5 Things To Know About IBM API Management
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Simon Dickerson is a Technical Sales Engineer for IBM covering API Management, Cast Iron cloud integration and mobile application development with IBM Worklight. He has an engineer degree and has worked with a broad range of computing technologies and focuses on the benefits of technology to the end user.
IBM API Management is IBM’s offering into the world of API Management. API Management is about the control required when exposing backend data services to applications, in particular to web and mobile applications. APIs are nothing new but have come to the forefront with the rise of mobile working and mobile applications. It’s not hard to expose your data to the world, but it’s hard to make it secure, scalable and controllable and have the necessary analytics to provide insight into their use.
IBM API Management provides the services required from an API Management solution. Five things to know about IBM API Management:
1. IBM API Management is available as a Cloud hosted system or On-Premise
The choice of where to host an API Management solution depends upon your company strategy but more importantly where the data services reside. What’s the point in having an on-premise system if your data services are in the cloud? And vice-versa. IBM API Management provides for both scenarios where you can subscribe to a hosted service or implement an on-premise solution.
2. You don’t just have to proxy to an existing service. You can create new APIs
When creating API, you can proxy to an existing service, either a REST or something such as web service from your ESB. However, you can also create new APIs that, for example, aggregate and filter data from more than one data source. Being able to optimize the content sent back from an API helps to minimize latency and improve application performance.
3. Security is a key element and IBM API Management provides basic authentication, LDAP and OAuth capability
Security is paramount not just to protect the backend data sources from attack but to ensure that APIs are not misused. Security such as API entitlements/rate limiting, basic authentication, OAuth and LDAP are all necessary. A security gateway is a mandatory requirement, not just for providing authentication and authorization services but to prevent denial of service and other attacks.
4. APIs have to be responsive with minimal latency and IBM API Management is scalable to meet all demands
It goes without saying that APIs need to perform. Generally APIs are created for the development of applications and if the user experience is poor then they are not going to be used. In the global environment, latency is key and this might mean deployment over many data centers. Depending upon the API, call volumes might be in the millions per month but it is the peak that has to be managed for and this in some circumstances (think of new product promotions or global news events) might be hundreds of thousands of calls in an hour. Like security, performance and caching are vital.
5. IBM API Management provides all the analytics you require
It’s always good to understand what is happening and analytics give you that. This isn’t just about what apps are out there, the devices, the number of API calls, or how long it takes for each API call to run. Business information is vital. You’ll want to analyze the content, what are people asking for and what do they do when they’ve got the information. IBM API Management can store everything about an API call, including the message of the request and response, and it lets you search and analyze all of this data.
In summary, while exposing your data is easy, getting it wrong can cause technical difficulty and negative publicity. An API must be considered to be a product and releasing an API requires consideration of a number of factors. The IBM API Management solution addresses all the needs by providing a secure, scalable mechanism for controlling the API lifecycle. The IBM Redbooks Publication on API Management covers the theory as well as a practical implementation.
For IBM API Management related blog posts, see:
For IBM API Management Redbooks publication, see: