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Migration Tools for Layer7 – A Comparison
Accelerating the time to market and enhancing the developer experience with easy to use API deployment and migration tools have always been a hot topic for customers of Broadcom’s Layer7 API Gateway. Over time, there have been many incarnations of Layer7 API migration tools. In this article, we’ll take a look at their evolution, compare them and pinpoint each one’s advantages and disadvantages.
First, there was the Layer7 Enterprise Service Manager (ESM) which was a graphical offering and quite well integrated into the Gateway. It had its own communication channels and included the ability to restart gateways as well as its primary function of copying/migrating code from one environment to another.
Then partly because ESM was needing some major improvements (It was unable to migrate certain components), CMT (Command Line Migration Tool) was released by CA Broadcom. However, it was rather short-lived. VERY soon after, CA released GMU which was basically a Restman wrapper. GMU was very similar to CMT to use, but the performance was increased, it handled failed imports, had more mapping features and was able to export encrypted passwords and private keys.
The more recent Gateway Policy Plugin addressed many of the issues which were present in GMU, such as version control and better dependency mapping. It also has CI/CD capabilities.
The problem with CMT, GMU, and GPP is that they are just command-line tools and need bespoke development and management to make use of them. There is no “out of the box” solution.
Due to the technical debt which the above tools still have, customers have been resorting to manual manipulation of code using imports and exports in Policy Manager. This is extremely prone to human error and is totally unworkable in larger scale environments. Without a stable API Management and Migration tool you will end up with a big mess and more than likely some costly downtime!
We at APIIDA recognized the gap in the CA Broadcom tooling many years ago when ESM was still in use. We decided to create an “ESM on steroids”. We leveraged GMU, put a framework around it, created some mapping rules and gave it a shiny new UI. The result was the APIIDA API Gateway Manager. Sometime after, we realized that GMU was holding the product back, so we decided to use the Restman API directly and build our own dependency mapping structure around it. This gave the product extended capabilities like GIT integration, its own REST API, and dependency masking (showing and migrating ONLY the items you changed). This is not a free product but saves countless workforce hours and adds stability to your API Management solution.
APIOps practices are evolving fast and APIIDA is fully committed to helping create these new processes and mindset. We are also currently working in partnership with Broadcom on their GraphQL based replacement for Restman which promises to be much more versatile.
Here is a summary of the features from the current migration tools: