Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @ThingsExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

APIs Are Not Web Pages | @DevOpsSummit #API #IoT #M2M #DNS #DevOps

Even though web pages might be built from APIs, they are not the same

There’s a tendency, particularly for networkers, to classify applications by the protocols they use. If it uses HTTP, it must be a web app. The thing is that HTTP has become what it was intended to be: a transport protocol. It is not an application protocol, in the sense that it defines application messages and states. It merely transports data in a very specific way.

That’s particularly important in the age of the API and, increasingly, the age of things that might be using APIs. You see, APIs are primarily data centric constructs while web pages (think any HTML-based app) are document centric constructs.

Data centric constructs tend to exchange, well, data. And document centric constructs… yes, exchange documents. Both might use HTTP as a mechanism to do that, but the actual payload carried differs dramatically. That’s because data centric constructs are concerned with exchanging data that is not necessarily meant for human consumption. It’s meant to provide the application with information that it can then process and display or act on accordingly. Document centric constructs, on the other hand, are meant to be consumed by human beings. Because of that they tend to include all the stuffs required to format, display, and present information.

Now, some web apps are a combination of both. There’s a framework composed of HTML that lays out the user interface, and then scripting that exchanges and processes data via APIs. The initial “load” grabs the document, subsequent interactions exchange data.

The reason I’m being so pedantic about this difference (ignoring that pedantry is my superpower) is because this distinction is critical when architecting for scale. The load generated by these interactions is different. Loading a single page is no trivial task these days. HTTP Archive, which tracks these fascinating kinds of numbers, notes that the average page required 35 TCP connections to load.

35 TCP connections.

That may be because the average document size was 24kB, comprising 889 elements.

So not only do we need to open a lot of connections, we’re taking a lot of time transferring data over those connections.

Now it is true that APIs also get objects. The thing is that except for images, almost all data is a far more compact form and it is data, not visual elements of a document or UI. For APIs, JSON is universally favored right now, and it adheres to a fairly consistent key:value paradigm, with appropriate embedded lists (arrays) of objects within it. Pagination and a smaller screen size dictate generally smaller pieces of data at a time, displayed in preparation for user interaction. The interface already exists, the data is simply used to populate that interface. This is not the same as HTML, where both interface and data presentation often need to occur as the result of transferring the objects.

Dependencies, too, are different. Many of the optimization techniques used by ADCs and front-end optimization services focus on the web of interdependencies that exist naturally in an HTML document. You can’t layout the page until you’ve loaded the style sheet that dictates it (CSS), and scripts may need to execute before data is processed for display (or as part of that process), and so on. The display of one object might depend on the existence of another that is not yet loaded. Hence the focus on optimizing the transfer of objects in an order that allows the UI to begin parsing and presenting information as soon as possible, giving the illusion, at least, of greater speed whether or not reality matches the illusion.

In other words, the API returns a single, large chunk of data. It may or may not trigger additional calls to retrieve additional objects. A web page, by design, automatically will.

So… to sum up this comparison, APIs exchanging JSON are not the same as HTML even though both are using HTTP as the transport layer.

What does that mean?
It means, kids, that optimizing an API is not the same as optimizing a web page. It means that techniques like minification (stripping out white space and comments) isn’t necessarily going to improve performance of APIs, nor will reordering objects or inlining scripts and style sheet elements. It means that optimization an API depends a whole lot on design (which networkers can’t do that much about) and on the intermediaries you use to scale and secure that API.

A significant number of APIs are geared toward mobile devices. Mobile devices are infamously plagued by poor performance largely due to excessive round trip times (RTT) from DNS and the overhead of connection establishment. APIs delivered via HTTP can stand to be connected with longer TCP idle times to prevent requiring re-establishment of the underlying TCP session during the application experience. To offset the impact on capacity that has (servers can only serve so many concurrent connections, after all), using an intermediary (a full proxy) that effectively splits the interaction between “client” side and “server” side can reduce the impact of longer-lived sessions while simultaneously improving performance by eliminating the extra round trips required to establish a TCP session by employing TCP multiplexing techniques (similar to HTTP/2).

Compression, too, if your API is returning significantly large chunks of data, can be a bonus. Many API optimizing blogs and articles point out that for some reason, compression is rarely “on” at the server. There are reasons for this, good reasons, but that doesn’t mean compression shouldn’t be used at all. When appropriate, let the intermediary (proxy) apply compression, as it is usually far enough upstream to avoid the potential negative impact of doing so.

The big deal here is that optimizing an API for performance is not necessarily the same as optimizing a web application, even though both use HTTP. So if you’re really looking for a performance boost for APIs and you can’t get developers to change what they’re doing, look to the network and, as is increasingly the case today, to the architecture.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...