Amazon API Gateway

July 15, 2015 | By Mark O'Neill, VP Innovation, Axway

Last Thursday, July 9, Amazon announced their new AWS API Gateway. The Amazon API Gateway is a cloud-based service that is designed 'to simplify creation and management of APIs', particularly APIs in front of Amazon services such as AWS Lambda.

As an established API Gateway vendor, we welcome Amazon's new entry in the market. It wasn't long ago that people would ask why API Gateways are even needed; nobody is asking that question now. In the market, Amazon's API Gateway has a particular role to play when bridging APIs into Amazon infrastructure. As such, it will be useful for organizations which have deployed services on Amazon, and wish to "API-ize" them.

However, an full-featured API Gateway is often used to expose on-premises infrastructure as APIs, with features like authentication against Microsoft Active Directory, plus fine-grained authorization and throttling. The Amazon API Gateway lacks this capability, as noted by Neil Mansilla of Runscope:

Neil_Mansilla_Twitter

Matt Biehl, on his API University blog, has also noted the lack of another common enterprise feature: OAuth support: "What is lacking from my perspective is the missing support for OAuth. The Amazon API Gateway does not offer a standard OAuth Provider." 

But the picture is not all negative. The Amazon API Gateway can be augmented by using an enterprise API Gateway like the Axway API Gateway, in order to provide:

- Integration with identity infrastructure such as SiteMinder, Oracle Access Manager, and Microsoft Active Directory
- Protocol bridging to on-premises systems like TIBCO, SAP, and databases
- Orchestration of APIs (sometimes called "Lightweight ESB" functionality)
- Operational intelligence and business analytics

It is also noteworthy that the Amazon API Gateway isn't being positioned as a full API Management solution, but just as an API Gateway for Amazon. API Gateways is often deployed as part of an overall API Management solution, including not only an API Gateway but a Developer Portal also. Amazon is not providing a Developer Portal, which is a significant limitation.

Overall, the new Amazon API Gateway is excellent validation of the API Gateway category. Although it is not an enterprise product, it does have part to play, by acting as a Gateway into backend services running on AWS infrastructure, such as EC2 or RDS. For enterprise requirements, such linking to on-premises infrastructure, orchestration, or fine-grained policies, an enterprise API Gateway such as the Axway API Gateway is the perfect complement to it. 

TOPICS: API Management

Mark O'Neill

VP Innovation, Axway



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