APIs: The Foundation for Innovation

Ramchandra Koty
APIs: The Foundation for Innovation

Application programming interfaces (APIs) that were once limited to technical domains are now a significant growth engine for all businesses. APIs allow companies, their partners and customers to scale globally, reliably exchange information, and open new pathways for innovation and growth.

Over the last few years, technical programmable interfaces have proven to be much more than just tools for individual company use; they are now a vital business unto themselves. Increasingly, organizations from all industry sectors (e.g., eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Twitter and WhatsApp, etc.) are making APIs available to other businesses who then leverage their platforms to create new solutions for their customers.

Equinix API Ecosystem

Learn how to use the APIs to create a new app or enhance existing apps. Equinix Forum offers online discussions, that provides a place for developers to engage, post or comment on questions, and get peer-to-peer support.

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All service interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be externalizable. Jeff Bezos, Amazon

A new API movement begins

Even though Salesforce made the first web API publicly available in 2000, it was the famous 2002 “API Mandate” email by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that ignited a new movement toward enabling “extendable” digital platforms. Bezos wrote to his employees, “All service interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be externalizable. That is to say, the team must plan and design to be able to expose the interface to developers in the outside world. No exceptions.”[i]

What happened after that is digital history. Take Uber for example. The company owns no vehicles, but  mastering the art of efficient, API-enabled ride-sharing management enabled Uber to completely revolutionize the personal transportation industry. The power of APIs continues to play a critical role in Uber’s competitive edge, including enabling Uber drivers to easily navigate to rider locations and allowing riders to quickly visualize driver routes through integrated Google Maps API services in the Uber app.[ii]

What is an API and what is driving its adoption?

In brief, an API is to computers what a user interface is to humans. APIs open up pathways that enable deeper interactions between systems, applications and networks. And since we live in a “service economy,” we will continue to see more products and services expressed through APIs. This is because  in our digital world, the fuel that generates true business value is shifting from the physical products themselves to the information and insight the products generate.

Today’s API adoption accelerators include:

  • Demand for faster development and time to delivery: To succeed, businesses need to decrease application development cycles and time to market for their solutions and services. APIs enable increased agility and automation in application development and deployment, and extend app scalability, functionality and ease of use. APIs also enrich information exchange between business partners and resellers, driving up customer loyalty as engagement and insight deepens. All of this helps open new markets and revenue channels.
  • Growth of hybrid multicloud and edge infrastructures: Companies are recognizing that different clouds have different strengths, capabilities and cost considerations, increasing the desire to use multiple clouds across different applications, or even across a single application. The need to deploy, manage and integrate systems across multiple infrastructures  ̶  on-premises and clouds – is an absolute requirement of modern business. The use of APIs enables the flexibility to move infrastructure resources to their “best fit” location without impacting the consuming application and abstracts the calling application from the infrastructure complexity.
  • Rising industry standards and regulatory requirements: Many industry or government organizations are strongly encouraging API access as a preferred option. This includes the European Union’s (EU) second payment services directive (PSD2) and open banking initiatives in North America and Asia-Pacific. In the U.S., healthcare initiatives such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) are requiring APIs. And in multiple geographies, government open data initiatives are also driving the use of APIs. 

How the Equinix API Strategy accelerates digital transformation

Companies are building and managing their digital infrastructures on Platform Equinix® where they can reach everywhere, interconnect everyone and integrate everything they need to succeed. By enabling access to APIs, we are providing a powerful developer platform that simplifies application development and management automation, and enables our global customers to more rapidly scale their digital business.

Following are some of the ways our customers are using Equinix API access to simplify and speed their digital transformation:

  1. Hybrid/Multicloud and Edge Services Deployments
  1. Business Process Automation:
    • Order products/services like Cross Connects, Smart Hands®, shipments, trouble tickets and others
    • Provision secure interconnections and perform user and permission management
    • Receive real-time notifications and manage incidents
    • Consolidate inventory information for internal configuration management data bases use cases
  1. Data Monitoring, Analytics and Reporting:
    • Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) monitoring, analytics and reporting (IBX SmartView™). You can learn more by downloading the IBX SmartView API webinar or signing up for a free IBX SmartView trial.
    • Artificial intelligence/machine learning/big data analysis to build connected datasets
    • Retrieval of infrastructure monitoring and power-draw data to improve/predict overall response time around incidents

Equinix’s API ecosystem at work

Today, Equinix has 70+ APIs that can accelerate customer and partner digital transformation. For example, Telstra leverages ECX Fabric for its Telstra Programmable Network to directly and securely connect workloads to multiple clouds. Together, our two companies are helping customers around the world simplify cloud connection by fully automating the experience through API integration, reducing the time to establish on-demand, secure private connectivity to minutes.

And Equinix and Verizon are providing businesses with fast, reliable connectivity between their on-premises infrastructures and Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers by leveraging APIs to enable quick and seamless interconnection provisioning. The Verizon Software Defined Interconnect (SDI) leverages an API between the Verizon network and ECX Fabric, providing private IP network direct connectivity to IBX data centers around the globe within minutes, eliminating the need for dedicated physical connectivity.

How you can learn more about Equinix APIs

Following the Open API Specification, Equinix provides Restful and Streaming APIs that can be accessed via the Equinix Developer Platform. Our Getting Started section under API Knowledge Center gives you step-by-step guidance on how you can test drive the Equinix API Playground using mock APIs.

Listening closely to our customers and partners is what enables us to continuously deepen the value we bring to our developer ecosystem. So definitely let us know what you think by using the feedback widget on the Developer Platform!

[i] Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, Mandate.

[ii] Android Authority, “Here’s how much Uber pays to use Google Maps,” April 2019.


Ramchandra Koty Director of Engineering, Global IT
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