IBM API Connect is a cohesive API operational platform to create, run, manage, and secure complex APIs and microservices that drive web and mobile applications. API Connect enables you to rapidly deploy and simplify administration of APIs across your organization. In this post, I will talk about the top five things you should know about IBM API Connect. 5 Things to Know about IBM API Connect are:
- API Connect offers features to manage the entire API lifecycle
With API you can do the following:
Create—create scalable and secure APIs for application servers, databases, enterprise service buses (ESB) and mainframes
Run—take advantage of integrated tooling to build, debug and deploy APIs and microservices using the Node.js or Java.
Manage—create and manage portals that allow developers to quickly discover and consume APIs and securely access enterprise data, and monitor APIs to improve performance.
Secure—Administrators can manage security and governance over APIs and the microservices. IT can set and enforce API policies to secure back-end information assets and comply with governance and regulatory mandates.
The following figure shows the capabilities of API in each of those areas:
- API Connect comes with 2 deployment options
API Connect provides a set of API capabilities that can be deployed on-premises, or used as an on-cloud offering as part of IBM Bluemix.
It's an on-premise solution consists of one Management server to manage and analyze APIs, one Gateway server to direct API traffic, and a server to host the Developer Portal. API Connect for Bluemix solution comprises servers to manage and analyze APIs and to direct API traffic.
In both solutions, you can gather a collection of servers to create clusters to load balance and isolate traffic.
- API Connect solution has 3 interfaces
- Developer Toolkit (API Designer console and command-line interface) is installed locally and provides an offline development experience. It is used for configuring, securing and testing APIs locally using the Micro Gateway. The Developer Toolkit is integrated with the LoopBack Framework. Developers can use LoopBack to implement REST APIs, test them locally and publish them to Bluemix. For a detailed overview of LoopBack.
- Developer Portal is an entry point for consumers to browse and subscribe to APIs. The Developer Portal provides access to documentation, sample code for API invocations and live "Try It" capability. Consumers get API credentials by registering applications in the Developer Portal. They can also monitor API usage. The Developer Portal has an administrator interface that can be used by the API Provider Portal to customize the consumer's user experience.
- API Manager console provides all of the API configuration and publishing capability in the API Designer, as well as User management, TLS security configuration, REST over SOAP assembly, API usage analytics, detailed catalog and product views, application subscription approval.
- There are 3 different API Connect offerings
- Essentials is an offering that is designed for developers, at no charge. The offering has more limited functionality compared to the two other offerings, and has no IBM support. The Gateway that Essentials uses is the Micro Gateway.
- The Professional offering builds on the capabilities that Essentials provides, and is suited to department level environments. The level of functionality that is available in the Professional offering is greater than Essential, but is limited in comparison to the Enterprise offering. IBM support is provided with this offering.
- API Connect Enterprise is ideal for teams with large projects that will span the organization. Enterprise adds further capability to the Professional offering, It is the offering that provides the most functionality, and is aimed at Enterprise level environments. The greatest differentiatiors between Enterprise and the other offerings are that Enterprise provides advanced analytics, and uses the DataPower Gateway.
- It is recommended for StrongLoop customers to move to API Connect
The latest version of API Connect (V5) includes support for LoopBack. LoopBack is still OpenSource, and IBM and the community will continue to contribute and maintain it. It is still possible to use LoopBack for no charge but if you need IBM support for LoopBack you will have to buy a paid version of API Connect (Professional or Enterprise). Even if you don't want to start with the paid version, you should consider moving to the API Connect Essentials to get an integrated API management offering that includes LoopBack.
For the most up-to-date information about the API Connect offerings please refer to API Connect Offerings in IBM Knowledgecenter here.
To learn more about API Connect, check out the following IBM Redbooks publications:
Vasfi Gucer is an IBM Redbooks Project Leader. He works with technical experts to create books, guides, blogs, and videos. Follow Vasfi on Twitter at @VasfiGucer.