API management software solutions help organizations build and scale secure API programs that provide value to their business endeavors. While some developers may have the skills and resources necessary to develop APIs without these tools, API management software enables even non-tech-savvy users to create APIs faster with automated and repeatable processes. API management solutions also provide a plethora of advantages to organizations regarding security and even allow them to analyze APIs in secure environments both before and after deployment.
With all of the advantages API management software offers, it is no wonder why so many organizations are utilizing these tools to help them create and manage their API products. If you are interested in the features and capabilities provided by these solutions, read on. This article will discuss the advantages of API management solutions and their key components. Finally, you’ll learn about the top API management software tools available for consumers in 2022.
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What is API Management?
API management is a term used to describe the process of building, controlling, and analyzing application programming interfaces (APIs) in secure environments. These APIs can connect and deliver services by enabling communication between applications. API management solutions grant organizations the ability to create new APIs, control API connections, enforce API security policies, and monitor the API activity and data.
API management consists of all the actions, tools, and people involved in supporting an organization’s efforts to design, publish, scale, and govern web APIs. These APIs can be managed for internal or external use, and organizations must take measures to control user access to these interfaces.
What are the Benefits of API Management Solutions?
API management solutions can provide features and capabilities to support the processes involved in API management. By allowing users to control their API development, activity, data, and security, organizations can more easily create and uphold an API that will generate value and serve their needs.
The benefits of API management software systems range based on the software vendors and the particular features that each system provides. However, there are some common benefits that you can expect from an API management platform. One example would be reporting and analytics features, which enable users to gain actionable insights from their API data to help them make informed decisions and optimize their API performance.
API management platforms also provide tools to support the API development process and gateway features to facilitate the data exchange between applications and systems. These features can make it much easier to create and deploy a successful API than it would be when developing an API from scratch. Many solutions also use prebuilt agents to facilitate API creation and enable users to monitor their API activity and usage.
These platforms also enable organizations to ensure the security of their APIs. They often do so by allowing users to define their API security policies and API consumer access. These solutions’ other security features may involve encryption, credential management, and security threat monitoring capabilities.
Key Features of API Management Software
While different API management software systems can come with unique features, most API management solutions include the following key components:
An API gateway supports the transfer of requests and responses between the connected systems and third-party services. Not only does the API gateway manage the communication between these systems, but it can also enforce essential security protocols and gather valuable analytics data.
API design and creation
API management software will generally provide features to support the design, creation, and definition of APIs. These features enable users to configure their API proxies and program their API behavior through coding or even through low-code or no-code methods.
API developer portal
The API developer portal is the digital location where developers can access all of the information and documentation related to their API. This acts as a single source of truth and supports the collaboration between multiple users working together to manage an API.
API access control
API access control capabilities enable users to generate authentication and authorization controls. These can be configured to provide permission for only specific users to access the designated aspects of the systems.
Publishing tools include all of the features and capabilities involved in preparing the API for deployment. This can consist of aspects like security testing and troubleshooting, API documentation, staging, quality assurance environments, and API governance.
Reporting and analytics
API management software enables users to monitor their API usage and analyze their API’s historical data. This can reveal important information to users about the performance and activity of their APIs, enabling them to reach valuable insights and make decisions on ways to optimize their APIs.
API lifecycle management
API lifecycle management involves all of the processes leading up to and following the deployment of APIs. This can include API monitoring, testing, and other capabilities that enable users to maintain and scale their API.
Top API management software solutions in 2022
Mulesoft’s Anypoint API Manager helps users develop and control their APIs and microservices with a high-performance API gateway and provides several beneficial security features.
The solution provides security by enabling users to adopt pre-built or custom security policies. They also secure microservices with a service mesh so users can implement zero-trust and apply traffic control policies. An excellent aspect of the software is that users can apply policies across each of their APIs for a consistent management experience.
With Anypoint’s integrated access management, organizations can easily control the access of their software to authorized teams and individuals. The solution also enables users to gain valuable insights from API data analytics, making it easier to determine the best course of action to improve the performance and value of their APIs.
Apigee is a platform that offers various features for API development and management. In addition, users can create and scale their API programs for monetization purposes.
Apigee’s hybrid deployment options allow users to choose where they wish to host their APIs and position their API gateways close to their API traffic, allowing them to use existing API security settings while gaining cloud capabilities. With Apigee Integration, users can connect their existing data and applications as APIs, exposing them directly and accessing management and visibility over them.
