API Gateway: Why you need flexible deployment
API management is becoming one of the most important aspects of enterprise technology, which means that it has to accommodate the hybrid infrastructure used by most businesses. It’s necessary to ensure that your APIs can be managed, secured, and protected wherever they need to be deployed, whether on-premises or in a public or private cloud. That’s why an API Gateway that can be deployed in a hybrid IT architecture is a crucial aspect of API management.
What is an API Gateway?
An API Gateway is just that — a gateway protecting APIs. Any time you create an API and make it publicly available, there are two issues that need to be addressed:
- Security: there are a lot of malicious people out there who can potentially use an API to get into your backend systems. To avoid this, you need a way to limit access to the API and authenticate its users.
- Performance: it’s important to control how many people have access to an API in order to ensure optimal function. APIs can’t handle an unlimited number of calls, so you need to manage the number of people that use them.
API Gateways solve these problems by implementing industry standard encryption and authentications––giving API developers a way to let people in and direct them to the right place. Gateways point to the backend APIs and services that you define and abstract them into a layer that your API management solution can manage.
API Gateways are designed and optimized to host an API or to open a connection to an API deployed to another runtime. The API Gateway runtime performs functions critical to running and managing APIs:
- Gateways serve as a point of control over APIs, determining which traffic is authorized to pass through the API to backend services, to meter the traffic flowing through, to log all transactions, and to apply runtime policies to enforce governance like rate limiting, throttling, and caching.
- API Gateways integrate with the backend services that power them. An API is just an interface that calls functionality living in a service or application, and unless that functionality lives in a well-defined web service, integration and orchestration capabilities are required to connect it to the API.
The API Gateway runtime points to the backend APIs and services that you define and abstracts them into a layer that Anypoint Platform manages. Consumer applications invoke your services. APIs route to the endpoints that the gateway exposes to enforce runtime policies and collect and track analytics data. The API Gateway acts as a dedicated orchestration layer for all your backend APIs to separate orchestration from implementation concerns. The gateway leverages the governance capabilities of the API Manager, so that you can apply throttling, security, and other policies to your APIs.
Gateways are necessary to provide APIs at scale, whether it is in public, or in widely-used or sensitive private APIs. They are a key aspect of API management. When included as part of an API management package, the setup and orchestration of API Gateways becomes easier; it’s also simpler to configure them to your specifications.
The Advantages of a Flexible API Gateway Runtime
While API Gateways are a standard part of API management, the API Gateway Runtime included with Anypoint Platform has a distinguishing feature; like the rest of Anypoint Platform, it is capable of being deployed anywhere— on-premises or in the cloud. This flexibility leads to faster deployment of services; the Gateway leverages whatever governance policies you set in API Manager. This means that security and other policies can be applied as you choose.
This flexibility is becoming increasingly important. As companies develop a hybrid infrastructure, they need to integrate various services, applications, and data sources that come from numerous places. Disparate data sets and tools can lead to data silos, duplicated work, and an inefficient IT team.
Having a unified API management and integration platform allows you to manage users, monitor and analyze traffic, and secure APIs with ordered policies in one place. Anypoint Platform’s unified capability enables API management for every connection with a single runtime that can be deployed as an integration engine and an API gateway.
For more information, take a look at more resources on API management in Anypoint Platform.