API Series Part 3: Understanding the Capabilities of API Management Platforms

So, why do we need an API Management Platform?

An API platform provides capabilities in managing the APIs; starting from documenting the contract definition to defining the revenue generation model (subscription model), one can use the platform to address non-functional needs such as deployment agility, continuous monitoring, usage metrics, subscription models, scalability, availability, etc. Platforms provide abstraction to these low-level non-functional needs, thereby allowing developers to concentrate on addressing the functional aspects alone, leading to efficiency.

Below is a sample illustration of an API Gateway/Platform that provides an abstraction layer between the consumers and published actual API endpoints (bound to backend services).

Some of the key vendors of API Management/Gateway are Tibco Mashery, Apigee, WSO2, Amazon API Gateway, Kong, and Mulesoft. Kong, which is open-source based solution, has an interesting architecture wherein the core platform can be extended by adding plugins that enable customization to the customer needs. Most of these vendors have both On Premise and Cloud based solutions.

Key features of an API Management Platform are:

        Documentation

•  Well documented APIs with good examples

•  Tools such as Swagger I/O simplify documentation
techniques

           Onboarding
•  Portal for Developer self-service•  Community Support•  API development studio
        Deployment Agility

•  Flexible support for cloud and on premise
deployments

•  Automated deployments

          Sandbox Environment

•  Ability for developers to test APIs

•  Increases the value of an API and its adaptation rate

         Security

•  Provide IAM to users and developers

•  Tried and tested authentication schemes

•  OWASP threat protection

          Operations

•  Zero downtime upgrades

•  Multi-tenancy and scaling

•  Cross-region automated routing & failover

        Analytics & Statistics

•   Metrics on API usage

•   Monitor API availability and uptime, traffic, and

response time

         Monetization

•   Define subscription models

•   Define volume and usage tiers

•   Reporting and billing

 

By now, you have likely realized the crucial role that the API Economy plays in this Digital Transformation era. There should be no second thoughts about API adoption. It is necessary if an organization wants to provide an exceptional customer experience or wants to optimize their existing application infrastructure and helping the growth of their business. There are many examples of real-world organizations that have derived great business benefit from adopting an API-centric approach.

Contact Ness if you would like help with your Digital Transformation or API strategy.

This is the final blog in a 3-part series on API. “Part 1: API Centric Design” can be viewed here. “Part 2: Key API Design Principles and Best Practices can be viewed here. 

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