Originally published by New Context.
Have you ever sat and just stared at the clouds as they slowly traversed the skyline? It can be a spectacular show, as sometimes the clouds seem to take on the form or shape of familiar things, from unicorns to…rows of endless servers?
We jest, but cloud computing, which includes accessibility to an almost endless number of servers and computing resources over the web, is rapidly becoming the de facto backbone of the internet for enterprises and service organizations. And these services are made available through applications that may be resident on your systems, the user’s device, or a third party location—all of which may be using different API management tools. Let’s first define API management integration and take a look at various levels of service. Then we can explore how to determine the best integration solutions based on your current operations and future needs.
What is API Management Integration?
Whether or not the management of APIs is important for cloud computing today is moot. Not only is it important, but if you do not employ API management best practices, your business could suffer from operational delays due to double data entry, data silos preventing users from accessing valuable information, and general inefficiency. To prevent these usability killers, it is essential that you utilize the best API management tools—and there is no shortage of options from which to make your selection.
The ability to seamlessly provide and access services and data with users and other businesses requires API integration. However, this is not to be confused with API management integration, as they are not explicitly the same thing. Definitions may be helpful here to highlight this point:
- API integration is the connection of software that exists at various locations through associated APIs.
- API management integration is a more complex API integration solution, as it provides for building and making APIs accessible, ensuring compatibility by version control, security, and support.
API integration is one of the capabilities that falls under API management. However, there are various levels of integration that should be integral in choosing your API management tool. Let’s take a look at the available options.
What are the Different Levels of Integration Service?
The importance of API integration necessitates that you carefully consider what level of integration is best for your enterprise or organization. Unfortunately, this means trying to untangle the meaning of a few of those “as a service” acronyms. Don’t worry—this slight torture now may allow you to avoid much more severe pain later. Again, clarity is best achieved with a few definitions:
It is worth noting that IaaS is a part of PaaS, which in turn is a part of SaaS. The integration of most API management tools can be described as belonging to one of the above service types. For some enterprises and organizations a more robust solution may be needed, such as an iPaaS:
As evidenced by the list above, there are several options for API integration. The key is choosing the one that best suits your particular needs.
How to Optimize Your API Integration
The ability to integrate APIs from various sources is mandatory for taking advantage of cloud computing. And the level of service you choose affects your ability to continue to capitalize on previously developed legacy applications and how easily you can scale up and grow your services. When choosing an API management integration solution, having a defined set of criteria, such as the one below, can be a great asset.
Attributes for Choosing the Best API Management Integration Solution
- Am I able to use legacy applications?
- Does this option integrate well with current cloud service(s)?
- Is this solution scalable?
- Is this solution and/or provider stable (i.e. will it be around 5, 10, 20 years from now)?
- Do I need to add local resources?
- Do I have or need to acquire staff and expertise?
- Does this solution meet my security requirements?
- Does this solution fulfill regulatory compliance obligations?
Asking the above questions should form the foundation of your selection process for an API management integration service. Depending on your organization’s cloud architecture, size, and future projections an API management tool may suffice or you may require a more comprehensive solution such as iPaaS. In either case, the complexity of identifying and protecting against cloud security vulnerabilities as well as optimizing your cloud presence may make it advantageous for you to seek and utilize expert digital transformation consulting.