Industry spotlight: The API economy comes with complications
By Alexandra Weber Morales
Hybrid data connectivity is increasingly necessary in a cloud-based world where a considerable amount of data stays on legacy systems behind a firewall. But do you trust the cloud? Do your customers trust it? If not, how do you make secure hybrid data connectivity possible? Those are the challenges Progress aims to address with a new offering, Progress DataDirect Hybrid Data Pipeline. We spoke to Dion Picco, general manager for data connectivity and integration at Progress in their North Carolina RTP office, about how they are refining their universal API approach to data access for enterprises and ISVs.
SD Times: Why is data proliferation a challenge? Isn’t it better to have more options?
Picco: If you look at the IT landscape, we’re in the middle of a disruption. With all the various types of apps and data structures available, the enterprise is in a weird state. The average company is running 15 to 20 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps and also many on-premise apps. So data is stored all over the place and in many diverse formats. Thus, the internal analytics products are no longer self-contained databases.
We provide embedded data connectivity solutions for hundreds of ISVs around the world, and many of them are also facing this problem. Imagine you’re an analytics vendor, and you’ve built cloud-based or mobile applications. They’re no longer on-premise. But, most of the important data you want to analyze is either locked in another cloud like Salesforce, or hidden behind a firewall. The massive challenge of hybrid data is that to get that data, you’ve to either ask them to open a port in the firewall—a nasty conversation with any CIO, and one which delays your sale—or find another way to bridge the on-premise and cloud worlds. So our Hybrid Data Pipeline is a very powerful technology to capitalize on that opportunity.
It’s the same from the enterprise side. Enterprises still have a ton of legacy on-premise data. Tools that the line of business want to use are cloud-based as well. How do you let these apps communicate with data hidden behind proprietary APIs? And all of this must comply with industry standards, with high levels of security and fault tolerance. Progress DataDirect brings some level of harmony to this hybrid data challenge with our Hybrid Data Pipeline.
What about multi-tenancy? Is that an issue for ISVs?
Yes, when you’re dealing with a large ISV that operates their own cloud, they are going to be reluctant to have a dependency on another cloud service with another security model. The large cloud vendors such as Amazon, IBM or Microsoft can choose to deploy our hybrid data pipeline services and easily integrate the security models. It’s a big driver in how to build the architecture.
The Eurozone’s General Data Protection Regulation, passed in April, will take effect in early 2018. Are the European market’s privacy mandates a challenge?
Europe is a different ballgame. Data privacy and data residency, especially in Germany and France, are paramount. Where is data residing? What governments could put their hands on it? For example, as a company if you’re doing business in Germany, you want your data to reside in Germany.
Is the API economy helping or hurting?
Folks in IT know the that proliferation of cloud applications is becoming a challenge. It’s not a situation of not knowing the problem exists. It’s more about not knowing the pros and cons of a viable solution.
There’s a lot of messaging right now about APIs and the API economy. Now APIs are critical, but we are seeing 40 new APIs made public every week, and to task the IT department to deal with all these APIs—that’s way too much to do it by themselves. It’s tons of error handling, and each API is different. We can bring harmony to the API approach.