Multiple API Gateways: Managing complexity to bring better value

multiple API Gateway's value

Multiple API Gateway’s value lies in knowing how to manage the complexity in today’s world with the right solution in place.

SmartBear’s State of API Report indicated that most respondents use several API Management gateways or even vendors.

Let’s examine a few cases to determine why this trend is relevant. Knowing how to manage multiple API Gateways properly is the key to bringing better business value.

Watch this video and read the article to learn more about multiple API Gateways: Why does it happen and what are the challenges?

Multiple API Gateway’s value: reasons to adopt some

Internal vs. external

Some corporations gear towards a two-way street API Gateway approach, hence internal and external capabilities.

Other reasons exist such as:

  • on-premise vs. cloud vs. hybrid deployment
  • central vs. local governance
  • closing the functionality gap
  • development vs. testing vs. staging vs. production
  • microservices vs. monoliths

With internal capabilities, developers need agility for continued innovation. With a two-way gateway in place, you have a backup in case of a cyberattack.

Using internal gateways for internal calls can be cost-effective. A solid example is choosing Axway to act as the external gateway while having multiple AWS gateways running in the private cloud.

The external component allows for digital elements to thrive in an open space. One must also address the elephant in the room — legacy systems. By doing so, you have more capabilities that take place externally. By taking an API-First approach for the external component, it’s an all-encompassing tactic.

Transitioning to the cloud

Most companies using the cloud are using two or more API Gateways while they adopt new, innovative cloud API Gateways. It comes down to knowing how to manage the complexity of multiple API Gateways, this is where the actual value lies.

Central vs. local governance

Different regions often require diverse solutions to better adapt to local requirements and conditions.

“Conway’s Law states that the way an organization is structured will reflect the way software can be built.”

With multiple API Gateways working to combat this issue, it becomes a comprehensive solution when you gain better all-encompassing visibility.

BNP Paribas Personal Finance

A good example is BNP Paribas Personal Finance. As a leading consumer credit provider with over 30 offices globally, BNP needed to keep up with its growing digital demands.

Solution: Unified Catalog

To gain an effective API monetization strategy, BNP Paribas Personal Finance came to Axway for clear insights for better autonomy and visibility for all its APIs across all business units.

Amplify API Management, including its Unified Catalog provided real-time, fine-grained insights into how BNP Paribas’ partners were consuming its APIs, putting a foundational stone in place for its monetization plans, while providing better independence throughout. It’s a win-win all around.

“When Axway told us about AMPLIFY Unified Catalog, we immediately recognized that it would offer us the insights we need to kick our monetization initiative into high gear,” — Jérémy Ségura, Enterprise Architect, BNP Paribas Personal Finance

By utilizing and rolling out the Unified Catalog across all their API Gateways, BNP Paribas Personal Finance now has a complete overview of all its APIs along with improved self-governance.

Compliance is another reason for multiple API Gateways. By definition, regulatory compliance allows laws from federal, state, and global rules to go forward.

With many companies having regulatory compliance concerns, a multiple API Gateway plan can help solve the isolating endpoint problem. This was the case with Novartis.

As a global healthcare company, Novartis needed help with compliance for its customers. Novartis has a wide-reaching base. They started with foundational APIs, and as these APIs grew, so did compliance concerns and data requirements internationally.

“More and more, we see the need to extend this architecture with more gateways in China, in Japan, to respect the data residency requirements we have in those countries.” —  Pascal Bouquet, Head Technology, Global Drug Development at Novartis

Novartis needed a better solution. By addressing multiple API Gateways to respect the compliance issue, Novartis used microservices to detach other solutions that are in place and create better collaboration for the company. By “opening everything,” a better ecosystem was born.

Closing the gap — the API Gateway’s role

By definition, the role of the API Gateway is wide-ranging. It supports security measures, traffic supervision, and visibility among APIs.

Companies usually begin with one API Gateway. As they grow and develop, the need for better capabilities to function within its systems can require more API Gateways.

By providing a seamless process for a better overview of your APIs, multiple API Gateways help to deliver better visibility and functionality. A sound API Management solution becomes more important as fresh developments come to fruition.

Development and production

Many companies are using multiple API Gateways because of the different phases of the API Lifecycle. The big misconception lies in which endpoint to use.

When new projects take off, take into consideration that API Management is part of the larger landscape for development and production.

Microservices vs. monoliths

With microservice architecture, developers can deliver applications that are independent and deployable. Previously, apps were built as monoliths, now you have unified delivery thanks to innovations in microservices architecture capabilities.

Open everything, that means your API platform!

By opening up your API platform, your APIs have better security measures in place. By providing self-service capabilities, security is better enhanced via stronger visibility.

An open everything strategy allows your company to foster better governance via a unified view. Take note that many outdated API Management providers only oversee their APIs.

Challenges

It’s important to note that architecture with multiple API Gateways has several challenges. Many companies end up adopting multiple API Gateways for different reasons.

The tactical approach lies in having unified control and visibility across all multiple API Gateways — this is the key!

Four challenges

  1. Governance and safety
  2. Consumption visibility
  3. Cost
  4. Debugging and monitoring

First, the problem lies in how these policies are set up regarding governance and safety, this makes it difficult to apply.

With the complications of having a real overview of logistics, not to mention technical glitches, having the right solution to gain better visibility is a necessity.

Second, having a consumption overview can be a tremendous problem if the right approach doesn’t exist. Typically, API Gateways are in place via a single API portal, whereas having multiple API Gateways creates a problem with consumption (hence the siloed effect).

The crucial point is to have centralized visibility for better access to your APIs.

Third, always a big one, the cost! With multiple API Gateways, it can be expensive with decentralized architecture in place.

Repetition can be a problem if not handled correctly. Without the right solution, the difficulty of better visibility into your APIs becomes an expensive problem.

The fourth problem is debugging and monitoring. Since each gateway comes with its own log, the bigger problem is overcoming difficulties with your APIs.

It’s imperative to have automation set up so your API consumption has enhanced overall importance. If you don’t have the same API Management solution across the multiple API Gateways, you will run into governance issues.

Conclusion

Multiple API Gateways are a fact of life but can create some challenges. Companies should work towards having centralized control and visibility across all multiple API Gateways.

As enterprises end up adopting multiple gateways — either intentionally or unintentionally, Axway is here to help isolate the cause and understand the root of the problem to provide an all-encompassing solution to manage the complexity of your multiple API Gateways.

Never forget, ultimately the business value lies in managing the complexity of multiple API Gateways.

Discover why more API Gateways are valid. Download the white paper for more details.

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Principal Marketing Content Manager, With over 31 years of experience, Camille has been a writer, author, editor, and researcher in different industries from advertising, luxury brands, law to nonprofits. She writes, edits, and manages content for all Axway's blogs: blog.axway.com, apifriends.com, blog.syncplicity.com, devblog.
 

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