Blogposts

Why Cloud-based Platforms Need APIs to Connect Better

By now, it is abundantly clear that networks of the future will be software-defined. Software-defined networking (SDN) is a paradigm that separates the network's control logic from the underlying routers and switches, thus promoting logical centralisation of network control and introducing the ability to program the network.

SDN abstracts low-level network functionalities, simplifies network management, offers flexible and scalable functionality. The technology decouples network control from forwarding devices while establishing communication between a controller and other applications.

With digital transformation exerting immense pressure on network versatility, the extra flexibility and manageability that SDN confers on large scale connectivity could not have reached the market at a better time. And despite its relative newness, SDN looks set to be a mainstay in the foreseeable future.

Abstraction Is Here, What's Next?

With SDN slowly gaining a foothold in the modern ICT arena, the next piece of the puzzle is to enhance communication between internal and multi-party networks in ways that would have been unheard of just a decade ago. You've guessed it - we are driving at the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) in networks.

The traditional benefits of open API are now well-known. The fast pace of digital transformation is lubricated by open APIs, and we are witnessing unprecedented collaborations and information sharing driven by the emergent API economy. McKinsey estimates that the number of open (public) APIs has tripled in the past year or two.

In the consumer market, we now benefit from the use of APIs every day. Now, take the benefits of open APIs and apply them to SDN. Can you imagine the sheer fit and multiplier effect of these two paradigms on cloud ecosystems?
In a typical scenario of network APIs enhancing SDN, users can set up connection between the data centre and a cloud service provider (CSP) and see the service go live in minutes. There is no need to wait for the service to be provisioned by a network engineer on the backend. In another use case, network APIs can enable greater service orchestration and automation, such as using the Infiny API on third-party cloud-based platforms to immediately thread connectivity services offered by Epsilon.

More Network API Benefits to Come

When networking is delivered via APIs, it can be fluid and elastic, moving beyond A to B connectivity and presenting the network more as a service and resource. Businesses that are digital-centric will aspire to access connectivity in the same way they might integrate Google Maps or Facebook into their own applications. Seamless, accessible integration with applications can be presented as holistic services to both users and their customers.

How network service providers interwork both commercially and technically can be reimagined. Where there were once rigid commercial agreements and interconnections between partners, now both sides can enable smart and dynamic network connectivity, giving their users on-demand access to the necessary resources needed for agile business. Industry-standard APIs can also facilitate cross-carrier automation and open up networks and services to partners more efficiently, enabling faster service delivery and greater scalability.

In a nutshell, the trigger words of network API benefits are enhanced DevOps capabilities, cost-efficiency, performance, connectivity, automation and speed-to-market.

As the enterprise world moves towards an API economy, federated networks will facilitate the creation of flexible, on-demand partnerships to offer best pricing and business models, customer-centricity, and unprecedented improvements in service support and business intelligence. As more software applications get plugged into the global pool, we can look forward to even deeper levels of diversity and richness in digital transformation.

A New Ecosystem

Network APIs are the foundation for a whole new way of networking and cloud-centricity, and will remove barriers between customers, enterprises and everything in between and within the value chain. In fact, Epsilon has set itself the strategic objective of becoming a cornerstone API hub within the networking community and a gateway for friction-free enterprise collaborations.

Driving the leading age of this revolution must be an orchestrator, a global network fabric that pulls the world in the best directions forward. It is an ecosystem that interconnects the world’s data centres, public clouds, internet exchanges, networks and businesses.

Epsilon has made inroads into the China network ecosystems by working with DCConnect – whose network interconnects more than 118 data centres in mainland China and 11 public cloud services including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Service (AWS), Tencent Cloud and Huawei Enterprise Cloud. At the same time, Epsilon delivers global connectivity for DCConnect’s customers. The two-way SDN orchestration via API integration has demonstrated how it can help partners reach out to collaborative opportunities everywhere else globally.

To better serve the end-users, carriers, managed service providers, cloud computing companies and other cloud-centric vendors need network services that are easy to consume. In the past, ordering process used to take days especially when the service requires the use of dark fibre or a supplier partner. With APIs deployed to automate these processes, service requests can be self-serviced with much quicker turnaround times, worthy of the same compelling appeal that users have experienced in the cloud.

Experience the future of networks with Infiny today!

Author


Mark Daley

Mark Daley

Director, Digital Strategy and Business Development