We’re long past the point in time when adding the cloud to an enterprise’s infrastructure is a novelty. Making cloud services a part of your ecosystem is now the norm. In fact, just in the realm of SaaS solutions, there are thousands of enterprise-grade options.
Although we’re past the time when proposing cloud solutions is an uphill battle, there are still challenges with adopting cloud services as part of your organization. Today the obstacles revolve around integration with on-premise solutions and between cloud services.
Think of the integrations you create to and between your cloud solutions as an investment. Well designed APIs used for integrations will save you money and time, plus give you flexibility and security.
Benefits of APIs for Cloud Integration
The benefits of APIs for cloud integrations mirror the benefits of using APIs in general – they provide loosely coupled, reusable and standardized connection points between systems that allow data to be exchanged, with little of the back-end systems needing to be exposed to do so.
But when used with the cloud, those same benefits become keys to successful cloud adoption. With reusable and standardized interfaces, multiple integrations can be created from a limited set of APIs, saving time and money.
Security is enhanced thanks to the minimal exposure to the backend systems, and the addition of an API proxy gateway can increase the abstraction. This provides greater protection between your systems and your cloud providers.
And because the interfaces are loosely coupled, they provide flexibility when providers update their systems or when an organization wants to switch to a new provider. It means that a company is not as tied to a specific cloud solution should they find another that better fits their needs.
Considerations for API Design for Integration with Cloud Services
To realize the benefits of API usage with cloud services, the interfaces should be well designed and must take into consideration some elements that internal APIs may not need to.
Data transfers may be a concern with your cloud provider. Your service may limit data volume or data transfer speed. This can affect both real-time and batch data exchanges. If there is a limit on the number of calls or the transfer speed, you may need to design your APIs to manage fewer or more frequent calls to accommodate. If data volume is an issue, batch processing may be out of the question. Understand what your business needs are for the cloud data and bump those up against your cloud provider’s limitations as you design any data transfer functionality.
Another consideration with cloud providers is the availability of APIs. Are there interfaces already written that can be leveraged, or do these need to be created? This needs to be looked at from your own systems’ perspective, but it also needs to be understood from the cloud provider’s side, too. Do they have existing APIs to provide to you that will allow you the functionality you require to make the service useful, or will those need to be written? Has someone already created an interface for whatever internal system you are using and the cloud service? Or are there APIs in place between cloud providers that you want to use together?
A source of truth for data is something else that must be thought through before integration with outside data sources. If you plan on having your master data on an internal system, how will your interface help push data into that system? Be careful to clearly define what data can be overwritten by outside systems or functions, and when.
The creation of integrations and the evolution of APIs was meant to break down the walls between systems and provide the business with greater visibility, functionality, and reporting capabilities. But adding cloud services without fully understanding and planning for integrations can multiple the silos that an organization copes with. Well thought out and designed APIs can provide the flexibility and security that allows companies to realize the benefits of a hybrid cloud ecosystem.
If you are looking to transform your organization with a hybrid cloud solution or other modernization projects, ModusBox can help provide the expertise and guidance needed to ensure your business goals are met today and in the future. Email us and find out how we can help you with your digital transformation.