5 ways to monitor the performance of your APIs

It’s essential to be aware of any issues with your APIs before anyone else does. This is where API monitoring comes in.

What is API monitoring?

API monitoring is the automated process of observing the behaviour of running HTTP APIs in different environments and notifying engineering teams as soon as the monitoring system identifies an abnormality in the API.

Types of API monitoring include:

  • Availability
  • Performance
  • Functional correctness

How does API monitoring work?

Here are five ways to effectively monitor the performance of your APIs. 

1. Traffic management

Traffic management helps organisations keep their services available while preventing denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. This requirement may require restrictions on accessing APIs, such as geographical location. Organisations may also charge for their services based on request frequency, execution time or data. An API monitor allows them to implement these restrictions and configure settings from a central API monitoring dashboard.

Tyk’s API lifecycle management solution allows you to shape traffic based on criteria such as API rate limits, size limits, access control quotas, and policies. It also converts traffic between types such as GraphQL, representational state transfer (REST), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and Extensible Markup Language (XML). Our platform works around you, as it isn’t dependent on a particular set of application services and stacks.

Tyk puts everything you need to shape traffic at your fingertips, making APIs more effective in delivering desired results, including monetisation. We can also take care of legacy applications by shaping traffic to provide an effective, consistent facade. You can get the results you want with a few clicks, allowing you to combine your legacy endpoints into GraphQL or transform SOAP services to REST.

2. Security and governance

The risk of malicious actors exploiting vulnerabilities increases as organisations open their networks to more outside connections. API users assume the risk of the APIs they use and those of any APIs that call them. Monitoring APIs includes authenticating API calls and identifying anomalies that could indicate a security breach in real time. 

Secure APIs are essential for building flexible, scalable operations with multiple teams across multiple geographic regions. Tyk provides the capabilities needed to help users focus on executing business logic rather than implementing it. We ensure that your APIs are part of a security strategy that enables you to achieve your goals.

Governance is also part of API security, which includes policies, practices, regulations, and standards. Our platform ensures that users can do the right things better, allowing them to focus on the rapid development of APIs that will help them scale operations for their organisation. We also simplify governance without the need to re-architect the stack.

Facilitating the management of omnichannel experiences requires an API management platform like Tyk that handles multiple clouds, regions, and architectural styles without adding more systems to the stack. Our platform is also highly flexible, helping organisations change their IT operations quickly. This often includes changes in components, compliance requirements, and staff. A comprehensive, dynamic platform also supports the API-first approach needed to maintain an organisation’s capabilities through these changes.

When done correctly, a governance strategy that gets the most out of an organisation’s APIs can be the driving factor in a business’s success. It can provide the perfect foundation for building this success based on scalability, security, and stability.

3. Auditing

API monitoring is essential for preventing attacks against an organisation’s information systems. An organised, repeatable process is also needed to troubleshoot problems, which requires a server to log audit data. This data is a valuable resource in the event of an incident, as is an easy-to-use API monitoring dashboard. Audit trails are also helpful in deprecating obsolete APIs.

Enterprises with audit concerns can use Tyk solutions to delegate autonomy and access privileges to team members and other stakeholders while retaining centralised control over their systems. In addition, Tyk auditing solutions can ensure that APIs comply with data-sovereignty requirements for a particular jurisdiction. Whether they’re governed by the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act in the US, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) or Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK. 

Our platform easily enables local transactions while deploying centralised control.

Tyk solutions also integrate into existing continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) processes, as well as single sign-on (SSO) and role-based access control (RBAC). Auditing features of Tyk solutions also include internal documentation and developer portals that allow team members to enforce data governance standards.

Tyk’s Open Policy Agent provides fine-grained control over policy deployment at the API, key and user levels. It also allows system users to enforce policy with our API Gateway with granular operations based on SSO and RBAC. Our API monitoring tool will enable organisations to fulfil their auditing requirements regardless of their infrastructure’s complexity. All Tyk solutions are ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certified, which is required for organisations that must comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations.

