final step is to create an API call from your management plane to each of the APIs embedded on top of your cloud, hybrid cloud, and on-premises databases.

Once configured, your control plane can be used to govern specific API traffic thresholds, while implementing appropriate security protocols. At Akana, we incorporate OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect security frameworks. These standards can ensure the highest level of API security and they are even required in some open banking markets.

OAuth and OIDC are becoming increasingly important for organizations dealing with sensitive consumer data. But nearly all industries have much to learn from these emerging security measures. 

When each of your API calls have been configured and tested, you have done the lion-share of work. You have planted the roots. You are on your way to unlocking a faster and more effective digital transformation.

The next step is to incorporate comprehensive API analytics in your management plane. These can allow you to track the health of your multicloud or hybrid cloud environment from a single interface.

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Align Multicloud and Hybrid Cloud Environments With Akana   

Akana’s full lifecycle API management platform can streamline your multicloud or hybrid cloud integration, while unlocking immediate innovation, and enhanced security for your APIs.

Some of the benefits of scaling APIs with Akana:

Gain Rapid Access to the API Economy

In addition to aligning your internal systems, you can tap into the growing API economy by consuming external APIs with Akana’s platform. This can create a competitive advantage for your business by supplementing lines-of-business with relevant external features through APIs.

Reduce Governance and Compliance Headaches

When you work with Akana, you get instant access to an API management suite that accounts for the highest enterprise security protocols. This can alleviate governance and compliance headaches through a simplified user experience.

Increase Innovation and Exposure

Akana’s API developer portal comes out-of-the-box with the platform. Your developers can start working on making your organization’s innovative offerings available for consumption in a partner ecosystem. This unlocks new routes to markets and allows you to scale competitive business apps and services outside your IT footprint.

Sign up to find out if you qualify for a free 6-month trial of Akana. Clients can have our SaaS platform up and running in just a few minutes and consuming APIs the same day. Get in touch to request a trial or view a demo to watch the product in action.

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