Matt McLarty

Matt McLarty

Matt McLarty is Vice President of Client Solutions at Layer 7 Technologies. Matt is focused on customer success, providing implementation best practices and architectural guidance to ensure clients receive the maximum benefit from Layer 7’s products. Matt brings over 15 years of technology leadership to Layer 7, with a particular focus on enterprise architecture, strategy and integration. Prior to joining Layer 7, Matt led the global IBM technical sales organization responsible for application integration software and solutions, notably helping to grow the SOA Gateway business substantially over a five-year period. Before joining IBM, Matt worked as a Senior Director and Enterprise Architect focused on SOA, electronic payments and identity management.

May 15th, 2012

API-Aware Traffic Management

Cloud ExpoAs I mentioned in my last blog post, the promise of cost reduction is compelling many enterprises to move their workloads into the Cloud but many IT leaders are reluctant to do so, for fear of compromising the security and availability of their services. These concerns are well-founded but the benefits of Cloud are too great to ignore. To obtain these benefits, companies must adopt techniques that protect against the attendant risks, without compromise.

Many people are familiar with Layer 7’s industry-leading security functionality, so it’s no surprise that I’d recommend using our Gateway technology to protect connections from on-premise infrastructure to off-premise Cloud services. The flexibility of deployment options we offer makes it possible to create a network of secure on- and off-premise endpoints to meet the most stringent requirements. This covers security but what about availability?

People seem to be less familiar with Layer 7’s routing capabilities. Our Gateway technology is optimized to perform flexible, content-based routing with negligible impact on overall transaction times. In the context of the Cloud, this means that traffic proxied by a Layer 7 Gateway can be re-directed using intelligent algorithms and even dynamic, state-based awareness. This routing capability, which I call “API-aware traffic management”, brings huge benefits in ensuring availability when connecting to multiple API instances – on-premise, off-premise, in multiple Clouds… anywhere on the hybrid network.

I’ll be discussing this topic in detail at the upcoming Cloud Expo 2012, June 11-14 in New York City. This promises to be a great event, so I hope you can make it and attend my discussion!

April 30th, 2012

Cloud & Clear

Hybrid CloudIt’s April in Vancouver, which got me thinking about clouds.  Although the IT buzz in 2012 has been dominated by mobile and big data, Cloud computing is still a hot topic, especially since it is an enabler for both. In the public Cloud space, Google just launched Drive in the same week that Microsoft updated SkyDrive. In the private Cloud domain, IBM recently announced its PureSystems platform, which falls along similar lines as the Exa- line from Oracle.

It will be interesting to see whether or not big enterprises buy into this “21st century mainframe” concept but what’s clear is that enterprises now want to migrate critical workloads to the Cloud, en masse. To realize the true benefits of Cloud, many of these workloads will have to be running off-premise. But since many will remain on-premise, enterprises will be relying on hybrid Cloud infrastructure for their most significant IT services.

Security remains a major area of concern for organizations looking to leverage the Cloud. Increasingly, availability and reliability are also significant concerns, particularly since Amazon has had a few outages recently. In addition to addressing these concerns, enterprises are evaluating how they can optimize processing volumes to get maximum cost benefit from their Cloud deployments.

Please join me at the Cloud Expo, June 11-14 in New York, where I’ll be discussing solutions for each of these considerations. Hey, we should have blue skies by then!

April 25th, 2012

BYOD is a HUGE Opportunity for Mobile App Developers

API Portal for Mobile DevelopersCalling all mobile app developers! You have the whole IT world in your hands. Mobile migration represents a shift in IT as large as the PC explosion of the 80s or the Internet boom of the 90s. And mobile apps will prove to be the major driving force behind this shift – exerting an even greater pressure than the devices that run these apps. For evidence of this, have a look at the launch-day download stats for Instagram’s Android app.

Up to this point, apps have focused mainly on consumers. But with the BYOD (“bring-your-own-device”) movement’s unstoppable momentum driving mobile devices into the center of the enterprise IT landscape, there is a growing need for enterprise apps that give employees the user experience they are used to with consumer apps. That means a decent chunk of the $3.8 trillion spent on enterprise IT this year could be heading to mobile app developers like you.

Building mobile apps for the enterprise is going to create some new challenges, though. Perhaps most significantly, you will be much more reliant on enterprise data and applications. That’s going to mean a lot of work integrating the functional requirements for your apps and even more work nailing down the non-functional areas like security, scalability and availability. Nevertheless, these challenges are well worth accepting, given the stakes.

The good news is that Layer 7 will be out there making things easier for you. We help enterprises expose data and applications as RESTful APIs, significantly simplifying integration with mobile apps. Additionally, our API Portal product helps developers discover and get maximum value from enterprise APIs. It’s an exciting time for mobile developers and we’re excited to be laying the foundation upon which a generation of enterprise apps will be built.

April 9th, 2012

Big Data & API Management

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Big DataThe hottest IT trends of 2012 are shaping up to be Cloud, mobile and “big data”. The links between API management, Cloud and mobile are clear. The links between API management and big data – a concept that creates capabilities for capturing and analyzing previously unimaginable amounts of unstructured data – are less obvious but no less significant. I see two key areas of synergy…

First of all, in the three-tier architecture of the Web, the line was typically blurry between the presentation and logic tiers and concrete between logic and data. Big data now blurs the line between logic and data. Combine this with the fact that the mobile app development paradigm fragments the presentation platform and it is evident that the API will become the concrete and consistent border in application processing flows. In this context, API management will prove vital in enforcing security, collecting business metrics and normalizing protocols.

Second, big data allows analytics to be performed in the scope of real-time data retrieval. This will create another wave of real-time integration needs in enterprises of every size. More real-time integration means more APIs with higher volumes. The common protocol for exposing big data on the network is REST using either JSON or XML formats. Again, this will mean a greater necessity for API management tools and techniques and a compound benefit in their usage.

Simply put, mobile, Cloud and big data are driving a new era of enterprise IT and API management will provide amplified value for companies embracing these trends.

March 27th, 2012

M2M & the Digital Frontier

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M2M API GatewayThe machine-to-machine (M2M) movement is having a broad impact across industries.  New business models are being powered by information distributed to and collected from smart meters in the utilities sector, connected vehicles in logistics, heart monitors in healthcare, RFID-tagged inventory in retail and digital signage in the media. M2M creates a vast “Internet of things” comprised of smart devices that produce data, networks that transmit data and applications that turn data into real-world insight.

The M2M paradigm presents an exciting new opportunity for companies to use Layer 7’s API Management products.  APIs represent the key to unlocking the value of M2M by linking devices in the field to the core enterprise applications that are able to analyze and apply the data these devices produce. Layer 7 empowers organizations to make that link in a secure, scalable way:

  • The SecureSpan SOA Gateway or API Proxy provides REST-based connectivity to heterogeneous enterprise systems
  • The Layer 7 API Portal allows M2M API owners to set and enforce SLAs and provide comprehensive information to API users (smart device developers, network operators)
  • The Layer 7 OAuth Toolkit configures access control policies that are fit for M2M and able to leverage existing back-end infrastructure

We already have customers achieving M2M success in the automotive, healthcare, media and energy industries. So, whether you’re a logistics company looking to get a real-time view of your global fleet, a retailer needing to manage your disparate warehouses or a telecommunications company providing a broad set of M2M services, we encourage you to apply our industry-leading technology as part of your solution.

Read the solution brief: Simplify M2M Integration with a SOA Gateway