4. Gateway

An API gateway receives all API requests from clients, which it directs to the appropriate microservice based on the requested routing and composition. This process often requires the gateway to contact multiple microservices and accumulate responses. Gateways also translate between internal and web-based protocols. 

Typical uses of an API gateway include providing mobile users access to web services.

The Tyk Open Source API Gateway provides users with performance monitoring and complete control over their API requests and response without locking out any of the API’s features. Its open-source design allows users to achieve their gateway goals, whether their system architecture is based on GraphQL, Kubernetes, REST or Legacy systems. 

Tyk’s API Gateway quickly scales horizontally and vertically by handling tens of thousands of requests per second while introducing minimal latency. Users can write their pluggable middleware that sends requests to multiple levels, making it easy to extend and integrate the gateway as needed. Our gateway doesn’t require a black box or third-party software, only open-source code. It can be deployed anywhere to automate and scale microservices with a lightweight footprint rather than a large monolith.

5. Lifecycle management

An API’s lifecycle comprises broadly chronological stages, meaning one phase completes before the next one begins. However, an API-first approach allows teams to work on lifecycle phases in parallel. For example, a development team can build APIs, while a DevOps team secures an API gateway. These phases are conducted in stages, but there can still be considerable overlap.

Tyk’s API experience platform efficiently manages all phases of the API lifecycle, empowering developers, product teams and platform teams alike to improve API performance securely. Tyk flexes, scales, and transforms an organisation’s business operations, delivering a standout API experience regardless of the size of that organisation’s IT footprint or the complexity of its requirements. Users can also use the OpenAPI specification to customise Tyk’s solution for specific business needs, such as modernising legacy APIs.

Tyk’s central control plane allows users to manage and analyse API lifecycles, whether a single API or multiple gateways in different data centres. Detailed analytics of API lifecycles can help organisations make business decisions regarding the consumption of APIs. Our solution also allows users to deploy and develop APIs through dynamic versioning, to run multiple versions concurrently. 

Why is monitoring important?

API monitoring is essential to understanding the health and performance of APIs. By implementing comprehensive API uptime monitoring and API performance monitoring, organisations can ensure their products remain reliable and performant. They can identify and respond to any issues swiftly and optimise performance and product evolution based on how consumers are using the API.

Ensuring quality of service (QoS)

Using API real-time monitoring to check APIs are performing as they should is key to providing a high-quality service. A proactive monitoring strategy means that any slow-down in performance can quickly be identified and addressed. 

Risk mitigation

API management monitoring helps organisations reduce their risk. From buggy updates that impact performance to the reputational damage associated with frequent slowdowns, there’s plenty of risk when it comes to providing API products. Businesses can head off much of that risk by catching issues early through API monitoring. 

Cost savings

The earlier an organisation identifies a problem, the faster it can fix that problem. Issues that are left to fester end up costing far more when it comes to unpicking and resolving them. A decent API monitoring service can therefore help keep costs to a minimum.  

Brand reputation

No brand wants to be known for providing slow, unreliable or inconsistent APIs. Following API monitoring best practices can help avoid this happening. 

Monitoring methodologies

Organisations can opt for either synthetic monitoring or real user monitoring (RUM) for monitoring API performance. For more comprehensive oversight, they can use both. 

Synthetic monitoring

Synthetic monitoring simulates the user journey, using scripts to play out a range of scenarios and understand what is likely to happen based on expected user behaviour patterns. A range of variables can be used to simulate different scenarios for more comprehensive insights. The results can then be analysed through an organisation’s API monitoring dashboard or a suitable tool for API monitoring – Datadog, for example. 

Real user monitoring (RUM)

As the name implies, RUM is based on real usage of the API. Real users’ experiences are analysed in detail to examine each element of the user journey and identify any issues in real-time. The benefit is that RUM encompasses the monitoring of all scenarios, rather than only those imagined, as is the case with synthetic monitoring. 

Want to learn more about API monitoring with Tyk’s API lifecycle management solution? Watch this short demo.

If you’d like to monitor the performance of your APIs in all five ways at once, try Tyk.
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Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about API monitoring with Tyk’s API lifecycle management solution. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be happy to answer any questions and walk you through the features.