SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva, Glenn Rossman, Ava Smith, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

Netflix goes Private: Is this the end of the Public API golden age? And is that a bad thing?

ProgrammableWeb has published a story about how Netflix is taking its API private. In the article, Patricio Robles writes that:
"Effective immediately, Netflix has stopped issuing new public API keys to developers and is no longer accepting API affiliates. It is also putting the message boards on its developer portal into read-only mode"
So what is Netflix doing instead? It is focusing on the known developers who wish to use its APIs. As the ProgrammableWeb article explains, this "small group of known developers" is what is contributing mostly to the usage of the Netflix APIs. This makes perfect sense.

But wait! Doesn't the API world revolve around Public, Open APIs? As anyone who has ever been to an API conference knows, most presentations show the famous upward-growing chart of Public, Open APIs listed in the ProgrammableWeb directory.

But there is another chart, the infamous "iceberg chart", also used at every API conference, which shows that Public, Open APIs are just the tip of the iceberg.

So if Open, Public APIs are just the tip of the iceberg, then how popular are the other types of APIs? The story quotes Netflix's own Daniel Jacobson, who write back in 2012 that:
“The potential shortcomings surface because this model assumes that a key goal of these APIs is to serve a large number of known and unknown developers,” he wrote. “The more I talk to people about APIs, however, the clearer it is that public APIs are waning in popularity and business opportunity and that the internal use case is the wave of the future.”
http://www.programmableweb.com/news/why-rest-keeps-me-night/2012/05/15 
So clearly Internal APIs are also important. But are there more types of APIs than Open/Public APIs and Internal APIs? Yes, and in fact Randy Heffner from Forrester defines four types of APIs:
  • Internal APIs
  • Partner (B2B) APIs
  • Open APIs
  • Product APIs
Public APIs fit under "Open APIs" in this taxonomy. Let's look at the other categories of APIs:

Internal APIs, as the name implies, are used inside organizations. Kin Lane has written that Internal APIs (managed in an internal SOA) are the secret of Amazon's success

Product APIs are provided by vendors, and in fact Axway's own APIs for the Axway 5 suite are a great example. Axway's APIs allow customers to, for example, provision new B2B trading partners via an API. 

Partner (B2B) APIs are used to connect businesses together. In Axway we often see banks and insurance companies connecting via Partner (B2B) APIs (insurance is often "white labled" by banks within a financial product such as a mortgage, and APIs provide the link back to the insurance provider). 

Randy presented a Webinar on API Strategies with Axway last month, which you can catch in the recording on-demand on the Axway website. The webinar had a phenomenal sign-up, showing the huge interest in API strategy. During the webinar, we asked a polling question: "What types of APIs are you using?". The answers were very interesting:



Notice how Open (Public) APIs trail both Internal APIs and Partner (B2B) APIs. At Axway, we are seeing our customers putting significant business through their APIs. Given Axway's B2B DNA, this includes significant B2B traffic which we are enabling through the new medium of REST APIs. All of these business APIs are adding a commercial edge to the API world.

So who is leading the trend towards business APIs? Let's look at two examples. Firstly, CVS Caremark:



CVS Caremark has an API - at https://developer.caremark.com - which is used for prescription lookup. So is this API intended for use by just any developer who is throwing together an app? Clearly the answer is "no". Just like the Netflix API, it's for a smaller group of known developers who have valid use cases for the API, and a business relationship with the API Provider. In fact, CVS themselves write on their API portal:
"...commercial use of the API is allowed only with prior permission. Requests for API keys intended for commercial use are reviewed by staff."
https://developer.caremark.com
Let's look at another example: Dun and Bradstreet:


The Dun and Bradstreet API is a classic example of a B2B API. It's for organizations who have a business relationship with Dun and Bradstreet to use, in order to expand their reach to mobile devices, CRM systems (including SalesForce.com) and others. Again, it's not an Open, Public API for any random developer to use.

What we are seeing with Netflix, CVS Caremark, and Dun and Bradstreet is the API Economy growing up. We are no longer fixated over Open, Public APIs. Instead, we see that Internal APIs, Partner (B2B) APIs, and Product APIs are equally (if not more) important. Think that the initial API gold rush was big? Now that APIs mean business, the real API gold rush is just beginning. 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

Latest Stories
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their small...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps at CA Technologies, has joined DevOps Journal’s authors. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Aruna's inaugural article "Four Essential Cultural Hacks for DevOps Newbies" discusses how to demonstrate the...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.