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October 15, 2019updated 19 Jul 2022 11:09am

Full Life Cycle API Management: The Five Leaders Ranked

APIs are the de facto standard for building and connecting modern applications

By CBR Staff Writer

Google’s Apigee and Salesforce’s Mulesoft have pulled ahead of the pack in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for full API life cycle management – one of the consultancy’s most requested reports, amid a boom in the API economy.

With tens of thousands of public APIs on the web, application programming interfaces, (to give them their full name), are at the heart of modern enterprises’ infrastructure and indeed, growth strategy.

The rise of the cloud (every application deployed on a cloud service uses APIs) has focussed minds even more, and the latest Magic Quadrant iteration confirms that full life cycle API management is a competitive marketplace, with 18 companies featured: from household names like IBM, to open source specialist Kong.

API Life Cycle Management: The “Leaders”

1: Apigee

Google’s Apigee gets top billing in the report. The core Apigee API management platform, Apigee Edge, is available both on-premises and in the cloud. It also offers Apigee Sense — a cloud-only API security tool.

Despite noting it costs more than rivals, Gartner flags its ease of use, support for building broad API ecosystems, and ability to deliver the goods “as a strategic partner for digital transformation, not just as a provider of technology solutions.”

2: Mulesoft

Salesforce’s Mulesoft also ranks highly, with Gartner saying it has “sharpened its focus as a provider of an API platform that enables organizations to create an agility layer of reusable digital assets and services.”

Its combination of API management features and technologies to enable hybrid integration is “attractive to customers who are looking for a full set of hybrid integration platform (HIP) capabilities in a single product” the research house says/

One criticism in the report is that those needing microgateways, support for service mesh and microservices tools say MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is too Java-centric. Mulesoft plans to boost microservices features later in 2019.

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3: Software AG

Gartner describes Software AG’s offering as a “well-integrated application infrastructure portfolio that includes application integration, iPaaS, streaming analytics, IoT and in-memory computing applications.”

See also: Google Rebuffed Again in Epic Java API Battle

A “thorough understanding of the market in terms of API management users’ priorities” also gives it an edge, the company says, flagging limited abilities to support legacy API retirement among its criticisms.

“A new CEO has injected fresh energy into Software AG’s salespeople and marketing execution, and has a deeper focus on API management” it notes, referring to the January 2018 appointment of Sanjay Brahmawar.

4: IBM

In 2018, IBM built a new API gateway service, API Connect, “architected for much higher performance and multicloud scale (which means it can run on the customer’s choice of cloud)” Gartner notes. (IBM completed its acquisition of Red Hat on 9 July 2019, after the cut-off date for the Magic Quadrant in question, and has included both).

It cites “worldwide support capabilities and diversified geographical strategies” as benefits, but warns the offering is “very specific to integration architecture and highly product-based”, saying: “API Connect has yet to provide flexible and business-oriented value-rating features for customers wanting to quantify APIs’ value in terms of more than usage”.

5: Axway 

Axway’s pedigree in the API management sector counts for it and the company “is a diversified vendor with an extensive product line” Gartner notes.

Axway’s AMPLIFY API Management offering is “powerful and feature-rich, but to harness its power customers must surmount a long learning curve and invest in internal resources, unless they use the managed-service option” it concludes.

Also featured in the Magic Quadrant (as “visionaries”) are Kong, Red Hat, Sensedia, WSO2, and Torry Harris.

Read this: Public Cloud API Security Risks: Fact or Fiction?

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