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Ian Goldsmith

(Read part 1 and part 2)

As I explained last time, API management fills several key roles in the modern digital enterprise, using the diagram below to explain the key components for an effective API strategy.

In this post, I’ll cover the services that support the core layers.

API management diagram

Management services

All the technology that supports the digital business needs to be managed and monitored. The management services layer provides configuration management and auditing, and operational monitoring across the organization. Core API management features ranging from design and definition, through monitoring and traffic shaping reside in this layer.

This is where your centralized API management platform lives, controlling the gateway instances residing in the interaction layer.

Security services

Becoming a digital business forces you to balance the need to provide APIs that expose your data and applications with the need to protect your customers and your systems. Security services provide an underlying set of capabilities for user and application authentication and authorization, data privacy, auditing, and more. Given that APIs are increasingly the key interaction point between applications and data, and your customers, partners, and employees, the API management solution needs to both provide and consume a range of security services.

API management integrates with your identity management systems to provide API and web services security, federation, and single-sign-on capabilities. It provides key management and cryptographic services for data privacy, and monitoring and auditing for API traffic and administrative activities.

Developer services

Where SOA and web services were all about the service provider, APIs are all about the consumer. One key to providing a good consumer experience is an intuitive developer portal that allows API developers to design, build, and document well-constructed APIs, and help app developers find and consume these APIs with minimal friction.

API management provides this social developer experience for both API and app developers, many of whom fill both roles, forming the foundation of a grass roots digital transformation initiative.

Analytics services

It’s all very well embarking on a digital transformation initiative, but you need to know what progress you’re making and what you need to work on. Analytics services provide business dashboards built from information collected by your API platform and from other data feeds.

API management will likely not be your primary business intelligence (BI) system, but it will definitely play a major role in providing information, and in many cases may provide all the data and reporting you need.

Summary

To review, take another look at the diagram above, you’ll see at the bottom that the underpinnings of any modern enterprise is a hybrid infrastructure layer. Some of your applications will be on-premises, others will be distributed across various cloud platforms and services. All of these distributed components need to be securely and reliably connected, and all of this plumbing will be via APIs.

Take your API management solution seriously, and understand that it is deeply ingrained throughout your enterprise.

Next time, I’ll cover some of the biggest challenges in selecting, deploying, and maintaining your API strategy.

Until then, take a moment and see how the top 14 API management vendors compare and which were cited as Leaders by reading the The Forrester Wave™: API Management Solutions, Q4 2016 report.

rw_akana-forrester_leaderboard2017_A_v03

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