10 Best API Management Tools & Platforms 2021

Thanks to the rapid growth of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), we have seen a corresponding rise in API management tools and platforms. These tools help businesses publish and integrate APIs with ease across various cloud services.

Here are ten API management tools that offer benefits for enterprises when it comes to managing their APIs.

What is API Management?

The textbook definition of an API is “a set of functions and procedures allowing the creation of applications that access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service.” Put plainly, an API is a messenger that transmits and delivers your request to the provider you’re making the request to and then returns your response. Think of a waiter (the API) in a restaurant who takes your order and takes it to the kitchen (the provider), where it is prepared and brought to you (the response).

API Management is any solution that helps businesses manage their APIs. APIs are the foundation for delivering digital services to users and ensuring they can access all of your organization’s data or software at any time, anywhere. They also help developers easily create applications with rich user experiences across various devices, including mobile phones and tablets.

What are API Management Tools?

API Management tools help make the process of publishing and integrating APIs more efficient by acting as an intermediary between your business and developers. They allow you to define what consumers can access, set usage policies for each API, track analytics on who is using them most often and how, determine security protocols such as OAuth or IP restrictions, and more.

Some companies offer both API management tools and platforms, while others focus on one or the other. In addition, several third-party solutions are available that help provide an easier means to manage APIs without having to commit resources internally for such development.

Why use an API Management Platform?

Even with good processes in place, manually executing API management is challenging. Below are five compelling reasons to use an API management platform:

  1. Avoid security vulnerabilities: Using a dedicated API management platform reduces the likelihood of security threats and issues. You can also use an API gateway to offer granular access control at various layers in your architecture, such as on developer workspace or user identity level. This allows you to revoke access quickly when necessary.
  2. Increase visibility into APIs: Most products allow you to see how often each API is called and their corresponding response times, which gives insight into where performance improvements need to be made across your infrastructure. Some tools even provide automated monitoring capabilities so that if any part of an application goes offline, developers get notified right away and can fix it before users notice anything is wrong. Also, keep track of new versions and patches for all components used to ensure you are always up-to-date.
  3. Reduce development time: API management platforms help speed the development process by offering pre-built building blocks for everyday use cases such as authorization, authentication, and validation. Developers can also reuse these building blocks across multiple interfaces without writing any custom code, which saves them valuable time that would typically be spent on maintenance tasks like testing or fixing errors.
  4. Easily integrate with other systems: API management products provide an easy way out when it comes to integrating your application/software with new partners’ apps or services in order to deliver even better experiences for end users. If you choose a platform that provides an API marketplace, it will also make your users’ lives easier by providing a central place where they can quickly find and integrate with other apps.
  5. Establish governance for APIs: The best products provide detailed documentation on how to use an API and tools that allow you to monitor usage to ensure everyone is following the same rules. These include throttling, quota management, and rate-limiting, which are great at enforcing policies across various business groups or teams.

Also read: Best SSD Benchmark Tools of 2021

Top API Management Tools

Postman

Postman is the world’s most popular API platform, with over 17 million users and 500,000 organizations worldwide. The tool comes with a flexible, collaborative environment that allows you to design, develop, document, and test your APIs faster. In addition, it helps test out the different endpoints of your web services with ease. Postman is available as a desktop app on MacOSX and Windows and mobile apps (for both iOS and Android).

Main Features and Benefits

  • Reporting: The reporting dashboard allows you to track and manage your API lifecycle. The data is presented in the form of reports on API activities such as creation, collection execution, and test runs. You’ll also get insights into API usage, performance, troubleshooting, and SLA compliance.
  • Role-based access control: The permissions feature allows you to control users’ access for each environment or collection, both in terms of read and write operations. Role-based delegation of tasks is also possible, so you can determine who can manage which APIs.
  • Single sign-on: Postman supports SSO with many platforms, including Salesforce, Office 365, and Google Apps. This feature is available to users free for up to 50 accounts.
  • User groups: This allows you to create user groups and assign permissions to each group. For example, you can limit access based on a user’s role.
  • SCIM support: The product supports SCIM out of the box, allowing users to make changes to their profiles.
  • Token scanning: Postman captures and scans all incoming requests/responses for tokens, secrets, and passwords, so you don’t have to find and validate them manually.
  • Audit logs: The product provides a detailed audit log for all API requests, including metadata such as who created or deleted a collection, which user was involved in the process, and when it happened.
  • Public link governance: Postman allows you to set access levels on links. You can configure them as public, internal, or private based on the user accessing them. The product also supports the versioning of links.
  • Deployment control: The product allows you to restrict the ability to deploy from specific environments, collections, or environments/collections to particular users.

Pricing: Enterprise pricing is $69 per user per month (billed annually).

