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Watching The Connectors – SAP, Mulesoft, Cloud Elements, Oh My!

The SAP blog has a post on their new SAP Cloud Platform Open Connectors. Now, this idea is not new. In fact, I might even go as far as to suggest that great minds think alike; some of our readers might remember back to the dim and distant days of prehistory and feeds and even Viafo. Heck, this was what SOG (the Service Order Gateway) was doing back in the late 1990s when I worked on it at Ericsson.

All APIs are abstraction layers.

In the case of SOG, it presented a consistent interface to the Customer Administration System that meant the client didn’t have to worry about the commands for provisioning subscribers on the HLR and AuC changing (which they did, although, to be honest, they probably really shouldn’t have, even in 1999).

Anyway, I bet Ericsson have been doing that through APIs for years now. And the idea of ViaFo was to help users manage feeds by passing off the burden of having to worry about the details of the interface to third party changing to the middleman.

Which is what the SAP Open Connectors do. Other companies, such as Cloud Elements and Mulesoft offer a similar service. So, SAP will worry about authentication to the third party API and, at least to some extent, the specification changing.

This is where APImetrics comes in.

150+ API and counting is a lot of APIs. How well are all those endpoints working at any given instant? You at SAP or Cloud Element or Mulesoft are only going to know that if you are actively monitoring those endpoints. And you should be reporting on the status of the APIs to your users.

And then there’s the APIs to the APIs.

For SAP, you the SAP user will be consuming the third party APIs within SAP. But you will still need to have the assurance that all those APIs (SAP and third party) are working properly. If an API isn’t working, whose fault is it? The connector’s or the third party? Both the connector and the connector user are going to want to know that.

So, if you are using the connector, either you are going to have to trust SAP (or Cloud Elements or Mulesoft) when they say that the APIs are working or you are going to want to use a trusted independent active API monitoring service to verify what is really going on. And APImetrics is always happy to discuss how we can help you in that regard.

API connectors have their uses. How could they not? They are an abstraction layers and abstraction layers are considered useful. But abstraction don’t remove all the complexity, they just shift it around. Someone has to deal with what’s actually happening with the APIs and that someone should be actively monitoring the APIs.

Photo courtesy of Vasile Cotovanu

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