It is the latest initiative in a strategy to focus on application enablement that the company launched back in 2009.
According to Alcatel-Lucent "APIs enable data to flow easily between applications and devices and provide access to the core network assets that are critical for the creation of new services. [Our new open source software] apiGrove gives companies an easy way to manage the APIs they use to make their networks more programmable, supporting the development of services for both internal operations and for delivery to consumers and businesses."
According to the company's senior vice president application enablement, Laura Merling, in a blog posting "We believe that APIs will eventually become an integral part of cloud computing. Yes, you need API Management to protect 'cloud' APIs, but we go beyond, proposing that eventually API management will become a 'service' in the cloud just like load balancing is a service.
Alcatel-Lucent claims one of the key benefits of the open source approach embodied in apiGrove to be that companies can contribute to the basic apiGrove code, helping to ensure that their particular requirements are captured. The company says it will continue in its role as lead contributor to the project and will actively support the efforts of open-source software developers worldwide.
Alcatel-Lucent started its journey into API in December 2009 when it announced its 'Open API Service' and 'Application Exposure Suite', billing these as "a host of capabilities to help service providers open their networks to application developers and content providers in a secure and controlled way to speed the creation of innovative Web 2.0 services for consumers and enterprises."
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That announcement was followed in February 2010 by the launch of a cloud based developer platform that "provides service providers and enterprises with tools that enable partners and third-party developers to build, test, manage and distribute applications across networks, including television, broadband Internet and mobile." (It was named the "Most Innovative Mobile Application" at the 2010 Andrew Seybold Choice Awards in April.)
This was followed later in 2010 with the acquisition of Programmable Web, a portal for API access, information and discussion, and its team of veterans in API implementation, strategy and operations.