The New Approach to API Management

The process of modernizing application and API delivery has never been easy. Given the impact of the DevOps focus on emphasizing automation, self-service, and the intricate nature of multi-platform and multi-cloud environments, it can be especially challenging these days.

Enterprise organizations aiming to improve the digital experiences of their IT teams—with a focus on integration and innovation—commonly develop APIs and oversee their management through comprehensive API management systems that cover the entire lifecycle. These systems traditionally included responsibilities such as API definition, testing, implementation, formulation of usage policies, documentation, and the creation of API portals. What do organizations need to consider when successfully adapting from a legacy approach to a new normal?

API Management for DevOps and GitOps

Traditional and legacy API management systems can create issues for organizations looking to modernize their applications, often resulting in isolated divisions between different teams such as development, infrastructure, security, and networking. These silos can lead to delays and increased complexities in the software development process. The situation is further complicated by large monolithic software systems that perpetuate these divisions and require manual handovers between teams. Additionally, these systems frequently lack the capabilities for automation and seamless integration, which can hinder efficient operations in organizations that follow DevOps principles.

Recognizing the significance of automation and integration, it’s important to understand that the lifecycle of an API closely mirrors that of software development. Treating API management as a separate entity can introduce inconsistencies and complications. To overcome these challenges, many organizations are embracing Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs). These platforms empower developers by offering self-service capabilities throughout the entire lifecycle of a service. IDPs utilize various tools to automate tasks such as setting up projects, creating documentation, managing access, and facilitating deployment.

Open-source platforms like Spotify’s Backstage play a pivotal role in constructing IDPs, providing valuable resources to build and enhance these platforms. By adopting an IDP approach, platform engineering teams have the flexibility to choose the most suitable tools, leverage container technology, and seamlessly integrate with modern practices including Kubernetes management, GitOps, and CI/CD. This shift not only streamlines the development process but also fosters a more cohesive and productive development environment, aligning with the principles of DevOps.

The Next Generation of API Management

Ongoing API management remains a crucial element within software development, but it must be intricately connected to the broader context, and not created or maintained in a vacuum. The key is to move away from outdated, monolithic API management stacks. In place of legacy systems, many organizations are choosing:

  • Modern proxy technologies
  • Agile API testing tools
  • Effective analytics solutions

Embracing these practices breaks down silos, reduces vendor lock-in, and enhances automation—and this approach supports complex deployment strategies, spanning multi-cluster, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments.

API management should align with modern development practices and avoid creating silos within silos. Organizations are transitioning from traditional stacks to IDPs that enable automation, integration, and best-of-breed tool selection. This approach enhances developer productivity, reduces complexity, and promotes seamless deployment across various platforms and cloud infrastructures.

To learn more, check out this article on DZone, or download a copy of the new guide to API management for modern development.