What is an API?
With everything moving to the cloud and millions of mobile devices coming online every year, the need for data centers has never been as acute. And making sure everything within a data center works seamlessly is critical.
That’s where APIs and Dev APIs come in—they’re the keys to building bespoke software tools and apps precisely for an operator’s needs, instead of using a subset of standard functionalities available in a network management suite.
APIs include all the required building blocks, so it’s easier to develop an application.
Some APIs were defined for development purposes to help create a wide scope of network management applications such as REpresentational State Transfer (REST), REST CONFiguration (RESTCONF), NETwork CONFiguration (NETCONF), OpenFlow, Google Remote Procedure Call (gRPC) and many others.
APIs are a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications that specify how software components and services shall interact.
APIs provide the following advantages:
- Faster, easier, and multi-platform/multi-vendor application development: Network Element (NE) management and configurations aren’t bound to NE and vendor-specific command line interfaces. DevOps teams can create software applications that can interact with different NE types that operate on different network layers.
- Easy integration with IT tools: APIs are written in programming languages that are easy to integrate with programs, scripts, etc. Data models are also compatible with IT compute and storage building blocks.
- Efficient IT resource utilization: Development APIs like RESTCONF and NETCONF were built to be sessionless and very light on IT resources. Standard commands and procedures are sent to the NE, and a reply with requested data is sent back over short-lived interactivity sessions that do not require heavy IT resources. Just like when a user types the URL of a website in an Internet browser and the page loads after a short period of time, no other information is sent until the user clicks on a button or a link. Also, the use of APIs translates into capital expenditure savings by eliminating the use of servers and other compute devices between software applications and the network elements they manage.
APIs are a key component in modern Data Center Interconnect (DCI) platforms, and data center operators can leverage this new operational model by developing their own software applications specific to their own needs. Cloud-based application development portals, such as Ciena’s Emulation Cloud™, are now available to unlock the full potential of open APIs, which simplifies integration activities. Developers and IT teams can innovate and develop new tools and applications without investing in IT infrastructure or stressing IT budgets and resources.
Much like smartphone application development environments, data center application development portals can be used to design any application that leverages open APIs, such as apps for enhanced network visualization, service automation and turn-ups, data center cluster management, or even proactive performance monitoring.
DCI technologies are evolving to deliver a set of highly scalable, user-friendly attributes that simplify the deployment experience and greatly improve productivity. With the Waveserver®, 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, and 8700 Packetwave® Platform, Ciena is the world leader in DCI.