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In 2014, we launched the Cloud Integration service on Bluemix to help our customers bridge the gap between on-premises systems of record and systems of engagement hosted in the cloud. Cloud Integration relieved a lot of pain points in this space, but we’ve learned a lot since and felt like we could do even better.
Since then, we’ve been hard at work to improve API-driven interactions by bringing some new offerings to the Bluemix cloud. As we continue to develop this space, we’re excited to let you know about two relatively new services–API Connect and Secure Gateway–that completely surpass the capabilities that Cloud Integration has offered to date.
As a result, we’ll be deprecating the Cloud Integration service in Bluemix on July 14, 2016. On that date, customers will no longer be able to provision new instances of the service. Existing customers may continue using their instances for 12 months until June 14, 2017, at which point all remaining instances will be automatically removed.
As the deprecation process kicks off, we encourage you to begin migrating your production workloads to Secure Gateway and API Connect as soon as possible. Below are brief introductions to these two services.
Establishing secure connections with Secure Gateway
Cloud Integration offered the ability to securely access on-premises systems from the cloud utilizing one of three connector types: Basic, Standard, or DataPower. Each connector provided a limited set of capabilities, and you had to really understand the limitations of each to know which one to use. Configuration for the DataPower and Standard connectors was often tricky, and the Basic connector, while powerful, was limited to a single instance and only ran on two flavors of Linux.
Secure Gateway is the replacement for that secure connectivity platform, and has been maturing since early 2015. It delivers a more powerful, consolidated approach to the hybrid connectivity scenario by providing a single gateway type capable of supporting a full range of protocols and security features.
Secure Gateway provides a client installer for all major platforms (Windows, macOS, and Linux), a Docker-based client image, and integration directly within DataPower v7.2 and higher. Every client supports the same basic features, while enabling you to tailor the setup to a specific scenario.
Your choice of client will be informed by your business’s available resources and needs. For example, Secure Gateway provides the best performance when paired with an on-premises DataPower appliance. Conversely, the Docker client provides a quick and easy way for a casual application developer to access on-premises data when performance is not a primary concern.
Getting started with Secure Gateway is easy. Simply provision the service from the Bluemix Catalog and then follow the on-screen steps to set up your first gateway. You can configure as many gateways as you like using whichever client makes sense. Once your gateway is created and connected, you can add destinations that map ports from the cloud gateway to your backend systems.
For more information on the Secure Gateway service and to check out some advanced scenarios, please consult the full documentation.
Building APIs with IBM API Connect
APIs are the foundation of the modern web. Cloud Integration made it easy to generate APIs from a variety of sources: databases, cloud applications, and existing REST or SOAP APIs. While quite useful, we found that it was somewhat inflexible to tightly couple API generation with the secure connectors, and it limited the customer in what types of applications they could build with the service.
Instead, we’d like to introduce you to API Connect–a full suite for creating, running, managing, and securing APIs. API Connect combines IBM’s premiere API Management solution with StrongLoop’s best-in-class enterprise development tools.
First, create in minutes high-quality, scalable, and secure APIs for enterprise systems such as application servers, databases, enterprise service buses (ESBs) and mainframes. Then, take advantage of integrated tooling to build, run, debug, and deploy APIs and microservices using the Node.js or Java skills you already possess. Use Secure Gateway to establish tightly-controlled tunnels to specific backend data. Next, create and manage self-service portals that empower internal and external developers to quickly discover and consume APIs and securely access enterprise data.
Finally, secure and govern control over APIs as part of the API lifecycle. Set and enforce API policies to secure backend information assets and comply with governance and regulatory mandates.
You can get started right now by downloading the API Connect Developer Toolkit or by provisioning an instance of API Connect on Bluemix. For more information on API Connect and its world-class capabilities, read our documentation.
Feedback is welcome!
We thank you for making this journey with us, and we hope you’re as excited as we are to take the next step in building applications of the future that span both on-premises and cloud environments. If you have any questions or concerns about this transition, please don’t hesitate to let us know, either by posting a comment below or by reaching out directly via our support channels.
What will you build next?