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Following the creative commons release of their API lifecycle methodology, telco API service provider Alcatel-Lucent has open sourced the “underpinnings” of their Open API Platform(OAP).

The API management capabilities in OAP are being released under the name apiGrove. According to Alcatel-Lucent’s methodology there are four major components to API infrastructure:

  • Management
  • Composition
  • Monetization
  • Analytics

Alcatel-Lucent is opening sourcing the first of the four components, allowing companies to deploy APIs and meter usage to support a variety of monetization plans, provide authentication via API key, username/password for REST and SOAP APIs.

Alcatel-Lucent’s goal is to initially open source the API management component, while providing paid upgrades to API service composition, monetization and analytics, and are considering open sourcing other components in the future, when it makes sense.

The functionality of apiGrove API Management platform represents the basic features companies will need when deploying web APIs internally, and externally to the public or for partners. If more advanced features are needed, they can be obtained in paid components or can be delivered by the open source community.

Bundled with apiGrove is a GUI administration tool, providing a simple interface for administrators to use, but only represents some of the features available on the platform. To fully take advantage of apiGrove API management you need to use the API--with everything on the platform accessible via an API.

While talking with Laura Merling, SVP for Application Enablement at Alcatel-Lucent, she articulated that, “there is a big difference between running in the cloud and being integrated into the fabric of the cloud”, supporting Alcatel-Lucent's official response that:

Our belief is that the API management layer is becoming commoditized. The experience of creating the Alcatel-Lucent Open Application Platform (OAP), demonstrated that it was vital to open the management layer to accelerated innovation, rather than keep it proprietary.

I can’t express strongly enough how important this statement is. We need to get from 7000 APIs to a million APIs before we can truly see the promise of the ProgrammableWeb. And to get there we can’t have expensive software setup and licensing costs applied to companies who are looking to experiment and evolve their early API strategies. There are plenty of premium, add-on and support services that can be sold once a company has successfully deployed their APIs--let’s not get in their way when it is most critical.

It’s good to see that just three months after I asked the question, where is the open source API platform, there are now two separate enterprise grade open source API management platforms.




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