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Essential tips for building cloud API management strategy


Essential tips for building cloud API management strategy

API management is must for today's organizations. It's challenging but there are tools in the market that can help in defining API management strategy. In today's cloud computing era, developers and IT professional continuously deal with APIs. APIs in hundreds can be managed manually (though difficult) but once APIs consumed by organizations run in thousands it becomes tough to manage those set of APIs manually. The organization needs to rely on an automated way to manage those APIs holistically.

In one of the previous posts, we looked at 'Why businesses need long term API strategy'?
  • APIs Encourage Standardization
  • APIs Encourage Innovation
  • APIs promote platformication and collaboration
There are many vendors that help in managing cloud APIs. (Note: We soon plan to update the list of API management platforms available today.)

These API management platforms work as a broker between organizations data and services with either external or internal consumers. At high level, API management platform provides capabilities such as help in,

Developer portals for APIs -  This essentially points to developer portal. It would comprise of internal app developers, external app developers, and partners. Importance of developer portal lies in the fact that it helps build a developer community around APIs. Ease of use and engagement of developer portal helps empower and inform developers with organization's APIs. It helps build a loyal community of developers around APIs. It means more apps are developed around organizations APIs and results in a better return on investments.

Sandbox - Sandbox provides developers with an environment where API calls and their output can be tested and validated.

Securing APIs - Security is paramount in API world as an APIs are generally exposed to the Internet. Most of the risks applied to the internet now applied to APIs as well. API platforms provide authentication and authorization mechanism.

API Lifecycle management - APIs need to be integrated with existing SDLC processes of organizations. API platform must enable organizations to help define roles and processes to build consistent APIs.

Policies and Metering - This pillar can be overlapping among developer portal and API lifecycle management. But from the operations perspective, it is important to track and monitor API consumption, impose policy based limits. Also more important is metering of internal or external API consumption. Another functionality required is logging and reporting of API usages.

Deployment model - In today's distributed and cloud era, there are many ways products can be deployed. It is essential to understand what is the best-suited deployment model for API platforms such as on-premise, off-premise (SaaS) and hybrid where few components are deployed in the cloud such as developer portal and few are on on-premise such as the sandbox.

Once the right API management strategy is in place, organizations can use the same strategy to drive  API designs for internal business services or products. It is important to understand individual needs before coming up with cloud API strategy. API platforms help not only in designing reusable and consistent APIs but to build the sound ecosystem of developers around those APIs and drive more return on investments.

What is more important for you in designing API management strategy? Do you prefer any specific tool? Do post your comments below.

By Mandar Pise

Opinions expressed by techsutram contributors are their own.

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