The Role of APIs in DevOps Eddie Segal June 16, 2020 DevOps teams want more insight into every part of their application, which typically involves one or more internal Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Using APIs in application development can help organizations gain more value from DevOps since APIs can be extensively reused and consumed. This can free up future resources, enabling consistency and innovation. What Is DevOps? The DevOps approach encourages communication, collaboration, integration, and automation between software developers and IT operations. The fundamental objective of a DevOps pipeline is to enhance the speed and quality of software delivery by using continuous workflows. DevOps pipelines ensure that the delivery process is efficient, transparent, and secure by creating a consistent development environment and automating the process. The focus on DevOps enables developers to improve the control of production infrastructure and understand the production environment. Leveraging an API Strategy for DevOps DevOps, by itself, is not enough to meet the growing business demands of fast deployment. Organizations can gain more value from DevOps by integrating APIs into the produced artifacts. The integration enables you to reuse and consume these artifacts. The option to reuse APIs in other projects can free up resources and allow consistency and innovation. 94% of IT leaders stated that they could deliver services and products faster with APIs. To achieve the full potential of APIs, they must be well planned, well designed, consumable, and discoverable by anyone. In addition, APIs have to integrate internally within the enterprise and externally with third parties. 3 DevOps Strategies Driven by APIs To get the most out of the DevOps pipeline, you need to balance it with an API strategy for businesses. Below, we review how APIs can accelerate common DevOps strategies. 1. Going cloud-native A cloud-native approach provides many benefits, such as reducing the impact of downtime, increased security, and distributed risk, and more. These benefits enable organizations to innovate and quickly adapt to changes. As a result, companies adopt cloud APIs to offer consumers a trusted experience that suits modern lifestyles. To compete with this level of service, competitors need to be agile, launching new services in record time frames. Many companies are turning to solutions like microservices, Kubernetes, GraphQL, and agile development. These are sold as if they’re essential to success but must be approached in the right way. 2. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and GitOps Infrastructure as Code helps reduce costs and risks, and enables faster deployments by treating infrastructure as version-controlled, testable code. More importantly, IaC practices eliminate human error by allowing quick iterations, deployments, and clear visibility over change control. GitOps is the latest evolution of IaC. Git is used as a source of truth for both declarative applications and infrastructure. DevOps pipelines roll out changes to infrastructure when you make changes to Git. This enables you to drive the DevOps pipeline through a version control system and its related features. Your API management platforms need to easily integrate with your ops processes since API delivery and software delivery are often the same thing in modern cloud-native applications. 3. Digitization of legacy systems The challenges imposed by legacy systems can hold back organizations from using innovative technologies or improving IT efficiencies. However, APIs can help solve legacy system problems. APIs expose data in a way that protects the legacy system integrity and enables governed and secure workflow. The Importance of APIs in DevOps Organizations are continually looking for new ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency while keeping the quality of their products. APIs enable automation, drive consistency, efficiency, and cost-savings. Enabling operational efficiency Automation helps companies remove human error and costs from operational processes. Even a well-documented and clear, repeatable task can result in different outcomes when done by people. On the other hand, automating this task ensures that it will be performed in the same way every time. This kind of consistency improves operational reliability and efficiency. API-based systems enable companies to move from a process-driven workflows to automation-driven, and proactive approach. Enabling business continuity and disaster recovery A manual disaster recovery plan is not an ideal option for ensuring the safety of your business. Manual processes always leave room for mistakes. APIs enable companies to automate disaster recovery processes and increase their efficiency. Automation through APIs allows companies to access all the necessary tools during a disaster. This includes replication tools, which are driven by the exposed APIs in the virtualization platforms. Enabling DevOps Automation APIs enable systems to scale up and down to deliver the right amount of infrastructure at all times. For instance, you can build an application monitoring tools based on APIs. These API-based monitoring tools can show you when you need more capacity in your app. You can leverage this information to spin up new web servers and add them to the load balancer pool to increase capacity. Moreover, API-based systems can show you when your infrastructure is overbuilt. For instance, you can use APIs to shut down redundant servers to reduce costs. Overall, leveraging APIs for a DevOps strategy is a combination of cost optimization, performance, and visibility. Automate reporting Many modern applications produce large amounts of raw data. IT teams need to build dynamic reporting engines with those datasets. The problem is that IT teams don’t always have the necessary tooling to analyze and understand this data. This is usually accomplished through APIs. Application services providers and IT teams can use APIs to build systems that process this data and make it available to users. As a result, users do not have to go through a reporting team and do not lose any of the real-time value of the application. Conclusion DevOps practices can make the difference between system failure and success. Teams can leverage APIs to eliminate the time and resources needed to start a new project from scratch. In addition, an API strategy can help companies adopt a cloud-native approach by using cloud APIs, drive the DevOps pipeline through a version control system, and solve legacy system problems.