Main Factors to Consider When Evaluating API Management Platforms

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Main Factors to Consider When Evaluating API Management Platforms

Explore some of the main factors you should consider when evaluating API management platforms.

· Integration Zone ·
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The last decade has seen a slew of key technology developments, namely REST/Hypermedia(HATEOAS) and microservices architecture styles, Security (OAuth, SAML, OpenID), Cloud Computing, which have helped facilitate the API driven Digital Transformation initiatives within organizations.

As organizations need to adapt business applications to changing business strategy to be competitive, the need to provide business capabilities via applications on multiple devices(mobile, tablet, web) is urgent and means for easy integration with vendor and partner applications both internal and external is critical.

API Management platforms address these requirements by providing ways to integrate with vendor and partner applications in a secure manner leveraging these technology developments to provide API implementing business function capabilities to applications on multiple devices.

There are multiple types and deployment options for API Management Platforms (Cloud, On-Premise, Hybrid, Hybrid Adaptive).

  1. Cloud — API Gateway is deployed on the vendor cloud infrastructure and maintained by the vendor with restricted administrative access provided to the customer.
  2. On-Premise — The API Gateway is deployed on the customer network and administered by the customer.
  3. Hybrid — Some API Management vendors provide a microgateway component (with limited gateway capabilities) deployed on the customer network which mediates the traffic between the applications on the customer network to the vendor maintained cloud hosted API Gateway.
  4. Hybrid Adaptive — Some integration platform vendors provide the API Gateway as an extension to the ESB or proprietary integration platform with options to deploy the API Gateway on-premise at customer site or access the vendor maintained cloud hosted API Gateway.

The choice of the type of API Management platform and deployment options could be based on the current state of EAI within the enterprise, type of integration platforms in use in-house and the impact on enterprise integration requirements and business applications arising from the business strategy of the organization. Some considerations for choosing an API Management platform:

  1. If an organization is already invested in an ESB for its Enterprise Integration needs, a Hybrid Adaptive Platform makes a good choice as the Cloud-based API Gateway can be used to onboard the web services for client application access and protected by multi-layered security features of the gateway.
  2. If the current state of EAI is mostly a point-to-point integration between business applications, the use of the API Gateway enables decoupling the physical dependencies and makes it more amenable to adopting microservices approach by incrementally redesigning the services as required. Both on-premise, cloud and  hybrid API Management platforms are suitable choices and the decision to choose one over the other can be based on whether the majority of the applications are internal or external and percentage of business application and the business function capabilities that are to be made available via multiple client devices and security considerations of the organizations.
  3. Many proprietary Integration Platforms either have inbuilt gateway capabilities or provide API Gateway as an add-on component. The decision to use the inbuilt gateway capabilities or choose between vendor provided API Gateway or from one from a different vendor can be taken after an in-depth comparison of the features of the API Gateway(monitoring, mediation, transformation, logging, security) and considering factors such as license costs, ease of use, user training costs, support from vendor and most important of all ease of integration with the existing integration platform in use.

After short-listing API Management platforms based on the above-stated considerations, the decision to choose one among the options can be based on specific feature requirements such as monetization, analytics, and document-oriented storage capabilities and comparing the platforms on the specific requirements. 

In conclusion, adoption of an API Management platform provides an opportunity to provide business capabilities to both internal and external applications on multiple devices and supports integration requirements of business applications both internal and external impacted by the business strategy.

api gateway, api management, apis, integration

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