Hybrid API Management: A trend you might want to adopt

20. February 2020

 

If I’d have to name one real trend in the market for API Management, it would definitely be Hybrid. There are many reasons why your organization might want to adopt a Hybrid API Management strategy. In this blog, we will explain to you what Hybrid API Management actually is, why you’d want to go for this type of architecture and the developments we see in the market with the different toolings.

What exactly is Hybrid API Management?

In order to understand what Hybrid API Management is, it is crucial to first understand a bit more about the general architecture of API Management systems. To put it at a high level, these systems typically consist of two main components. There is an administrative component and a runtime component. The administrative component is the part where the API team (platform administrators, API developers, operators) can manage the platform. They can onboard new APIs, grant access for developer apps to particular APIs and monitor the platform usage. The runtime part handles the processing of the actual API traffic. Runtime consists of the actual gateways, also called policy enforcement points. They process the API traffic, while enforcing policies for security, logging, mediation and traffic management.

We now know the simplified separation of API management components, but let’s look at the traditional deployment models as well. This used to be either a full on-premise or at least self-managed installation or a vendor managed installation in their data centers or cloud. Both models obviously have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, self-managed installations give you ultimate flexibility and ownership of the platform and the data in it, while vendor managed installations unburden operational challenges like software upgrades, scaling and availability. Some on-premise platforms are quite hard to install and operate. On the other hand, companies might not want to move to vendor-managed, for compliance, data privacy or latency reasons.

Diving into Hybrid API Management architectures

Now let’s have a look at Hybrid API Management architectures. These are actually offering the best of both worlds. The administrative components are managed by the vendor, while your runtime components can be positioned anywhere. Communications between these components are obviously essential: to exchange API configuration information as well as API usage data. Having the administrative component managed but self-managing the runtime component unburdens the operational overhead, like the scaling, availability, and upgrades but does give you the flexibility to process your API traffic close to the back-end. Latency, compliance, and data privacy are then less of a concern.

Hybrid in your IT landscape

But that’s not all! Your IT landscape might already become hybrid as well. You might have a mix of some self-hosted components and one or more Cloud platforms like AWS, Azure or GCP. You wanted to proxy your APIs close to your back-end components, yet still manage your APIs centrally. This is also possible with Hybrid API Management. You can still centrally govern and protect your APIs in your (multi)cloud strategy!

Looking at different offerings in the market, we see that support for Hybrid API Management architectures is present in more and more offerings. Some products (like Akana, RedHat 3scale) inherently support it by their distributed design, while other vendors are bringing a new product especially for the Hybrid API model (Apigee announced Hybrid last November).

How to select the right API Management Platform for your organization?

There are numerous API Management product offerings in the market, each having its own set of business-relevant features, technology characteristics, and commercial models. Many organizations, and maybe yours? May struggle with either insufficient competency to evaluate such critical technology assets or the time pressure to be able to dedicate to a proper systematic evaluation exercise or simply both. Selecting the right API Management tool has become an art of knowing. We know.

We trust this blog gives you more background in the hows and whats of Hybrid API Management. Please reach out if you need any professional advice on choosing the right product, designing the right architecture or even setting up and operating your API management platform. 

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With the rise of Internet Business Models, IoT, social media and Cloud Adoption, the number of APIs is growing exponentially. Organizations struggle with securing and monitoring their APIs and data. Effective API Management will, therefore, become the standard in the IT portfolio. In this white paper, you’ll find everything you need to know about the future of API Management and Platform Businesses.

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Contact

Eelco Gelton

Community Lead API Management