Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Top 8 API Management Solutions

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As enterprises embrace digital transformation in the cloud computing era, business leaders increasingly hope to position their products as “platforms” or “ecosystems” that customers and partners can use to build their own businesses. Often that means creating and releasing application programming interfaces, or APIs. Which of course require API management solutions – a growing sector.

In the simplest terms, an API is a tool that provides a way for two pieces of software to communicate. So, for example, when you use your browser to access a Website, an API provides the means of communication between your browser (also known as the “client”) and the Web server.

Today, many websites use third-party APIs to enable some functionality. Rather than write all the code for a site from scratch, the developers might use a Google Maps API to help visitors find a company’s location. Or they might use a Youtube API to embed a video or a PayPal API to enable payment processing or a Twitter API to make it easy to tweet a link to the site.

Many enterprises create these kinds of external APIs in the hopes of encouraging outside developers to use their data or services in their own applications. It’s even more common for enterprises to create APIs that they share only with their business partners, and the most common of all is APIs that are used only internally for a company’s own applications. In microservices architecture, developers create small pieces of code — microservices — that they join together with APIs to create larger applications.

To help them create and maintain their APIs, organizations often turn to API management solutions. Vendors offer API solutions with a wide range of capabilities, but most share some common ingredients. The first is an API gateway. An API gateway authenticates all the requests that come into the server and makes sure they get routed and executed correctly.

API solutions also often include an API portal. This is a service that allows internal or external developers to find the APIs they want to use. If it is for external developers, it usually also includes mechanisms for the developers to request access and possibly a way for the provider to monetize access to the APIs.

A full-featured API solution might also include tools for creating APIs, monitoring their use, analyzing API usage data, securing APIs and more.

Key tips for selecting API management solutions

Dozens of different vendors, including many of the largest enterprise technology vendors, offer API management solutions. When selecting a tool for your needs, consider the following questions:

1. How will you use your APIs? If you need an API management solution primarily to enable microservices architecture, you will need a very different set of capabilities than if your primary goal is to sell access to your APIs to third-party developers.

2. How do you want to deploy your API solutions? Some solutions are best deployed in the cloud, others are best on premises, and some can handle hybrid deployments.

3. Do you need to integrate with other software? If you want to use your API management solution with an artificial intelligence (AI) solution or analytics, it might be best to choose an API management solution from the same vendor.

4. What are your security needs? Your compliance requirements or security policies may require that your API management solution have certain features.

The list below includes eight of the top API solutions on the market today.

Jump to:

CA Layer7 API Management

Value proposition for potential buyers

Designed for enterprises that are using APIs internally, CA Layer7 combines API management and microservices management capabilities into a single platform. It consists of three key pieces: Layer7 API Gateway, which provides orchestration, optimization and runtime capabilities; Layer 7 API Developer Port, which includes discovery, onboarding and collaboration features; and Layer7 Live API Creator, which speeds the creation of APIs and microservices. CA Layer7 customers include Alaska Airlines, CNN, Comcast, Eurosport, L’Oréal, Meridian Capital Group, Unum and others.

Key values/differentiators

  • CA’s API management tools are available as an integrated platform or as standalone software.
  • The Layer7 platform can run in the cloud, on premises or in a hybrid model, and it supports containers.
  • The platform integrates with DevOps pipeline management, enterprise management and business intelligence (BI) products, as well as incorporating analytics.
  • Advanced security features and broad integrations make it easy to bridge partners’ security requirements.

Google Apigee

Value proposition for potential buyers

Consistently rated as one of the leading API solutions, Google Apigee’s Edge platform makes it easy for organizations to design, secure, publish, analyze, monitor, monetize and manage microservices and APIs. And while Apigee is part of Google Cloud, it also offers a Hybrid product designed for multi-cloud and hybrid environments. The Apigee tools are available in several different flavors for businesses of different sizes: Evaluation (free), Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.

Key values/differentiators

  • Apigee, which Google purchased in 2016, integrates with other Google Cloud offerings (including AI tools), as well as supporting multi-cloud and hybrid environments.
  • The service runs in the cloud or on premises.
  • Google offers a wealth of resources for using Apigee to enable digital transformation.
  • Apigee has excellent IoT support, and it also support the Istio open-service mesh.

IBM API Connect

Value proposition for potential buyers

By some estimates, IBM API Connect is the market-leading API solution. In fact, IDC said the IBM solution has more users than the number two and number three vendors combined. It’s a full-featured platform with security, management, discovery, monetization, testing, monitoring and API creation capabilities built in. The platform includes API manager, IBM DataPower Gateway, Developer portal, Developer toolkit and Cloud manager.

Key values/differentiators

  • Used by more than 500 different organizations, API Connect supports a wide variety of use cases.
  • It supports multi-cloud and containerized environments.
  • Robust security helps enterprises meet their compliance requirements and reduce risk.
  • Intuitive user interface speeds the creation and management of APIs.

