APIs and Microservices: A Catalyst for the Data-Driven Enterprise

Every CIO wants to lead an agile, data-driven enterprise. What IT leaders don’t want is a years-long development ordeal and a budget-busting price tag to achieve that objective.

To speed results and rein in costs, we’re seeing a large-scale shift to API management and microservice architectures, working hand-in-hand to unlock information and orchestrate data and process flows across today’s complex IT environments.

An integration platform as a service (iPaaS) with a robust API management component is emerging as a make-or-break factor in devising and delivering API-led microservices, which play a crucial role in the data-driven enterprise.

At OSI Digital, a top-level Boomi Elite partner providing business and technology solutions, Boomi AtomSphere is our preferred iPaaS to drive microservices development and deployment for clients in healthcare, business services, and other industries. Here’s why:

  • Boomi API Management provides unmatched simplicity to quickly create, manage, and publish any endpoint as an API
  • Boomi Integration supplies the essential middleware component in a microservices architecture
  • Autoscaling microservices is simple with Boomi Molecules running in, say, a Kubernetes virtualized container environment
  • Time and cost is reduced with no need for extensive custom coding and overly complex infrastructure

Sparking Innovation with Modular Microservices

Those are significant advantages as enterprises embrace microservices — an architectural approach for applications to run as independent yet connected services. Microservices move the focus from monolithic systems of the past to a modular model that provides speed, flexibility, and on-demand autoscaling (elasticity).

With disruption and digital competition in full swing, APIs and microservices equip organizations to innovate more quickly and creatively. They’re a priority focus area for a cloud-first ecosystem engineered to connect applications, data, people, processes, and devices, both internally and externally.

A microservices architecture is proving especially valuable in use cases such as legacy modernization, along with real-time data and media streaming, order processing, financial services, customer portals, big data analytics, and other areas with volatile processing demands.

Creating a microservices architecture depends heavily on 1) API management and 2) data and application integration. Boomi covers both needs from end to end with its integrated AtomSphere Platform.

In effect, APIs make it possible for developers to subdivide functions that have traditionally been handled in a monolithic application into lightweight and loosely coupled application-based microservices, each geared to execute specific functions with better resilience and scalability.

Boomi has progressively built out its API offering with features including a Developer Portal, greater security and scalability via its API Gateway, and seamless integration with third-party APIs via its API Proxy. Further enhancements in Boomi’s 2021 roadmap reflect a commitment to ongoing innovation in the API arena.

A Single Platform for API Management and Integration

If you’re building API-based microservices, you also need to orchestrate data flows and processes among them. That’s where Boomi Integration comes in. From my own experience, I can safely say that handling both APIs and integration in a single low-code platform delivers exceptional speed and simplicity, and visibility for monitoring and modification.

Boomi lets you modularize integration services, deploy them as needed, and scale to demand. Plus, Boomi lets you impose limits on the number of API calls, an important security protection against bot-driven hackers.

An API-based microservices architecture is just one example of how Boomi delivers flexibility that helps organizations achieve goals of digital transformation and becoming a data-driven enterprise. In previous posts in a blog series from OSI Digital, my colleagues Madhu Anthati and Hilal Khan have also covered:

API-Led Legacy Modernization Avoids a Multimillion-Dollar Cost

As an example of Boomi-powered microservices, an OSI Digital team recently put Boomi capabilities to work at an HR management firm that provides payroll, workers’ comp, insurance, and other services to clients.

The company was running a heavily customized version of a legacy on-premises Prism payroll engine that worked well. However, the HR management firm also wanted to offer its clients additional functionality through a modern, self-service web and mobile portal.

One option was investing millions of dollars in a new payroll system better suited to the cloud and mobile world. With Boomi API Management and Boomi Integration, OSI Digital devised a more affordable and less invasive microservices solution that let the firm preserve its investment in the legacy Prism system.

Working with the firm’s business analysts, OSI Digital first determined the data points they wanted to expose in the portal. That understanding was critical as we exposed and created Prism APIs that matched data requirements while ensuring that business users and technical developers were speaking the same language.

Then, we encapsulated those APIs via Boomi to mediate between the Prism back-end and modern JavaScript-based portal. Boomi Atom and Molecule runtime engines are deployed in pods of virtualized servers that utilize Kubernetes and Docker technologies, providing elasticity to scale on demand.

Net result: The HR management firm has exposed its robust Prism legacy payroll solution to improve staff efficiency and client service via a self-service portal, while avoiding a multimillion-dollar expense on a new solution. Our client has got better resilience, scalability, and reduced IT and infrastructure overhead.

API Monetization Opens Revenue Opportunities

APIs and microservices aren’t just about reducing IT costs and technical debt associated with monolithic systems. In some cases, they also open opportunities for new revenue streams by monetizing APIs — offering access to services, data, and other digital assets through a business application’s API.

For example, APIs are being monetized in markets such as telecommunications, financial services, retail shopping, transportation, and entertainment. Netflix, Google, YouTube, and Amazon are among the many digital brand names to expose APIs for both revenue generation and brand engagement in what’s called the API Economy.

Using Boomi, OSI Digital is working with a healthcare organization in a position to market diagnostics information captured via medical devices to support patient monitoring. Similar opportunities exist for companies with proprietary information and services of value to businesses or consumers.

The digital economy is here to stay, and outdated, monolithic legacy systems are gradually being squeezed out. API-led microservices should be a high priority for IT leaders looking to innovate quickly, improve business agility, and lead the digital transformation into a data-driven enterprise.


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