Users can use Apigee to build RESTful APIs and expose APIs directly on Apigee by building API proxies that act as managed ‘facades’ for backend services. With the Apigee platform, users can develop API proxies and generate an API workflow with customizable API settings, policies, and behaviors.
The API proxies are valuable features of Apigee’s API platform. API providers are implemented to expose APIs on Apigee while shielding apps from backend code changes. They decouple the app-facing API from users’ backend services, so if users make backend changes to their services, the applications will continue to call the API without interruption. This makes it easy to manage updates and changes.
Red Hat 3scale API management supports cloud-native API development, security, and control. The software centralizes the management of the API program using a distributed cloud layer, enabling them to gain more understanding and control over their API data analytics, access monetization, development processes, and more.
3scale provides support to all components in on-premises, cloud, or hybrid locations so that users can design their API management according to their component requirements and needs. The solution also has a nice API traffic control feature, which provides users with control over their traffic, security, and access policies.
While 3scale offers a range of independent capabilities, users can gain even more functionality by harnessing the integrated software features. For example, users can integrate with Red HatFuse to develop APIs and build applications on Red Hat OpenShift to configure their API gateways. The OpenShift connection also enables users to use their gateway to easily create and deploy applications using Linux® containers and automated processes.
Fusio open source API management software helps users create REST APIs for monetization purposes. In addition, the Fusio backend app provides control to users over their API and API monitoring.
Fusio makes it easy for organizations to monetize from their APIs by charging for specific routes. Their payment system lets users create Plans, which can be purchased through the developer portal. For each purchase, the user will receive points to be spent on protected API routes.
Other helpful features of the Fusio API management software would be SDK generation and schema generation. Fusio provides an endpoint for automatically generating RAML and OAI specifications and can automatically generate an SDK for your API from the defined schema.
Akana provides an API management platform for accelerating digital transformation by deploying secure APIs across multiple clouds. Their software is intended to accelerate time-to-market with features that support the fast design and development of APIs.
Akana’s API developer portal provides security to users through their authenticated and authorized access and automatic application of security policies. Developers can even customize their portals according to their API needs.
Users can manage their APIs throughout their life cycles with features that support their greater understanding of their APIs and API connections. Users can utilize the API Lifecycle Management View, a graphical representation of their asset-to-asset relationships. Akana provides visibility into users’ existing APIs, services, and other assets, their relationships, and their roles within the organization’s business processes and technical landscape.
Additionally, Akana integrates with many mainstream and open-source application development tools, enabling connections that expand the functionality of their software. API and app provisioning can even be automated within organizational workflows, using configurable forms that can easily be integrated into third-party tools and processes.
TIBCO Cloud (Mashery)
TIBCO Cloud API management (formerly Mashery) is designed to support organizations in maximizing the business value of their APIs. Their software can be deployed anywhere and allows for the deployment of API-led microservices through their cloud-native design.
Users can design, test, develop, and manage their APIs with the management software solution to discover the full potential of their API products. The platform enables users to build and connect their APIs using Open API (OAS), GraphQL, gRPC, or AsyncAPI. In addition, with the visual modeling features, users can create flows between data sources and discover and access business data through their APIs.
The TIBCO cloud visual API modeling is a codeless API creation environment for generating OpenAPI and AsyncAPI documents. Users can also create mock implementations of their APIs within the visual modeling interface to test the behavior of their APIs before deployment.
An especially advantageous aspect of the TIBCO cloud API management platform is that users can create automated API flows between their applications and servers and develop event-driven API products. Additionally, users can configure API products and cloud-native microservices for reuse across all supporting TIBCO Cloud capabilities like integration, automation, data virtualization, and analytics. This aspect enables users to gain the most from their TIBCO API management solution by connecting their organizational efforts with a variety of digital services.
Choosing the Best API Management Software
To find the right provider for your API management software, you should start by determining the top features that will be the most valuable to your organization’s needs. Then, by identifying and creating a list of the essential components for your organization’s API management, you can determine which vendors provide software that would suit your organization.
Once you have discovered which vendors provide software that checks off your necessary boxes, you can narrow down the best tool for the job. If you find yourself stuck between two comparable vendors, it may be helpful to read up on user reviews, case studies, and testimonials to give you a better idea of what you can expect from the company’s services.
Finally, testing a software solution is one of the best ways to see if it is suitable for your needs. Many solutions provide free trials of their services to potential customers, which can allow you to experience the software features and user interface firsthand.