Top 10 API management tools

API Gateway / Serverless / API Management / API Integration

In this article, we review the features and pricing of the most popular API management tools that are microservice platforms for integrating applications by connecting their APIs.

What are the benefits of API platforms?

API ensures interaction between web-based systems allowing applications to communicate with each other on the back-end level. API manipulates data and accelerates quicker connectivity between apps and devices.

With API, a back-end system allows companies to put up for sale online products and services. An application programming interface enables accessing services by assigning codes to applications, therefore, advancing connectivity and expanding functionality.

Uniting applications, APIs maintain seamless communication. For instance, taxi apps like Uber use API to show the passenger and driver online location on the map. Integrating API simplifies businesses and brings noticeable benefits for clients.

API integration? Sure, we need it!

Let’s consider why by exploring the following motivations.

Linking web-based apps

Almost any market has thousands of web-based apps. Statistics show that an average employee uses at least 8 apps and every department in the modern company is gaining benefits of SaaS apps:

Source: [2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019](https://www.blissfully.com/saas-trends/2019-annual/)Source: 2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019

Along with companies’ growth, the number of apps per the company tends to increase on a linear basis. This happens because companies in the process of their growth step-by-step are adding new apps. This may happen as a result of specialization or inefficiency (for example, keeping multiple apps that duplicate each other work in the same way).

Source: [2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019](https://www.blissfully.com/saas-trends/2019-annual/)Source: 2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019

Source: [2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019](https://www.blissfully.com/saas-trends/2019-annual/)Source: 2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019

For communicating with cloud apps, API is the best option. The better applications connected, the more quick, transparent, and smooth communication between teams and departments. API integration platforms are extremely helpful in connecting apps because they are hosted in the cloud (necessary for updates, backups, and scalability) and propose low-code development (saving budgets because of no need to hire many developers).

Meeting needs

Within a department of any company, different teams are working on the same goals — bringing happiness to customers and optimizing the processing.

The distributed departments create their customized solutions that may be applicable to specific platforms and within particular departments only.

The challenge comes when attempting to meet the market needs, companies decide to centralize management and unify company processes. Integrating customized solutions, which were inconsistently developed by various departments, takes a lot of time because the company must provide additional teams to connect different solutions.

With API integration platforms, no extra resources needed, so departments can in hours integrate all cloud apps and tools within the whole company.

Building new APIs quickly and easily

When you need new APIs, you can:
(1) create your own APIs from scratch,
(2) use APIs from third-party providers.
Building from the very beginning, you need to bear development costs and take into account implementation hours. With the API integration platform, you have a faster option to create new APIs in a few clicks and drag-and-drops in such a way of releasing precious time.

Receiving history

Every company has old databases that are not in use anymore but contain useful information. To extract it, API platforms can be extremely convenient. For example, a company may create APIs using which, internal users will retrieve and use data from old servers applying business logic to workflows that are already working.

Developing new apps becomes easier

With an API integration platform, teams can quickly and simply connect contrasting technologies or reveal existing integrations as APIs or microservices to deliver new apps to the market.

Managing existing apps becomes more effective

Integrating applications, you may see their list centralized from your account, on the page with existing integrations. This prevents forgetting about applications that are not in use anymore additionally reminding to stop the subscription. Numbers show the software toolset is more expensive than the hardware it runs on. For example, in 2018, the average cost per employee of SaaS subscriptions ($2,884) was higher than the cost of a new laptop ($1,299 for an Apple Macbook Pro). Because more companies move to run entirely on cloud, the spends gap between software and hardware is expanding.

Software toolset is more expensive than the hardware it runs on.

An astonishing 71% of companies have at least one SaaS subscription without a billing owner. This usually means the person who purchased the app on the company behalf has left the organization and dropped the app “orphaned.” No one monitors the cost spent on the app, when it renews, or if anyone is even using it.

Orphaned apps can cost organizations quite a bit, with the average organization spending $710 a month ($8,520 annually) per subscription that may or may not be in use.