MuleSoft Anypoint Platform

Value proposition for potential buyers

Now owned by Salesforce, Mulesoft offers a complete integration platform as a service that includes API management capabilities. Its Anypoint Platform aims to provide a single source to access all of an organization’s APIs and integration assets. It boasts more than 1,600 users including Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Netflix, Airbus, Audi, Cisco, Mastercard, Version, VMware and others.

Key values/differentiators

  • Mulesoft incorporates API management with many other data integration capabilities, which gives its platform broader capabilities than many of the competing solutions.
  • Excellent security provides out-of-the-box compliance with ISO 27001, SOC 2, PCI DSS and GDPR requirements.
  • It can run in the cloud or on premises.
  • Mulesoft incorporates analytics to provide real-time insights, monitoring and trouble-shooting capabilities.

Red Hat 3scale

Value proposition for potential buyers

Red Hat purchased 3scale in 2016, and in the time since, it has integrated the API management platform with its other cloud and Agile development offerings. It’s a full-featured API solution with access control, rate limits, security, developer portal, analytics, API management and more. It’s likely to be of interest to organization that use Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat middleware.

Key values/differentiators

  • 3scale integrates well with other Red Hat products like Fuse, AMQ, Open Shift and others.
  • The platform runs in the cloud, on premises or in a hybrid environment.
  • Unlike most API solution vendors, 3scale has a self-service version with upfront pricing ($750 per month).
  • It also incorporates comprehensive security capabilities like encryption and authentication.

Software AG WebMethods

Value proposition for potential buyers

Highly rated by analysts, Software AG’s WebMethods platform can manage the entire API lifecycle. It includes an API gateway, API microgateway, API portal, API catalog, API consumption and the API for exposing your APIs to third parties. With its security, monetization and analytics capabilities, it’s a good option for organizations focused on providing APIs to third-party developers.

Key values/differentiators

  • Integrated authentication and DMZ-strength security helps reduce risk with exposing your APIs to external developers.
  • The platform offers excellent support for Internet of Things (IoT) use cases.
  • It integrates with other Software AG products, including streaming analytics and in-memory computing.
  • The microgateway offers a good option for organizations pursuing microservices architecture.

TIBCO Cloud Mashery

Value proposition for potential buyers

Targeted at enterprises practicing cloud-native development, TIBCO Cloud Mashery was designed to be used alongside DevOps, microservices and containers. It includes tools for API creation, a developer API portal, an API gateway and analytics. Its customers include BNP Paribas, Sportradar, Athena Health, Egnyte, Argos, Macy’s, Fandango and others.

Key values/differentiators

  • Deploy the solution in a public cloud, private cloud or containerized environment.
  • Cloud Mashery integrates with DevOps tools and TIBCO’s analytics tools.
  • Manage APIs from a single pane of glass.
  • Advanced security features include fine-grained access control and robust authentication.


Value proposition for potential buyers

WSO2 offers an open source Integration Agile Platform that includes enterprise integration, identity and access management, API management and analytics and stream processing. The tools can be used independently or as a complete platform. It supports Agile development processes and has received high praise from reviewers. Its users include Wells Fargo, Experian, Qantas, ebay, American Express, Motorola and others.

Key values/differentiators

  • Open source approach keeps costs low while maximizing flexibility.
  • The company provides a reference architecture and a methodology for applying Agile techniques to API management and other integration tasks.
  • Solutions available for financial services, healthcare, telecommunication, IoT and other use cases.
  • It integrates with Istio.


Value Proposition

Key Differentiators

CA Layer7 API Management

End-to-end API management for large enterprises using microservices architecture

·      Available as platform or standalone software

·      Cloud, on-premise or hybrid

·      Integrates with DevOps, ERP and BI solutions

·      Advanced security

Google Apigee

Full API management platform with excellent hybrid and multi-cloud support

·      Integration with other Google Cloud offerings, including AI

·      Cloud or on-premise

·      Digital transformation enablement resources

·      Support for IoT and Istio

IBM API Connect

Industry-leading full-featured API management

·      Wide variety of use cases

·      Multi-cloud and container support

·      Robust security

·      Intuitive interface

MuleSoft Anypoint Platform

Complete integration platform as a service that includes API management

·      Complete iPaas with API management included

·      Out-of-the-box compliance

·      Cloud or on premises

·      Analytics

Red Hat 3scale

Full-featured API management platform that integrates with Red Hat’s other tools and middleware

·      Integrates with other Red Hat products

·      Cloud, on premises or hybrid

·      Upfront pricing

·      Comprehensive security

Software AG WebMethods

Highly-rated API solution that is a good option for organizations sharing APIs with external partners and developers

·      DMZ-strength security

·      IoT support

·      Integration with other Software AG products

·      Microservices support

TIBCO Cloud Mashery

API management for cloud-native organizations

·      Public cloud, private cloud or container deployment

·      Integration with DevOps tools and TIBCO analytics

·      Single-pane-of-glass management

·      Advanced security


Open source integration platform that includes API management

·      Open source approach

·      Reference architecture and methodology

·      Supports multiple use cases

·      Istio integration

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