Choosing the Best API Management: the 7 Critical Factors

The API Management market has never been hotter. As more organizations move towards IoT, mobile, and big data, finding an API management solution is critical. As Forrester predicted, this niche will fetch more than $3billion before 2020 in the USA alone.
But there is good and bad news. The vendor landscape is ready to capitalize on that figure to the fullest. The challenge is, companies now have to sort through hundreds of vendors to choose the best API management solution for their business.
Do you go with the big names, AWS and Azure, who have been dominating the industry for a while, or are the new kids in town bringing something more and fresh?
Well, we look at seven factors you should consider when choosing an API management stool.

1. Deployment options

Some vendors offer managed cloud-based deployment, while others will only do so in the early stages and then require you to move to an on-premise solution. You need to know your needs and, more importantly, your capabilities to handle the management layer. Look for a vendor who will give you the kind of deployment you need.

2. Easy Installation

If you prefer to have an on-premise deployment instead of cloud-based, then installation needs to be easy. Assess the installation process and ensure that every step is easy to understand and implement.

3. Required features

Old-timers excel in providing the essential features required, such as security, authorization, and reporting. However, new kids are bringing something more to the table, so you must evaluate the features provided with respect to what your business needs.

• Authorization- can you implement your API tokens, keys, and all other authorization mechanisms easily?
• Performance-with each request that comes through, how much overhead does the layer require? You can measure your APIs’ performance before and after installing the layer to see how much performance will be affected. Ideally, it will go down but not drastically.
• Reporting- the best management layer should provide you with all the information you need daily and enable you to push that information into an external reporting solution.
• Security- as the gateway to your APIs, security is the main reason you are investing in a management solution in the first place. Do some basic security testing to see if it’s catching common attacks such as SQL injection and denial of service attack.

4. Ease of use

Lastly, is it easy to use the management layer? The best management solution should not require any customization, and it should be easy to upgrade when new improvements come in. You can look at past release notes to evaluate the upgrading process.

Choosing the best API management solution is not going to be an easy affair. On top of evaluating the above factors, you should ask advice from an independent vendor you can trust. You can also consult crowdsourcing sites like IT Central Station, where professionals in this niche share their APIM findings. If you can afford it, consult a well-regarded advisory firm like Forrester before making a decision.

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