What are API management tools?

API management refers to methods and tools that enable organizations to manage and monitor application programming interfaces (APIs). Today, the term primarily refers to managing RESTful APIs using the JSON language.

Companies build APIs both for both customer-facing and internal use, and they might be deployed either on-premises or in the cloud. API management controls how gateways forward calls from clients to backend services, and forward responses back to the invoker—regardless of the location of the client or the backend service. 

API management tools allow you to define and enforce security policies, including authentication and authorization of API consumers. API calls can be throttled and usage capped according to established service level agreements (SLAs) and resource allocation policies.

Common features of API management solutions

API management solutions typically provide a range of features and functionality to support the design, development, publication, documentation, and maintenance of APIs in a secure and scalable environment. Some common features of API management solutions include:

  • API design and development: API management solutions often provide tools and frameworks for designing and developing APIs, including tools for defining the structure and functionality of the API, and for testing and debugging the API.
  • API documentation and testing: generating documentation for the API, as well as testing and debugging the API to ensure that it is functioning as expected.
  • API gateway: an API gateway is a layer of software that sits between the API and its clients, and manages the traffic to and from the API. API management solutions often include an API gateway to handle tasks such as routing requests, applying security measures, and applying rate limiting.
  • API monitoring and analytics: tracking and analyzing API usage, including metrics on the number of requests, the types of requests, and any errors or issues that may arise.
  • API security: features for securing APIs, such as authentication, authorization, and encryption, protect against unauthorized access or malicious activity.
  • API scaling: handles a large number of requests and maintains high performance levels, even as the number of users or the amount of data increases.
  • API versioning: allows organizations to maintain multiple versions of an API and manage the transition between them as the API evolves.

API management tools you should know about

1. Solo Gloo Gateway

Gloo Gateway delivers API gateway and Kubernetes Ingress and advanced proxy functionality. Recognized as a Visionary by Gartner, Gloo Gateway is leading the pack with a true cloud-native API gateway and API management solution.

Gloo Gateway extends Envoy Proxy with a rich set of security, scalability, resiliency, cloud integrations, and ease of use capabilities. Gloo Gateway’s architecture enables customers to significantly reduce their API gateway footprint (vs. legacy API gateways), as well as improve overall scalability and reduce application latency. Gloo Gateway also includes Gloo GraphQL and a developer portal to improve centralized deployments and policy management, integrated with GitOps best practices.

Get started with Gloo Gateway today!

2. IBM API Connect

IBM API Connect helps organizations adopt an organization-wide API strategy, creating an effective API ecosystem. API Connect is available across multiple clouds and is designed to accelerate digital transformation. Key features include:

  • API Manager: manages both internal and external APIs and supports managing and monetizing REST and SOAP APIs.
  • IBM DataPower API Gateway: secures and controls API traffic and interactions to maintain efficiency and high performance.
  • Developer portal: users can share APIs with application developers through a corporate branded portal.
  • API analytics dashboard: provides dashboards and visualizations to monitor API usage and its business value.
  • Developer toolkit: provides tools for API modeling, development, and testing.
  • Multi-cloud deployment: enables users to consume services in on-premises, cloud, or hybrid cloud environments.

3. Microsoft Azure API Management

Microsoft’s Azure API Management platform allows users to manage all their APIs in one place. It is a hybrid multicloud platform that supports a variety of environments. Key features include:

  • Managing APIs across multiple platforms: enables deploying managed APIs in Azure, in other clouds, and in on-premises data centers. 
  • Managonig API traffic flow: integrating external and internal APIs with full observability.
  • Developer portal: enables developers to easily publish and consume APIs via customizable API portals, which can be managed and shared with internal and external teams.
  • Transform existing services into APIs: makes it possible to convert legacy web services into modern REST-based APIs.

4. MuleSoft 

MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is a platform for building and integrating applications using APIs. It provides: 

  • Tools and services for creating, managing, and deploying APIs.
  • API design and development tools.
  • A centralized API gateway.
  • Analytics and monitoring capabilities.
  • Runtime environment called Anypoint Runtime Engine, which allows developers to run, test, and deploy their APIs and integrations.

5. Workato

Workato provides a cloud-based API management platform that allows organizations to design, publish, document, and analyze their APIs in a secure and scalable environment. Workato is designed to be a codeless automation platform, which means that users can build integrations and automations between different apps and services without the need for coding. 

Some key features of the Workato API management platform include:

  • Access policies: Workato allows users to define and enforce access policies to control who can access their APIs and how they can be used. This can include setting rate limits, IP whitelisting, and other security measures to ensure that APIs are used in a controlled and secure manner.
  • Dashboard: The platform includes a dashboard that provides a centralized view of all APIs within an organization. From the dashboard, users can monitor the performance of their APIs, view analytics data, and manage access policies.
  • Discoverable API catalog: This makes it easy for developers to discover and use the APIs that are available within an organization. The catalog includes detailed documentation for each API, as well as code samples and other resources to help developers get started. 

6. 3Scale

Red Hat 3scale provides a range of tools and features for designing, publishing, documenting, and analyzing APIs. These tools are designed to help organizations create, manage, and scale APIs in a secure and efficient manner.

Some of the key features of Red Hat 3scale include:

  • API traffic control: Red Hat 3scale includes features for controlling API traffic, such as rate limiting, which allows organizations to set limits on the number of API requests that can be made in a given time period. This can help prevent API abuse and ensure that APIs are used efficiently.
  • OpenShift integration: 3scale integrates with OpenShift, a platform for managing containerized applications. This integration allows organizations to deploy and manage APIs on OpenShift, and to use OpenShift’s features for scaling, monitoring, and securing APIs.
  • Fuse integration: 3scale also integrates with Red Hat Fuse, a platform for building and deploying integrations between different systems. This integration allows organizations to use Red Hat 3scale to manage APIs that are built using Fuse, and to use Fuse’s integration capabilities to connect APIs to other systems.

7. Fusio

Fusio is an open source API management platform that helps organizations design, develop, and deploy APIs. It is designed to be flexible and extensible, and can be used to build APIs for a variety of applications and use cases. Fusio provides a range of features to support the entire API lifecycle, including tools for generating API documentation, testing APIs, and monitoring and analyzing API usage. 

  • Programming languages: Fusio is written in PHP and can be used to build APIs that can be accessed using any programming language that can make HTTP requests. Fusio also includes support for other languages and technologies, such as SQL, MySQL, and MariaDB, which can be used to store and retrieve data from a database. 
  • Security: It also includes security features, such as support for OAuth2 and OpenID Connect, to help protect APIs from unauthorized access or attacks.
  • Flexibility: Fusio can be used to build APIs that can be accessed from a wide range of client applications, including web and mobile apps, as well as other server-side applications.

8. Postman

Postman is a popular tool for testing and interacting with APIs. It is a software platform that allows developers to send HTTP requests to an API and view the response from the API. It can be used to test the functionality of an API, as well as to create and debug code that uses the API.

Postman includes a number of features that can be useful for managing and monitoring APIs, including:

  • Reporting dashboard: Postman includes a dashboard that allows you to view detailed reports on your API usage and performance. These reports can include information such as the number of requests made to your API, the response times for those requests, and any errors that occurred.
  • RBAC: Postman supports role-based access control (RBAC), which allows you to specify different permissions for different users or groups of users. This can be useful for controlling who has access to your APIs and what actions they can perform.
  • Audit logs: An audit log feature tracks all actions taken within the platform, including API requests and responses. This can be useful for tracking changes to your APIs and for troubleshooting any issues that may arise.

Get started with Gloo Gateway today!