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Understanding APIs
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What is an API gateway and how is APIContext different?

An API gateway allows API providers to manage and control their APIs reliably and at scale. It manages access, policy and traffic controls, and handles run-time activities including routing and authentication.

A gateway typically provides functionality across five broad areas:

  • access control
  • cloud-native principles
  • policy definition
  • reporting analytics
  • traffic management

Of these areas, reporting analytics supports passive API monitoring. Reporting analytics provides information about the consumption of APIs, HTTP errors and warnings generated by APIs, and detects API behavior patterns, including error patterns, that can be used to optimize API performance. Traffic management functionality can also used to measure and control load on a per API and per user basis.

Common API Gateways

Doesn’t an API Gateway provide monitoring?

Though a gateway does provide passive monitoring tools, it does not generally provide active monitoring tools.

Active monitoring of APIs is necessary to understand how APIs are performing to expectation from the end user perspective in terms of availability, latency and content of returned payload, and meeting specified Service Level Objectives. Active monitoring can also provide an API heartbeat that indicates whether an API is operating properly at a particular time.

APIContext is the state of the art intelligent active API monitoring solution. It is the perfect complement to an API gateway as a part of a comprehensive API management system.

Our system lets you easily create test calls that periodically exercise API endpoints by making synthetic transactions from cloud locations. It provides a wizard for seamlessly handling a wide variety of authentication scenarios, including OAuth2.

Workflows allow business logic to be tested by making a series of back-to-back calls in which parameters extracted from the output of earlier calls are used as part of the input to later ones. User-defined conditions associated with the results of APIContext test calls such as the HTTP response code or the size of the returned payload can be used to trigger webhooks and alerts than can be reported to higher level management systems.

APIContext exposes its own API that allows it to integrated directly with other systems. We use proprietary patent-pending machine learning technology that blends together different API performance metrics and leverages its unique dataset of historical API test call records. We call this an Insights CASC score for each API, a credit rating-like score that lets you see at a glance the quality of an API compared to any other and whether the quality is getting better or worse.

If you are an API gateway user, we at APIContext would be delighted to discuss how APIContext can be integrated with your existing systems to provide the active API monitoring functionality needed to properly manage your APIs. and see what your existing gateway might be missing.

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