Today’s leading enterprises are transforming digitally and embracing the API economy. Why? This digital reinvention is being driven by consumers’ thirst for compelling brand experiences in a hyper-connected, cognitive world.
Nearly 70% of all enterprise transactions touch a mainframe and yet many organizations don’t realize the untapped potential of IBM z Systems as powerhouses of mobile and cloud services in this API economy. A new set of technologies is changing that thinking.
This recently updated IBM Redbooks Point of View publication, IBM z Systems: The Heart of the Mobile and API Economy, offers a provocative point of view on why the mainframe is necessary for a successful API economy.
Taken from that paper, here are the top 5 things to know about the role of z Systems in the API economy:
- The Omnipresence of the API - APIs are everywhere. It is estimated that, by 2018, 68% of mobile apps will be powered by APIs. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are the digital glue that link services, applications and systems, allowing businesses to monetize their data and speedily offer innovative, boutique new services to their customers.
- IBM z Systems are difficult to access and rely on proprietary connections (Hint: Wrong!) - Over the years, IBM has adopted a number of open standards to enable access to mainframe systems. Most recently new technologies, such as z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition, have been introduced to quickly and securely API-enable traditional mainframe application logic in CICS, IMS and WAS, as well as data services in DB2.
Now, consuming a core z/OS application is a simple as building a new web app using the Google Maps API.
- IBM z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition is the key that unlocks z APIs - This new technology makes the mainframe fully conversant with REST APIs, putting z Systems environments at the heart of the API economy. IBM z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition allows native applications and data developed for CICS, IMS and WebSphere Application Server for z/OS, IBM MQ and DB2 z/OS1 to be discovered and invoked as a true REST API.
Best of all the design principle for z/OS Connect EE means that is requires zero coding – and no code changes to the service-provider z/OS applications.
Figure 1: IBM z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition acting as the API gateway into CICS, IMS, WebSphere Application Server (WAS), IBM MQ1 and DB2 z/OS.
- z Systems APIs are at the heart of a wider API economy - If z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition unlocks the melody of the mainframe, then IBM API Connect conducts the orchestra of the API economy. It provides the fine-grained control to govern and secure thousands of APIs, within and beyond the enterprise, supporting API providers and consumers alike. The policy-driven design enables companies to monetize their business services as part of a pay-as-you-use utility model. It provides a powerful API creation tool set and a multi-technology adapter framework, and is uniquely positioned to support the rapid assembly and prototyping of APIs, which helps teams experiment, expand, and deploy new APIs.
- Prototype your mobile app against mainframe data in hours not days - For an API-enabled mainframe, mobile and web app developers can build prototypes against real data – in hours; not days. Figure 2 illustrates just how simple this can be for a CICS application.
Figure 2. The lifecycle of a mobile app in an API-enabled world.
Taking a closer look at each step:
- Discover the API: A developer can browse through the Developer Portal in API Management and discover exactly which APIs they need and how to call them.
- Build the Prototype Build: Once the APIs have been identified, the developer can start building their mobile app.
- Test for success: After creating the app, the developer can test the mobile service, proving that each API is successfully returning information from the CICS application.
Note: At this stage, typically after only a few hours work, a developer has a minimal viable product against which they can paint the vision to their business stakeholder.
- Production-ready: After the mobile app has been tested and refined, it can be published for use by customers or employees.
- Insight: Once successfully in production, the natural next step is to refine and optimize to enhance the client experience. The analytics engine embedded within API Management offers insight into which APIs are called, how frequently, and by whom. Also, for mainframe teams, wishing to hone in their most valuable assets, the built-in audit capabilities in z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition offers a detailed perspective.
To learn more about the role of IBM z Systems as the central hub of a successful API economy, refer to the new update of the IBM Point-of-View publication:
• IBM z Systems: The Heart of the Mobile and API Economy
Digital Transformation & Mobile Architect | European Technical Leader
Frank van der Wal
Digital Transformation for z Systems
IBM Client Centre Montpellier, France