Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Liz McMillan, Ed Featherston, Jason Bloomberg, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo, @ThingsExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

APIs: A Costly Blind Spot | @CloudExpo #API #IoT #DigitalTransformation

The increased adoption of APIs brings with it some exciting opportunities

APIs: A Costly Blind Spot for Your Application
by Priyanka Tiwari

APIs have taken the world by storm in recent years.

The use of APIs has gone beyond just traditional "software" companies, to companies and organizations across industries using APIs to share information and power their applications.

According to SmartBear's State of API 2016 Report:

  • More than half of API providers began developing APIs within the last five years.
  • 1 in 5 API providers began developing APIs in the last two years alone.

The increased adoption of APIs brings with it some exciting opportunities.

For some organizations, APIs are the biggest revenue drivers. For example, Salesforce generates nearly 50% of annual revenue through APIs. In other cases, APIs can increase a business's footprint and initiate collaboration. Netflix, for example, reported over 5 billion calls per day to its API in 2014.

Increasingly, more organizations are adapting 3rd party or public APIs to accelerate R&D and leverage external programming talent. For example Visa, a leading player in highly regulated payment processing industry, recently released a set of APIs that includes 150 endpoints across all Visa products and welcome partners to their API ecosystem.

Another example of a thriving API ecosystem is Fitbit. Who reportedly saved over $1 million in R&D when it opened its APIs in 2011. Since then, hundreds of apps use FitBit APIs to collaborate and innovate.

What does this all mean for you?

All of these examples highlight the incredible opportunity that APIs present. But they also show the importance of API performance. Whether a business is using APIs to generate revenue, increase collaboration, or reduce costs - they need APIs to function properly at all times.

The importance of API performance isn't limited to organizations that provide APIs. For example, if your application depends on a third party API to complete a critical function for your users, you also need to be concerned about how that API is performing.

When an API breaks or malfunctions, your application feels the effects and so do your users.

  • One-third of API consumers will consider switching API providers permanently upon encountering an API quality issue.
  • 31% of consumers will report the problem externally to peers, customers, or partners.

When your application lags or crashes as the result of a problem with a third party app, your users will look to you for a solution and will associate a poor experience with your application, even if the issue is beyond your control.

Unfortunately, when SmartBear asked API consumers about the average time it takes providers to resolve an API quality issue, less than 10% said that issues are resolved within 24 hours. Nearly 1-in-4 said that quality issues remain unresolved for one week or more.

Bottom Line: Simply checking that your API is available is not enough.

If you look closely, APIs are not so different than your other online assets like websites, web applications, and mobile applications. They need to be up and running at all times, need to perform within a threshold defined by the consumer, and need to be functionally correct for all end users.

Gone are the days when performance could be measured in seconds. API performance is measured in milliseconds and simply 1/20th second of a delay could lead to unacceptable user experience and unsatisfied end user.

Functional correctness for APIs is as critical if not more as API availability. If the API doesn't return the right data at right places, it's as good as broken for your app.

What can you do?

First, spend the time to map out your expectations around uptime and response time.

Synthetic monitoring can be used to understand performance of third-party APIs before in pre-production environments. Proactively monitoring your APIs will help understanding infrastructure requirements of your APIs. This step will also help identify API's contribution to the availability and performance of your application.

Next, address the challenges that could keep you from resolving an API issue.

According to the State of API 2016 Report, the three biggest barriers to solving API issues are:

  • Determining the root cause of the issue (45%)
  • Isolating the API as being the cause of the issue (29%)
  • Engaging the correct person(s) to fix the problem (25%)

Addressing these challenges before an issue occurs will limit the amount of time it takes to resolve problems with your API.

Finally, you'll want to invest in the necessary tools to protect your application from API performance problems.

Proactively monitoring the APIs you consume will help you ensure availability, performance and functional correctness of your APIs and the applications that use them. Proactively monitoring the applications for all diverse user cases will help you find and fix issues before they impact your end users. Correlating API performance with the application performance will help you improve overall application performance and isolate faulty components in case of performance degradation.

When setting up your first API monitor, there are a few important steps you'll need to consider:

  • Re-use functional tests from development: Given that your functional API tests are set up to assert and provide relevant error messages, the corresponding API monitors will have the ability to give you much more detailed error information for root cause analysis than regular availability monitors.
  • Create tests that mimic your use cases: If you are mainly integrating with 3rd party APIs, need to make sure that you know about their failures before your users notice. Here it is essential that the monitors you create actually mimic how you use that API. Monitor the entire flow of your use cases; don't just monitor the first API request; monitor them all, in sequence - just like your application uses them.
  • Use a dedicated account: Many (most) APIs require you to specify some kind of credentials or access key in your requests; make sure you are using a dedicated account(s) for your monitoring, both for your own APIs and 3rd party ones.

With the right plan, you'll be able to cover your application's blind spot and ensure that your APIs and apps are exceeding user expectations.

More Stories By SmartBear Blog

As the leader in software quality tools for the connected world, SmartBear supports more than two million software professionals and over 25,000 organizations in 90 countries that use its products to build and deliver the world’s greatest applications. With today’s applications deploying on mobile, Web, desktop, Internet of Things (IoT) or even embedded computing platforms, the connected nature of these applications through public and private APIs presents a unique set of challenges for developers, testers and operations teams. SmartBear's software quality tools assist with code review, functional and load testing, API readiness as well as performance monitoring of these modern applications.

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...