The Trouble with APIs and How to Fix It
While application programming interfaces (APIs) have been nothing short of a boon for interoperability they still represent a major management challenge. Not only do APIs tend to get updated randomly, some of them outright disappear for one reason or another with little to no notice.
To provide a layer of isolation between managed service providers (MSPs) and all those underlying APIs, UBIqube Solutions has crafted orchestration software, dubbed MSActivator, made up of object interfaces that makes it simpler to MSPs add and remove support for different devices and systems as they see fit. According to UBIqube Solutions CEO Nabil Souli, rather than having to develop that layer of orchestration software themselves, MSAactivator makes use of an object based management framework (OBMF) developed by UBIqube Solutions to reduce the total cost of managing the IT environment.
MSPs already making use MSAactivator to reduce their management costs include NTT Communications and Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), a non-profit organization which is working on a Lifecycle Service Orchestration development project that is expected to be deployed across the Korean telecommunications industry.
The need for orchestration software
While UBIqube Solutions thus far has a limited presence in North America, Souli said one of the goals the company has to expand its relationship with MSPs around the globe that need to deal with heterogeneous networking environments. Obviously, every major networking vendor is crafting their own orchestration layer using a mix of open and proprietary APIs. The challenge that MSPs face is that rarely is there an environment made up of networking and IT infrastructure equipment solely from a single vendor. Naturally, there’s a lot of open source research underway to solve that problem. But Souli notes that MSPs need a layer of orchestration software that has been hardened enough to support the most demanding heterogeneous environments.
There’s no doubt that being an MSP involves a more complex set of IT challenges than ever before. Thanks to APIs more of that equipment is no doubt more accessible. But finding IT people with the skills need to manage those devices is a major challenge. Orchestration software such as MSAactivator enables MSPs to manage all those devices and systems at a much higher level of abstraction.
Like most emerging technologies orchestration software will, of course, take some getting used to in terms of how it impacts workflow and processes within an MSP. But the alternative to making that adjustment is nothing but bleak. Not only are IT environments getting more distributed, the number of workloads running on all those systems is increasing exponentially. Trying to manually manage IT at that level of scale is going to be nothing less than a money losing proposition by definition.