Tony Harris - April 27, 2020
Number five on a white board on a building

We’re reviewing the 5 Best API Management Solutions. APIs are the glue that binds the digital world together. Internal APIs allow data to flow elegantly through your tech stack, while external APIs allow developers to build applications that are secure and reliable on top of third-party services.

APIs are generally easy to use, as long as they are well-written and equally well documented. In practice, that’s not always the case, especially when the average enterprise uses 1,200 cloud apps, according to figures published in Forbes. Unless you are well-organized, your API library can quickly become a labyrinthine mess that confuses both your team and any third-party developers.

That’s why there’s been a boom in the field of API management solutions. You’ll find a range of options out there, including hosted, on-premise and hybrid options, and they can vary in complexity from plug’n’play to experts-only. In this piece, you’ll learn about five of the best options on the market, including DreamFactory.

After you’ve read this piece, why not try out DreamFactory on a 14-day trial?

  1. IBM API Connect
  2. Apigee
  3. 3Scale
  4. WSO2 API Manager
  5. DreamFactory

1.     IBM API Connect

IBM’s API Connect was the most widely used API management service in the world in 2018, and still has a healthy market share today. API Connect is one element of the overall IBM Cloud strategy, which is heavily focused on larger enterprises. IBM DataPower Gateway offers a great deal of security for transactions on this platform.

What makes it stand out?

IBM’s Developer portal is a popular and well-known tool for manual API development. Many API developers will have experience working with this tool and there’s a substantial amount of community support available. 

How much does it cost?

IBM offers a free Lite plan that can handle up to 50,000 calls per month, although this comes with limited support. Full-support Enterprise plans are available on a pay-as-you-go basis or on a flat monthly subscription.

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2.     Apigee

Apigee became a major player in the API management space in 2016, when they were acquired by Google. With the resources of the search giant behind them, the Apigee team has built a popular cross-cloud API management solution.

What makes it stand out?

As you might expect, Apigee offers outstanding integration with Google Cloud. That includes BigQuery, Google’s data warehouse solution, which allows users to powerful analytics on all aspects of app performance. Apigee also offers multi-cloud support, so you’re not just limited to Google, and there are some great tools for building applications.

How much does it cost?

You can try out Apigee for free on their Evaluation tier. To access one of their higher tiers – Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus – you’ll need to contact the sales team for a quote.

3.     3Scale

What is it?

Red Hat’s entry into to the API management game is 3Scale, an open-source, hybrid solution. It includes analytics and monetization tools, as well as strong encryption and authentication features.

What makes it stand out?

Because 3Scale is owned by Red Hat, it integrates easily with Red Hat Linux, Fuse, Open Shift and AMQ. If you are working with Red Hat products, you’ll be familiar with the basics and you’ll find a vibrant Linux developer community that’s ready to offer support and advice.

How much does it cost?

The main 3Scale package is offered at a flat price of $750 per month, which allows up to 500,000 calls per month. Their enterprise tier offers unlimited access, with prices available on request.

Check out the DreamFactory community and join the conversation today.

4.     WSO2 API Manager

WSO2 is a fully open source solution that’s ready to download and deploy as a cloud, on-premise or hybrid API manager. Using WSO2 can be a little daunting for the uninitiated, although it fully supports enterprise use.

What makes it stand out?

WSO2 is great for developers that want to get under the hood of their API management service and configure it to their own requirements. It uses an intuitive reference architecture to help guide your development efforts.

How much does it cost?

If you deploy via WSO2’s app cloud, you can pick from three plans, including Micro ($550 per month, 20 million calls), Standard ($2000 per month, 100 million calls), and Custom (by arrangement with the sales team. Support for WSO2 API Manager is available as a paid service.

5.     DreamFactory

DreamFactory is an open-source API management platform that can be deployed on the cloud or on-premise. It offers powerful analytics, a massive range of integration options, and rock-solid security.

What makes it stand out?

DreamFactory’s key feature is full REST API Automation, which allows you to deploy new APIs without writing a single line of code. Simply integrate any database – SQL or NoSQL – and DreamFactory creates a flexible and fully documented REST API that’s ready to use right away. 

How much does it cost?

DreamFactory offers a hosted free trial for 14-days, after which you can choose from three service tier. Professional and Enterprise tiers are available hosted or on-premise, with prices available from the sales team. Chat today for a quote.

Conclusion: Best API Management Solutions

These are five of the best solutions for the issue of API management, but there are dozens of other options on the market. Each one is suited to different use cases, and may or may not meet your needs.

To find the right solution, you need to ask some vital questions, such as:

·        How many calls per month do we expect?

·        Will we be scaling up in the near future?

·        Are we hosting on-premise, on the cloud, or both?

·        What level of API development proficiency do we have on the team?

·        What kind of support will we need to help maintain our API library?

·        What kind of integrations do we require now? What about in the future?

·        How are we managing risk and compliance issues?

·        Is our current API documentation process working?

These questions will help you identify the solution that best suits your needs, both now and in the future.

Of the solutions listed above, DreamFactory is perhaps the best all-rounder. With DreamFactory, you can instantly create functional, documented APIs for any data source, while the broad range of integrations allows you to work with almost any data source or authentication service. Try DreamFactory for free today.