API Management & SOA Governance Are Merging

    The market for API management tools is in high gear, reaching an estimated $70 million last year, with 40 percent growth expected this year, Gartner reports.

    What’s currently driving adoption is no big secret: It’s SaaS and mobile apps, according to Gartner’s recently released “Magic Quadrant for Application Services Governance.”

    “The use of Web APIs is increasing more than ever, generally supporting new sales channels through mobile applications,” the report states. “This has made API management more popular as a new way of informing and selling to end customers.”

    The less heralded, but growing trend driving API adoption is the growth of other devices, such as TVs, cars, and the Internet of Things, the report states.

    Gartner uses the term application services governance as a way of classifying tools that track and monitor services in either service-oriented architectures or API projects. These tools also enforce and ensure compliance with whatever policies govern the services.


    Application service governance includes two similar types of solutions: API management tools and SOA governance tools. These tools are closely related, so much so that SOA governance vendors have been adapting their tools for API management for a few years now.

    SOA governance sales have started to decline somewhat, since vendors shifted revenue to API management tools. Still, it remains “very viable” and is likely to be stable for two to three years more, the report states.

    By 2016, Gartner believes both solution markets will merge into one. In total, the application service governance market was valued at around $474 million last year, Gartner states.

    As you might expect, this has led to some consolidations, as the bigger SOA governance vendors buy out smaller API management vendors. Gartner lists four big acquisitions since the last edition of this report in 2011:

    • Axway acquired Vordel.
    • Intel acquired Mashery, although the report looks at each vendor separately because the buy-out happened so close to publication date.
    • CA Technologies acquired Layer 7.
    • MuleSoft acquired Programmable Web, a website devoted to APIs (disclosure: I previously wrote for Programmable Web).

    Another fun fact from the report is that for most technologies, “SOA is now assumed.”

    For CIOs and other potential buyers, the important thing to remember is that this is a market in transition. Acquisitions are still very likely, so that’s something you’ll want to consider. The tools also are on different tracks, with SOA governance being more mature, and API still evolving. They vary in other ways, too, including using different terminologies. This won’t be an issue immediately, but since the market is evolving quickly, it’s worth noting.

    If you’re in the market for either type of tool, CA Technologies/Layer 7 is offering a free download of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Services Governance report.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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