A critical component of an API-based architecture is to have an API Gateway. This becomes more important as organizations are breaking their monolithic services to a microservices-based API architecture. An API Gateway is a layer that sits between an organization’s backend and its consumers (internal or external). It offers many benefits namely abstracting functionality common to all APIs thus providing the speed, agility and expansion. Some of these factors must be considered before choosing the right API Gateway.
Choosing the right API Gateway
An API Gateway should ensure only authenticated users can access the backend APIs by providing an authentication layer. The API Gateway should be able to integrate with existing and custom authentication providers. This ensures the backend APIs doesn’t have to implement this logic and any changes to the authentication schemes require no changes to the backend.
Once Authenticated, the API Gateway then authorizes “what” the authenticated user has access to. With Authorization, an API Gateway should be able to abstract common complexities from back-end APIs. This avoids the backend API having to maintain this logic and any subsequent changes to it. An API Gateway should be able to work with existing authorization mechanisms and should be able to provide fine-grained, centrally managed access rights to each individual methods of an API.
API Gateway should provide default logging capabilities as it sits between the consumers and APIs. The API Gateway helps provide unified logging capabilities to all APIs. To help analyze multiple APIs together, the API Gateway should be able to provide a co-relation ID into their request headers, so backend APIs, front-end Apps can also include this ID into their logging activities.
As with logging, an API Gateway should also provide default monitoring across all APIs. An API Gateway should be able to track request/response, time is taken, SLA, etc. It should be able to integrate with a full-featured monitoring solution to help track this information.
As the API Gateway sits between the consumers and backend APIs, it’s also in the unique position to determine any High or low activities based on the monitoring that’s enabled. Even though the API Gateway may not be expected to provide auto-scaling out of the box, it should be able to integrate with Services that provide this capability.
An API Gateway should help with reducing the load on backend APIs and prevent misuse. Rate limiting provides restricted access to APIs by permitting only a certain number of requests. With exposing APIs to third-party consumers, this also could provide a revenue stream by opening up the possibilities to higher rate limits.
An API Gateway should be able to provide the capabilities to modify requests/response payloads. As organizations move from a SOAP-based architecture to REST and need a quick time to market strategy, payload transformation becomes an integral component for this requirement.
READ MORE: API Gateway capabilities and features.
An API Gateway must support scalability and high availability, load balancing, shared state without compromising performance. It should provide linear scalability and fault-tolerance on hardware or cloud infrastructure for mission-critical data. It should also support replicating across multiple data centers and providing lower latency for your consumers.
With the strategic value of APIs, a continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) pipeline have become an important aspect of API development. It allows organizations to automate the deployment of API changes without error-prone manual steps, detect issues earlier and ultimately deliver value to end-users faster.
There is more–yes! Besides the fundamentals listed above, other factors around Deployment complexities, deciding on an Open source vs. proprietary platform, On-Premise vs. cloud hosting, Pricing, etc. must also be taken into consideration before choosing the right API Gateway for your organization.
Discover more about API Gateways, you can’t handle the truth!