By the way, costs are only one concern. The security and data privacy risks of these apps can have a much greater impact.

Source: [2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019](https://www.blissfully.com/saas-trends/2019-annual/)Source: 2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019

Also, larger companies often have duplicated subscriptions, where multiple teams are using the same app but have not put it under one contract. As a result, companies are paying more than necessary. Duplicated subscriptions can be easily revealed by periodically checking the list of integrations in the API platform account.

Source: [2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019](https://www.blissfully.com/saas-trends/2019-annual/)Source: 2019 SaaS Trends report | Blissfully | 2019

Forming a strategical approach

Numerous companies, where APIs are being created manually, need to synchronize different teams of developers to get things well-functioning.

The departments have a deficit of integration resources to add more specialists to handle specific apps. Using API integration platforms, the development teams can focus their efforts on strategic goals rather than on routine execution.

Advancing productivity

API platforms improve productivity by saving the time and energy of IT and non-IT departments. Released resources may be invested in managing, monitoring, fixing and improving APIs. Being also created for non-professional (citizen) developers, API platforms allow non-technical teams to create and manage applications minimizing the load on technical departments.

Managing API on one platform is more convenient than managing API from different providers

By serving as one pane for all deployed and created APIs, the API platform simplifies management and security. APIs made by third-parties, as a rule, propose user guides and documentation but reaching them for every specific query is time-consuming. Most of the API integration platforms provide experts which can give some advice if necessary.

Flexibility challenged by rushing technologies

Every second, the world transforms in the blink of an eye, and this tempo has no signs of slowing down. Quickly increasing new functionality by adding new apps is the scalability magic of integration platforms. Therefore, companies might be sure they could quickly add or remove new capabilities, which is needed for company growth.

Now, after reading about the benefits of API platforms and being motivated by the idea of integration, you are ready to connect apps using one platform to effortlessly automate business processes!

The next task is to pick up the vendor who provides the platform meeting your needs.

Apigee API Management

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Overview

The cross-cloud API platform providing control and visibility into the APIs that connect applications and data across the enterprise and across clouds. Quickly builds and delivers modern applications. Flexible in scaling and optimizing costs. Takes better decisions through analytics.

Features

Apigee by Google Cloud offers many cloud-centric scalability benefits and API management toolsets. The key selling point for Apigee is to generate analytics. Apigee proposes a broad line of analytics from API traffic visualization to machine-learning algorithms used in detecting issues within the codebase and other such anomalies. The API data could also be delivered into Google BigQuery via a custom endpoint.

Pricing

$500/month for teams, $2,500/month for businesses. More information.

Kong Open-Source API Management

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Overview

Secures, manages & extends your APIs and microservices. Provides the open-source API Gateway and Microservices Management Layer delivering high performance and reliability.

Features

Kong takes an open-source approach to API management. The huge advantage of Kong is working equally great with containerized systems as well as with cloud solutions. This creates a great choice for providers using proprietary APIs or APIs that are distributed over multiple data centers and systems. More information.

Pricing

Opensource edition is free. Company pricing is being provided by vendor’s request. For more details, contact Kong company.

3scale API Management Platform

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Overview

3scale is the API infrastructure that provides simple management of your APIs for internal or external users. You may share, secure, distribute, control, and monetize APIs with the API platform created for performance, customer control, time-to-value, and growth.

Features

3scale provided by Red Hat is designed for performance and control. Extensive control paired with scalability defines the value proposition that 3scale notes in its own official marketing materials as delivering “excellent time-to-value”. The system is placed on a distributed cloud-hosted layer ensuring superior scalability when compared to more traditional platforms.

Pricing

$750/month for pro; companies need to contact Red Hat.

Broadcom API Management

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Overview

Secure APIs with an API Gateway.

Features

Connects systems and applies consistent security and governance to your APIs. Layer7 API Gateway is an extensible, scalable, and high-performing gateway for connecting your sensitive data and applications across any combination of clouds, containers or on-premises environments. Layer7 API Gateway is offered as a standalone solution or as part of Layer7 API Management.