SAP Integration Suite (formerly SAP Cloud Platform)

The product is an integrated cloud platform that provides a comprehensive solution for building and managing APIs and data and process integration.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • API Portal: An API portal to provide a central entry point that allows developers to discover, use, manage, monitor, publish and analyze the APIs used in their business processes; this is backed by an open marketplace where you can buy and sell APIs.
  • API Gateway: The product provides an API gateway that enables you to connect your existing applications (both legacy and cloud) with other enterprise apps, as well as developers building new services. Authorization and access management are possible through OAuth support; the service also supports rate limiting/throttling for each application or group of users.
  • API Developer: A developer console to help developers understand, monitor, and manage their APIs; this includes support for customizable API metadata management. The product also provides a testing environment that helps test your APIs before you go into production.
  • Data Connectivity and Integration Tools: Data-centric capabilities such as data discovery, transformation (ETL), and data quality, as well as a set of cloud-based capabilities such as Master Data Management (MDM).

Pricing: Estimates are provided upon request. 

Workato

Workato is used by more than 7,000 of the world’s top companies and fastest-growing innovators. This tool is an intelligent automation platform that allows you to integrate various tools with your APIs.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Low-Code Integration Core: A low-code integration platform that allows you to create integrations without writing a single line of code; the tool includes an easy drag and drop interface.
  • Enterprise workflow automation: Workflow automation enables you to create workflows triggered by events and automate processes.
  • Connectivity: The product connects with hundreds of applications like Salesforce, Office 365, and Google Apps.
  • Intelligence: It provides pre-built connectors that help you get started with APIs, as well as an open API to allow developers to create their modules on the platform. You can use this for data enrichment or transformation/combination of data from different sources. Other features include automated testing capabilities, which are provided by integrating open source tools such as Selenium and Jenkins.

Pricing: Estimates are provided upon request. 

Boomi

This is a complete cloud connection platform that allows you to connect any application in the enterprise with APIs or web services from anywhere in the world. The product can integrate data from on-premise apps using SOAP/REST calls; it also supports the integration of APIs from SaaS apps.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Cloud Applications and Databases Support: It provides a single interface for all your enterprise applications, databases, cloud/web services; this includes support for REST-based web services as well as secure file transfers using SFTP or FTPS. The product has a connector browser that allows you to search for data sources, as well as the ability to create custom connectors.
  • Data Transformation Capabilities: The product has an ETL engine that helps you create data transformation maps; this allows the processing of multiple files/data sources at a time. It also provides real-time mapping and preview capabilities and support for error handling during integrations to handle errors gracefully.
  • Pervasive intelligence: The product is built around a pluggable architecture that makes it easier to integrate new data sources; this includes APIs, databases, and cloud applications. It also has an automated testing capability provided through its open-source connector with Jenkins Integration Suite.

Pricing: A 30-day free trial is available.

IBM API Connect

The product is an integration platform built for DevOps, providing a single connector to all your APIs and web services. It also allows you to integrate data from different sources into one central location/database. In addition, the solution provides the ability to create custom connectors based on open standards such as UDDI or RESTful APIs.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Enterprise-grade security: The product has built-in authentication, authorization, and encryption features for all your APIs, allowing you to deploy the solution in production systems. Other features include RESTful API support for private and public cloud applications; it also has built-in support for IBM’s MQ Light messaging protocol.
  • Ease of use: It supports a GUI that can be used to define, monitor, and manage your APIs in real-time. Other features include automated test capabilities provided through open source tools such as Selenium and Jenkins.
  • Cloud Connectors: The product provides built-in connectors for Salesforce, Azure, and AWS; it also has pre-built templates that can be customized to meet your business needs.

Pricing: IBM API Connect offers four pricing tiers with a free trial. 

AWS CloudTrail

This AWS service enables IT to log, track, and retain events related to API calls. It provides real-time logs of all your Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources; this includes configuration changes and user activity that is performed on those resources or an application built using those services. CloudTrail also allows you to monitor the compliance of your cloud resources.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Compliance: This service allows you to monitor the compliance of all your AWS resources; it also enables IT administrators to identify any unauthorized changes made on those resources and alert users when configuration changes are made.
  • Enhanced Cloud Security: It provides logs that can be used for forensics or analysis of security events, thus allowing you to monitor users accessing your cloud resources.
  • Increased Productivity: CloudTrail provides real-time logs that can aid in the troubleshooting and resolution of issues within minutes; this includes resource access and any configuration changes made on those APIs.

Pricing: In addition to a free tier, AWS CloudTrail has” pay for what you use” tier. 

Apigee Edge

The Google product is an API management platform that allows enterprises to build, publish, and monitor APIs. It provides real-time security threat detection capabilities for all your applications; it also enables the creation of personalized developer portals that provide self-service access to developers.

