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The API Economy: DevOps, Cloud & Infrastructure as Code

We’re entering the next wave of cloud. Most CIOs tell Wikibon: “I can’t simply re-shape my business and stuff it into the cloud, rather I need to bring the cloud operating model to my business.” When we analyze the market for emerging cloud models we use Figure 3 from our True Private Cloud report to describe what we think is happening.

The key relevant points in this data are:

  1. Between 2015 and 2026, organizations will reduce spending on IT operational staff by about $150B. This resource is going elsewhere – toward higher value activities related to digital business initiatives (e.g. data science, AI, predictive analytics, new application development);
  2. Organizations want to bring the cloud model to their data…wherever it lives. True Private Cloud is on-prem infrastructure that substantially mimics the cloud operating model;
  3. Organizations want to treat infrastructure as code and are working to eliminate un-differentiated infrastructure management. The organizational impacts are, among others, greater developer productivity and faster time to value.

With these fundamentals as a backdrop, I asked Steve Kenniston of IBM to sit down with me and discuss the so-called API economy, it’s implications on developer productivity and organizational performance.

Here’s the bumper sticker version. Traditionally, the relationship between dev and ops has had quite a bit of friction. Developers would write code, throw it over the fence to the operations team who would be required to deploy the application. The problem was that developers weren’t tuned into the organizational edicts as they related to security, governance, compliance, patches, etc. So ops would hack the code to set it right and invariably something would go wrong. They’d send it back to the devs and say “your app doesn’t work properly.” The dev guys would say “well it did when I gave it to you…”

This back and forth would continue until they got it right. Meanwhile the business had to wait.

Enter the cloud, which changed this dynamic. Programmers could now write to an API and configure infrastructure directly in their code without the back and forth tension they encountered previously. The DevOps meme exploded and organizations began to see that the cloud model was the future.

Kenniston and I discussed this and other issues and began to touch on how the API economy – that is the development of platforms that programmatically apply policies in an automated fashion, that can support the development of a distributed cloud model with centralized control.

Here’s the video playlist from our conversation:


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