We recently launched Varnish API Engine version 2.0, and to gain a better understanding of the API management landscape, we tapped into the “wisdom of the crowd”, surveying 96 Varnish Summit participants. We asked how their businesses are using and managing APIs and how well they feel their current API-management solutions to be working.
The results support some of our main suppositions, such as performance being a blind spot in the industry and most companies/people being aware that performance may be a significant stumbling block but not being entirely sure how to manage it or how big of a problem this might be. In that sense, the results were, despite confirming our hypotheses, also somewhat surprising.
The performance blind spot
Given the proliferation of APIs popping up everywhere and access growing all the time, it would seem that most of those surveyed (as well as the wider market as a whole) would be more acutely attuned to the particular challenges, issues and peccadilloes of API management. Perhaps most importantly of all, it seems logical that these companies would be more actively engaged in finding solutions to ensure the future health and successful growth of their APIs and API strategies.
Our survey results found that most people (46 percent), while knowing their API management solution will struggle with capacity-on-demand, don’t have a clear idea by how much. Many have no insight at all into how well their API management solution can perform, i.e., how many calls per second it can handle. Fifty percent (yes, a full 50 percent!) responded that they did not know the number of API calls their solution could handle. And 31 percent of respondents did not have insight into whether their API management solution would struggle with API call volumes.
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”
Whether or not a company anticipates seeing a major spike in API traffic volumes, the trend is moving upwards for everyone. The evolution of apps, mobile and the Internet of Things has seen to it that you don’t need to be an analyst with reams of data to predict that APIs are everywhere and woven into just about everything. Our survey confirms this trend, revealing that almost 45 percent of respondents see coming growth of API traffic volumes in the 10 to 30 percent range, while a small number of survey respondents (close to six percent) see an increase of between 80 and 200 percent.
API management solutions: Managed care
A good 74 percent of respondents told us that they built their own API management solution to handle their APIs and API traffic. While this could indicate that there aren’t enough API management solutions on the market at all, it could also indicate that what is available is not up to the task of handling predicted traffic volumes and does not meet the needs of the wider market. If nearly three-quarters of those surveyed opted for DIY solutions, it indicates that on some level, API management solutions that exist today are either inadequate, too expensive or that there are simply not enough solutions that address key concerns (such as performance) for the companies who need API management.
Looking at these results, it is important to understand what features are most important in an API management solution. Assuming we take performance as a given, other key must-haves identified by respondents were: security, real-time reporting and throttling.
Understanding what features are important in real-world, real-time API management is key to developing tools and solutions that will keep development moving forward, and ultimately save everyone from a lot of headaches in the future, as APIs continue to... go forth and multiply.
You can read more detailed survey results in this press release.
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