Main Features and Benefits: 

  • Secure Cloud Platforms: The solution supports cloud platforms such as Google Cloud Platform or Amazon Web Services (AWS); it also provides real-time security threat detection capabilities, allowing you to protect your APIs from data breaches and exposure.
  • Developer Experience: The product is built around a developer portal that enables developers to integrate with enterprise applications easily; this includes creating API keys for one-click access.
  • AI-powered API monitoring: It provides automated monitoring capabilities for all your APIs, thus allowing you to gain business insights and increase application resiliency.

Pricing: This tool comes with four pricing tiers, Evaluation, Standard, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus. Pricing information is available on request.

Software AG webMethods

WebMethods is a leading Integration & API Management platform with a wide range of features that allow businesses to develop more innovative digital transformation projects faster. The solution can be implemented in the cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid or multi-cloud setting.

Software AG’s webMethods is a powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use platform for integrating your on-premises applications with SaaS apps, creating APIs, and processing B2B partner transactions. It has consistently been recognized as a leader in integration, API management, and B2B.

Main Features and Benefits: 

  • Control API security: The solution enables you to manage and control your APIs and monitor usage patterns; this includes user authentication and authorization.
  • Monetize your data: It provides a cloud-based API marketplace that allows you to monetize your data and digital assets while also accessing APIs from other providers.
  • Catalog APIs: It enables you to manage and catalog your APIs and monitor their usage patterns.
  • Monitor API consumption: The solution enables you to monitor your APIs and track usage patterns to identify potential improvement opportunities.

Pricing: Contact sales for pricing. 

Nevatech Sentinet

The Nevatech Sentinet API Management Platform enables businesses to rapidly integrate new applications, services, and devices while protecting existing infrastructure. Sentinet is a scalable solution that helps you deliver APIs securely; it also allows developers to build modern RESTful APIs for secure application integration quickly. In addition, the product provides tight security controls throughout the development process with support for over 20 authentication providers.

Main Features and Benefits: 

  • Faster development cycles: The solution allows businesses to rapidly integrate new applications, services, and devices while simultaneously protecting existing infrastructure; this includes the ability for developers to quickly build modern RESTful APIs with Sentinet’s intuitive GUI-based developer portal.
  • Enhanced security controls: The solution provides tight security controls throughout the development process with support for over 20 authentication providers and supports policies and processes, such as access control.
  • Enterprise integration allows you to rapidly integrate new applications while protecting existing infrastructure, thus improving your business agility by enabling developers to build modern RESTful APIs quickly.
  • Supports hybrid cloud deployment: Sentinet will enable businesses to run API Management on-premises or in the cloud while also supporting hybrid implementations.
  • Business Process Automation (BPA): The solution enables you to automate business processes for faster integration and delivery of APIs; it provides an intuitive GUI interface that is easy for developers to learn.

Pricing: The company offers a free trial though pricing information is not published on the website.

MuleSoft Anypoint Platform

MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is an enterprise-grade cloud platform for connecting apps and data across the entire API lifecycle.

The MuleSoft Anypoint Platform includes integrations with thousands of applications via pre-built connectors to SaaS solutions like Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow, Box, and more; it also has built-in integrations with over 70 APIs. In addition, the platform provides secure access to data and services via an open, pluggable architecture that enables broad connectivity to existing systems and cloud services; it is also built on open standards, which allows businesses to connect with any application.

Main Features and Benefits: 

  • Easily connect apps and data: MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is an enterprise-grade cloud platform for connecting applications across the entire API lifecycle.
  • Broad connectivity to existing systems and cloud services: The platform provides secure access to data and services via an open, pluggable architecture that enables broad connectivity to existing systems and cloud services.
  • Built on open standards: MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is built on open standards that enable businesses to connect with any application.
  • Rapid API creation: The solution allows you to quickly and easily create APIs and includes built-in integrations with over 70 APIs.
  • Low total cost of ownership: MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is enterprise-grade and built with a modular design, which allows you to grow your platform as your business needs change.
  • Multi-cloud support: MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform can deploy your APIs across multiple clouds, including IBM Bluemix and Amazon Web Services.

Pricing: MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform comes with a free trial.  

Choosing an API Management Tool

API management tools are the backbone of any modern digital business. They’re responsible for building, publishing, and integrating APIs across the cloud to drive innovation and help enterprises keep up with their competitors. Without an effective API strategy, companies can quickly fall behind in a global marketplace that’s moving at breakneck speeds. Thus, a well-designed API stack is critical to success, given its role as a foundation and driver of innovation.

The best choice of API management tool will depend on your individual company’s goals and budget constraints, among other factors, but hopefully, our quick rundown has given you some ideas about how to find one that works perfectly for you.

Read next: Top API Testing Tools for Software Development in 2021

Kihara Kimachia
Kihara Kimachia has been a professional tech writer and digital marketing consultant for more than ten years. He has a great passion for technology and currently works freelance for several leading tech websites.

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