• April 18, 2024

How to leverage productised APIs with Federated API Gateways

Abhijit Dey | Axis Bank
Vice President

Guest Article, written by Abhijit Dey – Vice President at Axis Bank

Organizations are collectively moving toward a state in which thousands of APIs are externalized and published for a variety of use cases in the API-First digital environment. The internal and external architecture for API management no longer remains as a Service Mesh rather it is more like an orchestrated hybrid API management layer. Nowadays almost all large organizations with complex tech architecture have multiple API gateways to balance the API management and enforce rules and policies to ensure API governance.

In federated API gateways, API productization entails the decentralized structuring and management of APIs across multiple gateways to satisfy the requirements of various stakeholders. 

A summary of fundamental ideas and factors to bear in mind is as follows: 

API Productization: This entails conceptualizing APIs as commodities, necessitating an awareness of and adherence to the requirements of partners, consumers, and developers. Providing comprehensive documentation and support, defining clear use cases, designing developer-friendly interfaces, and assuring scalability, reliability, and security are all components of API productization.

Federated API Gateways: Federated API gateways disperse the API administration functionality across numerous gateways, as opposed to utilizing a solitary centralized API gateway. Every gateway is capable of catering to a distinct department, domain, or geographic area. Federated gateways enable large, distributed systems to achieve enhanced scalability, flexibility, and resilience. 

Key Essentials of Federated API Management for Productised API Architecture

– API Management Layer: An API management layer is an integral component of every federated gateway, carrying out critical functions such as authentication, authorization, rate limiting, monitoring, recording, and analytics.

– API Gateway Instances: These are the physical instances of the gateways that have been deployed in various regions or environments.

– Centralized Control Plane: Notwithstanding the dispersed nature of the gateways, a centralized control plane might persist to oversee policies, configurations, and monitoring activities across the entire fleet of gateways.

Federated gateways frequently utilize service discovery mechanisms to dynamically identify and establish communication with backend services.

Why do we need Federated API architecture?

– Scalability: Federated gateways can scale horizontally by adding additional gateway instances as required. 

– Distributed architecture enhances resiliency and fault tolerance by ensuring that system-wide disruptions caused by gateway failures are not propagated. 

– Localized Control: Implementing distinct policies and configurations for each domain or region’s gateway tailored to its particular requirements. 

– Performance Enhancement: By positioning gateways in closer proximity to consumers, latency can be significantly reduced. 

– Regulatory Compliance: By enforcing policies at the gateway level, federated gateways can facilitate compliance with regional data privacy regulations. 

Challenges of Federated API Management:

– Consistency: Ensuring consistent policies and configurations across all gateways can be difficult without the appropriate management tools. 

– Intricacy: The management of numerous gateways introduces complexity to the system architecture and deployment procedures as a whole. 

– Interoperability: It is critical to guarantee uninterrupted communication and compatibility among various gateway instances. 

– Monitoring and Troubleshooting: Robust tools and processes are necessary for monitoring and troubleshooting across distributed gateways. 

Best practices to follow while you are driving a Federated API architecture and productizing APIs together:

– Centralized Management: To administer configurations, policies, and monitoring, implement a centralized control plane. 

– Standardization: Establish universally accepted protocols and standards to guarantee seamless operation across diverse gateway instances. 

– Automation: Reduce operational overhead by utilizing automation for deployment, scaling, and management duties. 

– Security: Implement robust security measures, including authorization, encryption, and authentication, at each gateway. 

– Monitoring and Analytics: Implement robust monitoring and analytics tools to oversee the health, usage, and performance of every gateway. 

In summary, the concept of productizing APIs via federated API gateways centers around the idea of decentralizing policy enforcement and management duties by distributing them among multiple gateways, thereby effectively treating APIs as standalone products. This innovative approach brings several advantages, including enhanced scalability, as it allows systems to handle an increased load by distributing requests across several nodes; improved resilience, owing to the distributed nature which ensures that the failure of one node does not compromise the entire system; and greater localized control, giving individual teams the ability to manage their APIs according to their specific requirements. Nonetheless, while the benefits are significant, this strategy introduces certain challenges, such as the difficulty in maintaining consistency across different gateways and the increased complexity in managing a distributed architecture. This complexity requires sophisticated coordination and monitoring to ensure the seamless functioning of the APIs across the federated gateways.

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