With mobile services in the fray, an ecosystem of publishers are constantly giving rise to data and business processes that are being licensed to consumers. This has resulted in significant investments towards outsourcing API management to providers than can scale the infrastructure to support the growing demands of consumers. Microsoft Azure is not behind in this race, and part of its major May 12, 2014 release announced support for API Management.
In today's post (and future posts as well), we will explore some of the API Management capabilities that Microsoft Azure brings to the table.
Before you read further, note that this like many other features announced in the post is still an early preview release not meant to be used for applications in production.
Azure API Management
Microsoft Azure API Management addresses some key issues concerning sharing of Cloud assets by creating a façade on top them and isolating the developer and publisher personas to control access. It also allows metering by developers to control usage and provide rich analytics on it.
In Azure, APIs are published as Products, containing one or more APIs wrapping the core backend operations.
The visibility to Products are controlled using Groups. There are three built-in groups namely Administrators, Developers and Guests. While administrators are primarily responsible for authoring, developers are consumers of the authored APIs.
Azure API Management also provides a feature called Policies that are used to control the behaviour of APIs. Policies contain a series of instructions that can be executed on the request of an API operation.
APIs can be explored through a developer portal, where developers can read the documentation about API operations and ultimately consume them in their application. In a future blog post, we will look at creating and publishing a Cloud service as API and then consuming it in an application using the developer portal.