I’m personally very excited about this acquisition and the value the Layer 7 business will bring to our company and our customers. Layer 7 is named a leader in The Forrester WaveTM: API Management Platforms, Q1 2013*. It also is the only API management vendor to have been named to Deloitte’s Fast 500 list of fastest growing companies in both 2011 and 2012. Layer 7 is a successful, growing business with differentiated, market-leading technology that’s highly complementary to our existing offerings. We believe we can scale the business even faster than Layer 7 is growing today and generate lift for our existing businesses in the process. Especially exciting to me is this: with the Layer 7 technology in our portfolio, CA Technologies is in the best position to manage and secure a whole new market and business model for some of the largest organizations in the world.
APIs are protocols that allow software applications or parts of applications to communicate with one another – and yes, they’ve been around for as long as there’s been programming. Over the past few years, however, there’s been an explosion in the quantity of APIs as the reliability of network technology has improved, giving rise to cloud-based applications, mobile device use and demand for mobile apps. In the mobile world alone, IT analysts are predicting that over a billion advanced smartphones and tablets are going to be bought worldwide next year, and all of these devices will be hammering against APIs to access various applications and data.
There were over 8,000 APIs available to consume over the public internet as of December, double the number just a year earlier. APIs are becoming critical to the business models of companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix, generating substantial amounts of revenue and yielding valuable strategic control points. APIs are becoming the medium of exchange of the new economy, and Layer 7 is a leader in enterprise-grade API management and security.
In addition – other organizations recognize the potential of the API economy. Intel recently bought Mashery in an attempt to bolster its position in the market. You can read Dimitri Sirota’s take on that deal here. Dimitri is a co-founder and chief strategy and marketing officer for Layer 7.
The rise of the API economy has created a new revenue channel for many businesses, allowing them to externalize and deliver valuable data, content, and services that can be leveraged by others in creating new applications that often serve a whole new set of customers.
The Layer 7 technology lets companies wrap existing application components with APIs and then share those components as well as to expose new capability through APIs. It handles the security of the APIs themselves, orchestrates the management of the API requests that are flooding in, and allows you to recruit and cultivate a robust ecosystem of external developers, encouraging the developers to use your newly exposed APIs.
For an application owner, exposing technology via industrial strength APIs has several immediate benefits. It disconnects the base functionality of the wrapped application from the function that’s being delivered to the end customer — whether a request is coming from an application in another part of your organization, or coming in from a customer using a mobile device. It also makes it easier to swap out technology, and to move workload components between on-premise systems and cloud-based systems, as long as the API instructions remain the same.
Even if you want to keep functionality accessible only to employees and internal systems, there are still compelling reasons to leverage APIs as a core architectural design point. Amazon, for example, exposes a substantial percentage of its internal systems as APIs to others within the company. If a team at Amazon is building an application that needs to handle online payment processing, it knows that there’s likely an internal API available. This discipline of exposing everything – even internal function — as an API has been one of Amazon’s major competitive differentiators and is one of the reasons the company has been so successful in growing Amazon Web Services.
Using APIs in enterprise applications is not simple, and it opens the enterprise up to a range of new risks. Layer 7 not only makes it much easier to expose applications as APIs, it also specializes in managing the associated risks. Organizations from around the world have used Layer 7 solutions to join the API economy, including Best Buy, Cisco, Adobe, Lilly, and Northern Trust. CA Technologies uses Layer 7 for our own APIs, so we know first-hand the power of the technology. For our customers and partners, Layer 7 solutions are a natural complement to the market-leading CA SiteMinder and CA CloudMinder franchises, which are widely used today by enterprises to secure access to internally and externally facing web applications.
Layer 7 will also become an important part of our DevOps story. Back in 2011, CA Technologies acquired a company called ITKO, which had a killer application for DevOps called LISA. LISA scans your environment to analyze the behavior of all of the pieces of the application and all of the other systems from 3rd parties that the application needs to interact with in production. Then it creates a simulated version of all of those application pieces, allowing the various development teams, all working in parallel, to simulate the behavior of all of the other pieces, whether those pieces are internal systems or third party systems exposed via API. Once the application is released to deployment, managing the API information-what the application has to do when it receives an API call, and what developers need to know to use the updated API-can be handled by Layer 7.
The API economy is reshaping the business models of large and small enterprises across all industries. Not only will Layer 7 allow us to take advantage of this tremendous secular growth opportunity, it will also give us an invaluable strategic position as the go-to vendor for the management and security of the next-generation of applications.
* The Forrester WaveTM: API Management Platforms, Q1 2013, Forrester Research, Inc., Feb. 5, 2013.