A composite platform is a single platform for API management that handles both Public (sometimes called “Open”) APIs and Enterprise APIs. It’s composite because it exhibits both the cost savings of “cloud” through a multi-tenant SaaS partner portal coupled with the control of on-premises gateway for traffic management. Like a composite material, the mingling of two or more constituents gives the final solution different properties not found in either alone.
For a public or open API it’s important to have developers interact in a shared manner, generally done through a public SaaS partner management portal. True multi-tenant SaaS offerings gives the Enterprise cost advantages, as the partner management piece is akin to running a website for potentially thousands of developers.Running a successful website means people, resources, archival and a higher cost of ownership.
Further, Multi-tenant SaaS means developers may be using more than just your API as they may also be finding other APIs they are interested in advertised from other tenants. This is a good thing as these are the caliber of developers you want. After all, experienced developers can bring more to the table – they may even come up with an awesome app that mixes your data with a partner’s in a new way.
As flashy as the cloud is, not all Enterprises can risk complete movement to a public cloud environment, especially for security and compliance. The set of applications bound to the enterprise are sometimes called “gravity bound”, as they are part of an information system tied to a core business processes or cannot be outsourced due to compliance, privacy or security issues.
How do these applications gain the benefits of the API economy? What if you want to build an mobile app or partner app that interacts with a mainframe or legacy system? How do you ensure compliance for API traffic that involves sensitive information? What about security?
For these types of large scale environments, the Enterprise has good reasons to buy and own some of the components used to expose the API. Overall, the composite API platform really mixes the concepts of Public APIs and Enterprise APIs together.
All APIs are really Enterprise APIs, its the manner in which they are exposed and their purpose that labels then Public or “Enterprise”, but in reality they both support an Enterprise’s API strategy and we might argue that the most successful enterprises will actually have both.