Microsoft Azure API Management (APIM) is a PaaS service that integrates your APIs and serves as a secure entry point to your data. While you might not think directly of Analytics & AI use cases when thinking about API Management, APIM can truly accelerate your Analytics & AI API use case. Let us clarify below.
What does Azure API Management do?
Azure API Management is a core component in Azure. It's a resource typically deployed in the 'Hub' where you can bundle all your APIs & - all centralized - expose, secure & manage them. API Management allows you to:
- Expose your data securely outside of Azure to users and systems
- Abstract your diverse and complex applications and architecture behind a single component/facade
- Accelerate development of APIs
- Scale APIs on demand
Why do I need Azure API Management?
APIM offers Security for your API
APIM allows for secure Authentication and Authorization using OAuth 2.0 with different scopes. Virtual network integration is available as well within the Developer and Premium pricing tier. One can restrict or whitelist IP addresses or ranges, enforce connection through certificates and JWT tokens, allow communication strictly through secure protocols and ciphers, and limit the number of calls of users to prevent unwanted bottlenecks. Moreover, APIM decouples the complexity of the applications and the architecture running in the background from the end-user. Finally, all inputs and headers can be validated. Attacks such as DDOS are detected and blocked to ensure high responsiveness.
APIM accelerates development
One of the great added values of APIM as a PaaS is in its acceleration of development. It allows your organization to create products out of the APIs. It supports integrating APIs of diverse types (REST, WSDL, WADL, OpenAPI, GraphQL, WebSocket, Azure compute components such as Function Apps, Logic Apps), which can be tested, versioned and deployed using CICD in different environments. There is a plethora of useful frontend, inbound, backend and outbound processing and policies which the developers can use to monitor, trace, troubleshoot and get alerted for various scenarios. On top of that, the automatically generated and customizable website facilitates a great end-user experience.
APIM guarantees performance
APIM supports global replication and calls made to APIM instances in different regions. Depending on the load, the resources can be scaled out either automatically or on demand. When there are many calls, gateways can load balance the calls, optimize the traffic and allow for caching of requests and results to reduce latency.
How can Azure API Management add value for Analytics?
As a Data Engineer or ML Engineer you might be deploying your insights/data product as an API. However, this API needs authentication, scalability, documentation, etc. Azure API Management is the resource to give your API the right support.
Some examples of use cases:
- Creating a reporting API for external use on your DWH data
- Passing on the likelihood to churn of a customer "live" to Salesforce or Dynamics via an Data Science Insights API
- Creating a master data API for downstream applications, such as CRM, to use master data on customers/products/assets
- Triggering refreshing of data or execution of certain scripts with fine-grained roles and authorization
Azure API Management will save you a lot of development time, serve as a principal place to manage your APIs in a secure way and provide means to share your data securely with millions of users and systems. You can use data from various sources, APIs of any kind and transparently develop and create products out of your data. In addition, you can allow execution of scripts with API calls that allows for users to make requests for predictions to help them in smart decision-making.
We invite you to read the following insight to get familiar with creating APIs in Azure using Azure Functions and Azure API Management.
element61 has the knowledge and expertise to help you with design, implementation, and maintenance on Azure API Management. Contact us to learn more on how we can help you.