How to Win with APIs – Part 4

Managing APIs With an Integration Platform as a Service

The move to the cloud has presented companies with an opportunity to improve their processes, workflows, and data exchange within their four walls, as well as with their external business community. With the combination of a well thought–out API management strategy and integration platform as a service (iPaaS) utilization in place, companies can use this opportunity to pave the road for business success and competitive advantage. In previous posts in this series, I discussed API strategy, data APIs, and the API market shift. In this post, I’ll cover application integration and the main building blocks that Informatica’s iPaaS offers that enable you to optimize the way you run your business.

Addressing Modern Application Challenges in a Multi-App Environment

Cloud applications tend to walk a fine line around accessing internal data—API limits, complex underlying data structures, and the lack of standard interaction models result in massive differences in how to integrate new applications with existing business processes. Each app tends to have the data that it requires. However, those requirements can overlap with others, with no real-time data synchronization. Another challenge is figuring out how to make sure applications work together effectively.

Informatica’s integration platform addresses the challenges mentioned above with the following capabilities:

  1. Ensure data consistency with real-time data integration: Integrate API-based applications in real time via APIs and messaging
  2. Automate multistep processes: Automate applications, business processes, and guided workflows
  3. Create composite service and data APIs exposed as REST, SOAP, or OData services: Publish, manage, and obtain visibility into and control of the use of APIs

Simplified API Development

With Informatica iPaaS, data APIs can be developed not only by software developers, but also by the members of your data and application teams. Using Cloud Application Integration, you can easily develop APIs in a graphical designer using a simple point-and-click interface. This is game-changing for organizations that can no longer depend on the availability of consultants and overloaded IT teams.

Cloud Application Integration Designer – Item order process example

Advanced Access to Data and AI-Based Metadata Discovery

Through the power of APIs, Informatica provides customers with broad data access and manipulation that no other vendor can match. Orchestrate, ingest, synchronize, replicate, transform, and lift and shift any data, residing anywhere—be it in the cloud or on-premises, inside or outside your firewall.

Using the AI/machine learning-powered CLAIRE™ engine, you can automatically discover and describe your data for usage in various integration scenarios. CLAIRE-based metadata discovery gives your teams the intelligence that they need to understand and capture the value of your data.

Auto-Publishing and API Discovery

When using third-party API management (APIM) external to your integration platform, you need some mechanism for integration or the ability to export your APIs to the APIM. Often, this requires additional steps for publishing APIs.

With Informatica iPaaS, the APIs you define are self-descriptive using industry standards like REST Swagger (OpenAPI) and SOAP/WSDL. The Informatica API Manager is embedded within the iPaaS. As such, the APIs you publish are automatically registered with API gateway services, which makes them easy for you to manage and easy for others to discover and access. One click is all you need to manage, expose these APIs, and start monitoring usage by your applications and partners.

Informatica API Manager Registry, listing available iPaaS services.

Speed and Minimal Latency

Since the Informatica APIM is imbedded in the iPaaS, it is physically located close to the underlying services that it proxies. The result is minimal API proxying latency and maximum speed.

Secured Data APIs and Policy Enforcement

Your data triggers backend processing, usually critical for business success. As such, data APIs require governance, with authentication and authorization mechanisms in place. Simple ones include username-password (Basic) or JSON Web Token (JWT)-based, but also the OAuth 2.0 market standard—all supported by the Informatica APIM. You can also specify IPs for blacklisting or whitelisting, to limit access to APIs. You can throttle API consumption with the rate limiting policy and more.

Manage Centrally and Run Everywhere With the Hybrid API Gateway

Since Informatica API Manager is part of the iPaaS, it requires no separate or additional setup or authentication. It is accessible via the iPaaS management console with the same look and feel as other services. The API Gateway, the runtime engine that proxies all APIs, resides in the cloud. We also plan to announce soon a Microgateway that can run within your network. Running your API Gateway in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment (via the Hybrid API Gateway) gives you the flexibility to support both internal and external facing or third-party APIs.

API Portal

API Portal is where your API consumers log onto and discover APIs that are available for them to use. They can read the API documentation, learn about the API signature, download SDKs, test APIs, and perform other activities. The Portal is also a service in the iPaaS, just like the API Manager. The APIs that are published in the Portal are defined and governed via the API Manager.

API End-to-End Monitoring and Analytics

With third-party APIM systems, you get detailed information on API usage. However, usually it is disconnected from the underlying services, where you probably need other monitoring and analytics tools. When the APIM is in your iPaaS, data is collected from the moment that APIs are called by consumers, through the application integration service and all the way through the subsequent, orchestrated services calls. End-to-end monitoring and analytics give you real, full visibility for your API execution.

Informatica iPaaS Operational Insights for end to end monitoring and analytics

Learn More

This post covers most of the essential capabilities iPaaS introduces to support the running of your mission-critical data APIs. To learn more, check out Informatica API Management and Application Integration.