APIs have become the building blocks of the digital transformation currently occurring across industries worldwide. In simple terms, APIs allow two or more applications or operating systems to communicate by sending and receiving data. This allows for applications to be built with features that lean on an external service, such as Google Maps.
According to a 2018 Cloud Element report, “State of API Integration,” 60 percent of organizations say API integration is critical to their business strategy. However, one area of concern that keeps popping up is security. According to Imperva CTO Terry Ray, “APIs represent a mushrooming security risk because they expose multiple avenues for hackers trying to access a company’s data.”
What is an API Management Platform?
An API management platform is a tool that serves as a proxy for customer requests so that it can protect the backend of an online service or application from being overwhelmed from too many queries. Many API programmers utilize an API management platform to ensure customers do not take down services either maliciously or unintentionally by sending too many queries to the backend server.
An API management platform achieves this by placing limits on the number of queries each customer can send via relaying requests between the customer, consuming application, and the API. This prevents the API from crashing by trying to handle more requests that it possibly can and creating what is known as a DoS (denial of services) attack.
Most API management platforms come with features such as analytics and usage reports. Here are, based on the Forrester Wave report of Q4 2018, are the top 15 API management platforms.
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The AMPLIFY API management tool combines API management and microservices mesh governance in order to streamline how developers can build, manage, analyze and extend digital services. The platform allows developers to create their own APIs and microservices for their application, which can be scaled individually. It also allows you to customize how you can manage and deliver APIs and microservices, and you can also graphically specify XML/JSON, JSON/JSON and XML/XML data format configurations.
The CA API management tool enables you to integrate systems, adapt services, orchestrate data and be able to create enterprise-grade APIs from various sources. It also offers a host of features and functionalities to streamline API development, improving time-to-market as a result. Developers can collaborate on the platform and make use of the mobile SDKs that are available out-of-the-box.
Developed by Google Cloud, Apigee allows you to design API proxies and you can visually configure or code API policies as “steps in the API flow.” Apigee also lets you enforce security practices and protocols across all your APIs. You have the option of protecting your API against OWASP [Open Web Application Security Project] threats with OAuth 2.0, SAML, two-way TLS and encryption. In addition, Apigee lets you securely manage microservices as APIs via Apigee Edge.
API Connect is IBM’s very own comprehensive API management platform that helps you manage the entire API lifecycle. It features the capability to automate API creation based on Node.js and Java runtimes and it has built-in security and governance. Additionally, the platform can be easily integrated into your CI/CD pipeline and the built-in analytics can deliver API usage reports for API providers and consumers.
From Microsoft, the Azure API management platform provides serverless API management, automated scaling and instant provisioning. The platform can be used as a turnkey solution for publishing APIs to both external and internal customers, and it can also be used to manage microservices as APIs. Users have the option to choose from a number of dedicated usage models.
Anypoint lets you create and integrate APIs using a single unified platform. The Mulesoft platform allows you to integrate with any application, device or data, even if it’s on-premises or in the cloud. And you can take advantage of the pre-built security policies to encrypt data or conform to industry compliance standards like GDPR. Developers can collaborate and build faster with a library of reusable APIs and connectors.
Oracle’s API management platform provides a design-first approach to building APIs. Developers can choose between an API Blueprint or Swagger to design their APIs. Its collaboration environment enables you to efficiently onboard your team with role-based access. It also comes with an analytics dashboard so you can get a complete view of your APIs both in the cloud and on-premises.
3scale gives you the ability to share, manage, secure and monetize your APIs. It features OpenShift Integration that lets you run high-performance applications in an automated and contained way. It also comes packaged with comprehensive security settings where you can apply a range of encryption, authentication and authorization protocols.
Akana provides end-to-end API management for designing, implementing, managing, monitoring, securing and publishing APIs. It can be used on-premises, in the cloud or as a hybrid deployment. The platform comes with rich authorization and authentication capabilities including SAML 1.1 / 2.0, OAuth, OpenID Connect and JWT support. Plus, it comes with a graphical interface to help you design your APIs.
The Sensedia API management platform helps you facilitate the exposure, consumption and management of resources and data for application development, integration with both partners and customers and strategies for open innovation. It comes with “Smart API Design” for a seamless design experience and it protects your APIs from spike arrests, XSS, SQL injections and any XML and JSON threats.
With API Cloud, you can securely manage and expose your API to third-party developers, partners, web-apps and any Internet of Things (IoT) application. It comes with a secure gateway that protects you from unauthorized access and provides full visibility allowing you to see who is accessing your APIs. Developers can collaborate to build and test APIs. You also have access to a comprehensive analytics dashboard to monitor usage.
Mashery is a cloud-native API management platform. It gives you the ability to develop APIs from any data source thanks to its native OpenAPI specification and native Node.js hosting. The platform enables you to “productize” private, partner and public APIs by packaging them into discoverable API products, and it comes with robust authentication.
Built on the Vert.X toolkit, API Connect is an API management platform that focuses on developer UX. It comes with a workflows feature that enables teams to bake in an approval cycle for common API publishing tasks, granular control on publisher functions for users and groups, and has a developer portal content management system that stores plain and simple HTML files. It also comes with a host of policy enforcements including OAuth2 and request rate limiting.
14. Tyk Enterprise
Tyk Enterprise is an API management tool that is “designed for DevOps, by DevOps.” Every function in Tyk Enterprise is backed by an API, which enables automation out-of-the-box. It features auto-scaling and multi-data center capabilities. It is supported by 24/7/365 SLA and you can use either on-premises or as software-as-a-service (SaaS).
15. WSO2 API Manager
WCO2 API Manager is an open-source platform that addresses the full API lifecycle management, policy enforcement and monetization. It is designed to fit both monolithic and microservice architectures and it can be flexibly deployed on-premises, in the cloud or both. It also comes with an analytics function to gain insight into API usage.