The way of the future
Originally posted on Gigaom:
My previous post on the API-ification of software focused on the ecosystem of infrastructure-level APIs. Today, I want to discuss companies providing APIs that operate at the business process or application layer, which brings a whole new level of productivity and revenue potential to businesses.
Amazon(s amzn) has clearly been leading the way in API-fication by providing a broad range of fundamental software services packaged as APIs. From the basic EC2 compute and S3 storage capabilities, they have expanded to now offer more than 30 services across infrastructure categories of compute, storage, networking, database, deployment/management and messaging. All of these components are incredibly valuable and important, but an application developer still has to construct higher level business processes from these fundamental building blocks. In addition, they have launched the AWS Marketplace, which is a catalog of hundreds of software packages that cover everything from application development to traditional business software. However, this marketplace has only taken the first step in making it easy to install and deploy software applications or stacks as machine images. They haven’t yet enabled third-party companies to provide application components packaged purely as APIs.
We are still in a time of transition. More and more technical organizations are realizing they really don’t want to install and manage software — even if it is running in someone else’s data center. The preferred model is to rely on software service providers who can (and must!) deliver a high quality services. Amazon has proven that developers are quite happy to outsource the data center, and Salesforce.com has proven that end users and IT organizations are content to simply consume a Web-based application — but what about all the layers in between?