Pricing

Depends on your region, please visit How to buy page for more details.

Young App API Management

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Overview

Low-code API Management platform for workflow automation. Proposes cloud (Cloud Edition) and opensource (Community Edition) versions.

Features

YAP provides the effective mechanisms to sync all data and configure secure workflows enabling essential base for flexibility and growth:

  • AI connectors integration

  • API and process flow management

  • Integration with multiple apps

  • Optical character recognition

  • Resilient workflows

  • Customizable dashboard

  • User-friendly pipeline builder for integration processes

Pricing

Depends on the platform access subscription and personalized support based on your needs: Standard ($540/month), Professional ($2170/month), Company($7590/month); consulting ($976/day). For more details, visit the pricing page.

IBM API Connect

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Overview

The IBM Cloud is the cloud for advanced business.

Features

A recognized solution is IBM API Connect. IBM has a detailed history in the computing industry being highly experienced with enterprise-level support and tooling. IBM Cloud is a great option for any enterprise solution.

Pricing

Enterprise: $100/100K API calls. Enterprise 25 M: $40/100K API calls thereafter. More information.

Dell Boomi

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Overview

Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service. No hardware or software to manage. Automatic upgrades. Secure and scalable. Builds, deploys, and manages integrations with remarkable ease. Creates, publishes, and manages APIs throughout their lifecycle. Monitors your trading partner network and transactions. Aligns and improves data across all your applications.

Features

Like IBM, Dell is well-known in the company world. For many reasons the IBM Cloud offering is attractive to enterprise developers. Dell Boomi proposes an equally attractive toolset for integration.

Pricing

The monthly plan starts at $549/month.

Oracle API Manager

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Overview

Creates, publishes and manages APIs. Oracle API Manager facilitates creating APIs that expose the functionality of backend systems and services. These APIs are published for use by application developers and are managed and monitored at runtime.

Features

Rounding out the more traditional enterprise offerings in this industry is Oracle. Oracle is famous for its variety of network and operational systems, and as expected, their API Manager is likewise designed for ardent and full-featured support of intricate back-end systems. Oracle also offers support for smaller APIs and seems keen on delivering scalability at almost any level.

Pricing

Depends on the platform. For more details, visit Oracle pricing page.

MuleSoft API Management Platform

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Overview

In a few simple steps, API Manager enables you to manage users, monitor, and analyze traffic, promote, and secure APIs with ordered policies. Provides the API management for every connection made to backend services and data sources with the Mule runtime engine, a single runtime deployable as an integration engine and an API gateway. Wherever your APIs are hosted and whatever technologies they run on, API Manager lets you keep tabs on the APIs in your application network from one place.

Features

Like other platforms on this list, MuleSoft is particularly concerned to provide an API management platform focused on security. It ensures this by offering both OAuth and SAML implementations and the utilization of runtime custom policies, creating unparalleled control for a proxy-based system. API Manager is relatively agnostic in terms of what it supports — actually, it would be a challenge to find something that MuleSoft’s solution does not support.

Pricing

Contact Mulesoft.

Azure API Management

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Overview

Using Azure API Management as a turnkey solution for publishing APIs to external and internal customers. Quickly develops well-structured and modern API gateways for existing back-end services hosted anywhere, secures and protects them from abuse and overuse, and gets insights into usage and health. Additionally, automates and scales onboarding developers to help get your API program functioning.

Features

Azure API Management offers multiple functions, and if that were the only element of their feature set, it would be difficult to differentiate it from others on this list. Microsoft Azure is a fully-featured cloud computing platform, and as such, the API Management solution offered from Azure itself offers the “turnkey solution” — the quick time to market, backed by one of the most powerful cloud computing platforms in the world, could make Azure API Management truly a great choice.

Pricing

Enterprise $100 per 100K API calls, $40 per 100K calls thereafter (and additional pricing plans).

References

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