As modern enterprises continue migrating to the cloud and the need for connected applications and devices dramatically increases, API-driven architectures are being widely adopted. In addition to the convenience of being able to efficiently connect and share resources, organizations benefit from the innovation and accelerated development speed that APIs bring in multi-cloud environments. APIs are not new, but as more enterprises adopt modern application architectures, they are increasingly occupying a large amount of a software development team’s delivery efforts.
When enterprises modernize and migrate to the cloud, it’s natural that challenges arise which need to be tackled before they become pain points—especially when it involves a complex microservices environment. API gateways are an essential ingredient that helps businesses overcome many of the challenges associated with APIs. API gateways are deployed at the edge of an infrastructure, responsible for routing client API requests to backend microservices. Modern API gateways also come with additional perks organizations can benefit from as teams and infrastructure grow simultaneously.
Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the major challenges organizations face around APIs, and how to maximize their benefits.
Rapid Adoption Meets Growing Pains
API-oriented architectures greatly accelerate the agility of an IT department, as they’ve become a well-known pattern for modern application architectures. However, this approach can be deceptive, as many critical issues and concerns around APIs aren’t always apparent from the onset. If they are not properly identified, they become growing pains teams have to face on a daily basis.
The first challenge is the need to authenticate users when they make requests. API gateways allow organizations to integrate and consolidate authentication providers using their protocol(s) of choice. With billing and analytics, organizations need to understand the number of resources consumed when processing a transaction and how their customers consume their APIs. API gateways become the natural point at which to collect this data.
In terms of DevOps initiatives, some API gateways use service discovery to configure themselves dynamically which greatly accelerates a development and ops team’s velocity when shipping new features or fixes. To help teams deliver a highly available and resilient platform, API gateways are enablers that provide them with the puzzle pieces for advanced load balancing, rate-limiting, circuit-breakers, mirroring and more. These components make the DevOps mindset a reality. Teams can scale them as needed to realize production-grade environments, continuously updating deployments with software changes and avoiding any unintentional single points of failure (SPOFs).
In recent years, the evolution of API gateways has solved growing pains in the cloud, helping organizations leverage cloud-native technologies and workflows. Combining cloud-native technologies with an API-led integration platform creates an effective architecture for a digital enterprise to increase productivity. Automating production, operation and services is no longer a goal but a must-have.
Modern API gateways features within this environment go well beyond what one would expect at first glance. API gateways can be the cornerstone of a deployment strategy transformation. With hundreds—if not thousands—of services to continuously deploy, the risk of introducing a regression to the platform soars, and being able to address this problem immediately is not enough. API gateways can help you transition to modern deployment strategies and blue/green or canary deployment becomes commonplace—helping deployments become an easily managed daily task.
API Gateways to the Rescue for Cloud-Native Architectures
As part of the shift to modern application architectures, enterprises should invest resources in implementing API strategies as part of their software development initiatives. In turn, they should leverage API gateways to alleviate growing pains and simplify delivery efforts. APIs should be secured, managed, observed and even monetized.
API gateways can also help with critical issues related to authentication, security and SSL, billing and analytics, life cycle management, high availability and resilience, and they can even help you initiate a culture shift toward a DevOps mindset. By combining API-driven architectures and cloud-native technologies, organizations emerge with an effective architecture for the digital era. API gateways help overcome the challenges and unfold the networking intricacies of today’s cloud-centered world.