Deploying an Enterprise-Wide API Infrastructure

A global financial services company invested in a large deployment of IBM WebSphere DataPower appliances as the foundation of its enterprise-wide infrastructure. Their challenge was to plan, design, develop, deploy, and then manage IT services in the architecture. Every stage of its lifecycle required the proper tools, workflows, and automated integration to ensure that it could make services operational.

To realize its governance objectives, the company selected the Akana API governance solution for DataPower. Using this solution architects, developers, security administrators, and operations managers can define and govern policies that are applied to services throughout the appropriate stages of their lifecycle.

Akana Helps With...

End-to-End Lifecycle API Management

Rationalization of Applications and Infrastructure

Multi-Tenancy in Federated Architecture

Opportunities and Challenges

A US-based global financial services company invested in one of the largest deployments of IBM WebSphere DataPower appliances. The IBM WebSphere DataPower appliances were to be used as the foundation of the customer’s enterprise-wide infrastructure. Due to its high performance, rich security features, in-depth interoperability with a wide range of platforms, and broad message processing capabilities, the customer found IBM WebSphere DataPower to be an ideal runtime platform to support its growing web services infrastructure.

To support its goals for an enterprise-wide infrastructure integrated with IBM WebSphere DataPower, the customer needed a ready-to-use governance solution that could effectively provide development time and runtime governance across a wide range of organizational departments, business partners, IT services, and backend systems.

The customer’s challenge was to provide an end-to-end governance solution that would allow its staff to plan, design, develop, deploy, and then manage business critical IT services in its infrastructure. Every stage of its lifecycle required the proper tools, workflows, and automated integration to ensure that it could make services operational on the IBM WebSphere DataPower platform according to enterprise standards with an eye toward efficiency, time to market, accuracy, and operational effectiveness.

The customer’s goal was to arrive at a solution that could reduce the complexity of governing the large set of interconnected technology components that make up a service oriented architecture, including IBM WebSphere DataPower. By simplifying its environment through a product suite built from the ground up for governance automation, the customer could focus more on strategic initiatives and less on post-install product integration and process streamlining initiatives.

With such an out-of-the-box, ready-to-use solution in place, the customer could realize a true large-scale, enterprise-wide, governed infrastructure that would ultimately improve its ability to deliver the IT services needed to reduce cost, improve growth, lower risk, and increase profitability.

Related reading:The ROI of API Management

The Solution

The customer chose to combine IBM WebSphere DataPower as their runtime platform with Akana's full lifecycle API management solution. The platform combines:

  • IBM WebSphere DataPower as the core runtime platform for its service oriented architecture.
  • Akana Policy Manager for DataPower to effectively govern its large base of IBM WebSphere DataPower appliances.
  • Akana Policy Manager for registry/repository, policy management, consumer contract provision and lifecycle management.
  • Akana Repository Manager to provide effective development time governance to manage the customer’s IT assets across the enterprise.

Because Akana’s suite of products such as Repository Manager and Policy Manager are inherently designed and developed to provide a fully unified end-to-end governance solution, and because Akana provides comprehensive support for governing the IBM WebSphere DataPower platform, the customer found a solution that could provide true seamless end-to-end governance across its entire lifecycle.

The customer depended on Akana’s comprehensive suite of products for planning, development, and operational governance to ensure that every step in its governance lifecycle was supported by a high quality, well integrated, and comprehensive solution.

From an IBM WebSphere DataPower runtime governance perspective, Akana’s Policy Manager, Policy Manager for DataPower, and the customer’s deployed base of IBM WebSphere DataPower appliances effectively partner to provide a true services runtime solution that offers the best combination of features from both a services runtime standpoint and a governance standpoint to solve even the most challenging scenarios for the customer.

Results and Delivered Value

The customer was able to realize true end-to-end governance utilizing IBM WebSphere DataPower as the core of the platform. The solution supported a wide variety of demanding IBM WebSphere DataPower based use cases. Akana and the customer implemented these challenging use cases in a robust and entirely automated manner, including integration with a wide variety of backend systems including IBM CICS- and IMS-based mainframes, IBM DB2, and other critical databases, application servers such as IBM WebSphere Application Server and the Microsoft.NET platform.

