Expert Blog: Enabling IT Innovation with API-Driven Infrastructure

Bit Ninja
Bojana Dobran
Bojana Dobran, Product Marketing Manager at phoenixNAP

The history of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) is a long one, but it is the past decade that saw them gaining real traction in infrastructure management. The rise of the cloud, the growing demand for business agility, and the proliferation of third-party APIs are some of the key trends that influenced the adoption of API-driven infrastructure.

Today, APIs are the foundation of modern IT. Their potential to enable infrastructure automation, service integrations, cross-software communication, and data analysis helps organizations modernize their IT and adapt to the changing business needs. By helping streamline communication between different services, platforms, and applications, APIs help reduce complexity of infrastructure management to ensure faster deployments and lower risk of failure.

Benefits of managing infrastructure with APIs

For a business to stay competitive in the fast-paced digital market, having a powerful infrastructure is not enough. Agility is key to meeting business demands for faster development and delivery, and APIs sit at the core of every agile environment.

APIs are a set of tools and protocols used to connect business systems, applications, and devices to enable streamlined communication between them and automate repeatable tasks. The use of APIs helps decrease interdependencies between different infrastructure components, allowing for faster deployments and minimizing errors. APIs are also critical for managing highly scalable environments, as manually adding storage, RAM, and network resources is ineffective and takes too long.

These benefits are essential not only for organizations that are building their IT infrastructure from the ground up, but also for modernizing complex enterprise environments. Legacy applications with multiple co-dependencies can use private APIs to enable communication between specific internal systems, making it possible for new features or code updates to be deployed independently. This is why organizations are switching to microservices-based architecture, which are key to bridging the gap between the old and the new, helping them integrate traditional infrastructure with modern technologies.

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The future of IT is API-driven

In a report by axway, 92% of survey respondents said that APIs are critical to their ability to innovate. Improved efficiency and security are cited as the key benefits of IT modernization, with an estimate that a modernized IT approach could lower operational expenses by 12.5%.

APIs are also essential for building CI/CD pipelines, which are being increasingly adopted as part of DevOps strategies. By integrating API calls into CI/CD pipelines, DevOps teams can fully automate application testing and build deployments. This helps eliminate errors and improves delivery timeframes, which is the primary goal of a DevOps approach.

A related 2019 NGNIX report commissioned by IDC outlines that 60% of 500 organizations surveyed are API-focused. The study also suggests that 90% of all new apps will feature microservices architecture by 2022, which is a major enabler of API economics.

As opposed to traditional, monolithic environments, a microservices-based architecture is modular and distributed to allow for separate components to be reused as needed. This approach lets DevOps teams configure, patch, and update specific systems without affecting other infrastructure components.

While this facilitates resource deployment, management, and scaling, it also increases the complexity. The use of APIs is critical to automating all these processes to simplify infrastructure management and ensure error-prone deployments.

This is why microservices-based architecture and APIs go hand in hand. By enabling organizations to decentralize their infrastructure, they make it easier to deploy new applications or code. Centralized infrastructure involves multiple co-dependencies, and a single change may require different connected systems to be updated. As a result, organizations are unable to deliver updates and new features to production fast enough, stifling their efforts to keep pace with fluctuating market demands.

API-driven infrastructure helps organizations overcome these challenges and improve operational efficiency. More importantly, it makes IT environments more flexible and adaptable to consumer needs, which is the cornerstone of any future-proofed business.

API-Driven Dedicated Servers

Having seen their rise with the increased adoption of the public cloud, APIs are most frequently associated with hyperscale cloud platforms. However, they can be used for provisioning traditional dedicated servers and building single-tenant environments as well.

Similar to virtualized public cloud environments, API-driven dedicated servers enable automated server deployment and scaling of storage, RAM, and bandwidth resources. The difference is in the performance and security, as dedicated environments involve no resource sharing between multiple tenants on a single machine. The improved performance potential coupled with the fast and agile horizontal scalability provides critical capabilities for organizations that handle data-hungry applications or specialized workloads that must adhere to strict security and performance requirements.

phoenixNAP’s Bare Metal Cloud is an API-driven dedicated server platform that allows for automated server provisioning and management through the API. It is fully compatible with the most popular infrastructure as code tools, supporting DevOps methodologies and multi-cloud concepts. Its integration potential makes it easy to manage multiple servers through API calls, as well as burstable and predictable resources on a global scale.

Powered by 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Bare Metal Cloud delivers advanced performance to support demanding and dynamic workloads. It picks up where the public cloud falls short in terms of speed, unfettered access to the hardware, and granular control over security.

Conclusions

API-driven IT strategies are being widely adopted in organizations of different sizes, and for a good reason. The ability to automate communication between different infrastructure services allows modern enterprises to streamline their development and operations and deliver quality software to production faster. This helps improve operational efficiency, infrastructure consistency, and overall agility, enabling organizations to quickly adapt to new market trends and customer needs.

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