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Azure API Management Benefits and Limitations

Azure API Management Benefits and Limitations
Anjoli Garg - Technical Lead | December 24, 2014
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In this blog, I am going to cover a few points on API Management Services in Azure.

Let us first understand what are the advantages of using APIs, and what API Management is. APIs are the most optimized way of sharing data or providing services, where technology is not a limitation. It means one can use a Java API for fetching data in .Net application. There are many more ways to consume APIs but the major drawback for APIs is that one cannot track the utilization of the APIs or cannot analyze the performance directly. This calls for the need of an API management platform which can help in overcoming such drawbacks. Azure API Management is a readymade solution for this.

Azure API management is a single platform which provides diverse set of API management services which allows to publish, analyze and monetize APIs. Using API management platform, one can publish their existing APIs directly from on-premise, cloud or any external server, and it will be available to customers, partners and even to developers within no time. It also provides a developer portal, from where any developer either from client side or internally, one can directly view or execute these APIs. The developer portal contains an interactive console, using which, these activities are performed. This developer portal is fully customizable.

While consuming an API, another challenge which API consumers generally face is lack of documentation. This challenge is also taken care by Azure API Management. In this, one can provide documentation at various places while declaring APIs for publishing, like at method, parameters and response.

API Management also provides automatic scaling of instances depending upon the traffic load. One can also define various policies like rate limit, quota, XML to JSON conversion etc., for one’s API calls. One can also apply authentication on the API and also authorize application to access the API. It also supports Caching which accelerates the API performance.

The most powerful feature of API Management is rich analytics. Great visualization of analytics with deep insight is presented along with heath and usage details. API Management transforms an API into platform.

Overall Azure API Management is enriched with lots of great features and provides end to end solutions but only WADL and Swagger APIs can be imported. Moreover, one can only publish REST APIs, because SOAP is not supported.

So before doing jumpstarting on Azure API Management it is prudent to measure the gap between one’s API and Azure API Management.

References

http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/api-management/

http://www.codit.eu/blog/2014/05/14/microsoft-azure-api-management-getting-started/

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