The solution offers automated service deployment to the IBM WebSphere DataPower appliance alongside built-in monitoring including centralized alerting, transaction auditing, and graphical views into real time metrics coming directly from the IBM WebSphere DataPower appliances.

It also offers advanced IBM WebSphere DataPower clustering features so that the customer can effectively automate the management of pools of IBM WebSphere DataPower appliances as easily as managing a single appliance.

From a policy management perspective, the solution allows the customer to author a wide variety of policy in Akana Policy Manager that can be attached to services in Policy Manager and deployed directly to IBM WebSphere DataPower appliances in an entirely automated and agile manner. The result is the ability for IBM WebSphere DataPower to enforce a large set of Policy Manager policy allowing the customer to utilize IBM WebSphere DataPower for a wide range of security, auditing, routing, and backend integration use cases.

The end result for the customer is an end-to-end governance automation solution that effectively utilizes and governs IBM WebSphere DataPower as the foundation of its runtime platform.

Lessons Learned

The customer had a large number of challenging requirements to solve in the development of its IBM WebSphere DataPower based infrastructure. Some of the key lessons learned include:

Lesson 1

To utilize IBM WebSphere DataPower as the core runtime platform for its services infrastructure, the customer needed an effective governance solution for IBM WebSphere DataPower that required minimal customization or integration once the core product suite was installed.

Lesson 2

An effective “ready-to-use” governance solution for IBM WebSphere DataPower provides easy to author centralized policy that can be used to support a wide range of IBM WebSphere DataPower use cases.

Lesson 3

Automated deployment of services and policy to IBM WebSphere DataPower enables a highly agile and robust infrastructure, letting the customer maximize its investment in IBM WebSphere DataPower’s rich feature set but isolate the complexity of managing appliance configuration across a broad range of use cases.

Lesson 4

Realizing an end-to-end governance solution was critical to the success of its enterprise-wide governance solution. If the critical components of their infrastructure, such as policy management, monitoring, and the IBM WebSphere DataPower platform were not governed by a solution built from the ground up for this purpose, the customer could not respond to the needs of the business in a timely, robust, and cost effective manner.

Akana Unified Governance Solution

Akana builds its integrated governance solution around its Policy Manager, Portfolio Manager, Repository Manager, and Service Manager products for Policy Governance, Development Governance, and Operational Governance.

Image Akana API Lifecycle Management

Akana's Portfolio Manager, Repository Manager, Policy Manager, and Service Manager combine to form a comprehensive Integrated Governance Automation solution.

Portfolio Manager is an innovative Planning Governance product that helps ensure the alignment of API with strategic IT investment and business objectives and makes sure that enterprises build the right services at the right time. It helps customers identify candidate services and build a roadmap through Modeling, Asset Identification, and a Portfolio Management process. To achieve these goals, Portfolio Manager functions as part of a unified governance automation suite with seamless integration with Repository Manager and Policy Manager.

Repository Manager provides an advanced software development asset (SDA) repository, lifecycle management, and metadata federation solution. It governs leading development platforms, ensuring consistent definition and management of services and other assets across all development environments. Repository Manager supports advanced SDA repository and governance capabilities including the ability to define and manage custom asset and artifact types, asset relationship management, integrated development environment (IDE) integration, and comprehensive asset federation. It integrates seamlessly with Policy Manager where policy decisions are required in the Development Governance process, as well as provisions service consumption agreements made by developers to Policy Manager for further governance. Repository Manager supports application development and architecture teams, providing a comprehensive Development Governance solution.

Service Manager automatically implements and enforces policies from Policy Manager. It generates usage, performance and policy compliance metrics that it reports to Policy Manager so that it can audit that policies are being enforced in a closed-loop process. Service Manager supports API and enterprise operational management functions, ensuring that services are security, reliable, and meet the performance goals for each consumer.

Policy Manager provides a Registry/Repository and comprehensive Policy Governance solution, with powerful governance automation capabilities. Governance automation minimizes the overhead associated with governance processes, and turns governance from a painful workload, into a productivity tool. Policy Manager includes a built-in policy and service metadata repository supporting its policy governance processes. Policy Manager supports enterprise and architecture functions, ensuring consistent application of policies throughout an enterprise-wide program. This solution enables architects, developers, security administrators, and operations managers to define and govern policies that are applied to services throughout the appropriate stages of their lifecycle.

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