The question is: cloud, on-premises or hybrid?

The value of a holistic API management solution is clear, but how to deploy the components can be a dilemma.

When customers look at implementing API management solutions, they often look at them from a holistic viewpoint – seeing how the complete solution addresses the needs of the enterprise.

And frankly, that makes sense. It’s important to look at the entire package and ensure all needs are met.  To do less would almost certainly result in a poor or failed implementation.

However, when it comes to deployment, an additional view of the selected API management solution is warranted.

CA is sponsoring a webinar on March 1 at 9 a.m. PST that discusses the secondary view to consider with API management deployment issues. Read on for a preview of what we’ll discuss. There is still time to register.

A second look

All successful API management solutions today are comprised of an API gateway, some form of management, some form of API development/deployment (preferably through a developer portal), and to make it all a worthwhile endeavor, some form of service/data consumption (likely through a mobile app).

Holistically, one sees an API management solution harmoniously at work.  In reality, you can see that there are really two phases taking place here:

  • Design-time:  making APIs available for consumption by developers to deploy in their apps, as well as the subsequent deployment into their apps
  • Runtime:  actual consumption of the API(s) and enterprise resources


And they raise some interesting questions: where should an enterprise deploy a design-time solution vs a runtime solution?

Design-time concerns

Design-time is where the enterprise introduces and maintains the business relationship with the app developer and provides the tools for the developer to use to consume an API (i.e. documentation, tutorials, samples, code generation). That tool is typically a Developer Portal.  But the question then becomes, where should the portal be deployed – on-premises?  In the cloud?  The answer really depends. Consider this:

  • Deploying on-premises adds some complexity to deployment. A server needs to be stood up, software installed, configured, and, of course, maintained.  These all consume valuable IT resources.  But, it may be the only choice in enterprises that have Secure Zone initiatives that simply close the door on cloud deployment.
  • Many enterprises also have customized their developer portal, which requires direct interaction with portal components. This scenario typically would demand an on-premises solution.  And for enterprises that have many divisions that manage their own APIs, this would be more easily handled in an on-premises deployment.
  • But for many enterprises a SaaS developer portal solution is a no-brainer. It becomes an easy decision when given the option of committing valuable IT resources to an on-premises deployment vs. a SaaS deployment, where there’s reduced or nonexistent CapEx, OpEx is based on actual consumption, and there is a substantially faster time to deployment.


Runtime challenges

Runtime involves an API gateway that is providing API data and services such as data transformation, composition, routing, and traffic control.  It’s also likely providing security, and it’s where important analytical elements of the API lifecycle are taking place, such as health tracking, performance/workflow monitoring, and reporting.

The question again is where to deploy the gateway – on-premises or in the cloud?  And again, the answer is “it depends.”

  • For many enterprises, runtime in the cloud is not a concern, and they realize all the benefits of a cloud-based model (CapEx vs. OpEx, faster time to market, etc.).
  • But for other enterprises, particularly those in regulated industries (but certainly not limited to this), there’s a fear of losing control.  API consumption touches important data and systems at runtime – and these are often mission-critical secure systems.  For those enterprises, an on-premises deployment is the only option.


We invite you to attend our webinar learn more about API management deployment options, and take a brief look at microservices patterns and their impact on API management deployment.  Please make sure you register.

Bill Oakes, CISSP, is director for product marketing for API management at CA Technologies. Bill…


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