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The apiphany epiphany: GA'ing Azure API Management

Posted on 10 september, 2014

Principal Program Manager, Azure API Management
Back in October, we announced the acquisition of apiphany; a recent entrant to the API management space based in Washington-DC. I'm excited to announce that today, Azure API Management leaves Preview and goes GA, with a 99.9% SLA. Before the acquisition, I found myself explaining API Management to many colleagues and I developed a repertoire of scenarios to quickly explain the value proposition of this upcoming capability; I saw a few eureka moments,  which I call the apiphany epiphany. All had a common theme: scaling and accelerating partnerships.

Growing your partner ecosystem at internet speed

Anybody in the IT business who has worked with or at an 'enterprise' business will have, at some time, worked on a Business-to-business (B2B) project and will know how such endeavors are traditionally rolled out. It usually starts with Board and CxO-level negotiation between two businesses, drawing up contracts and eventually building and opening up APIs for use by the business partner. This is nothing new, it has been going on for decades. I can recount many such examples from customers and employees past. But something is new. The speed at which businesses need to move has now accelerated to a blistering pace. Businesses must be more agile and partnerships need to be formed rapidly and organically. The explosive growth of the SaaS ecosystem and rapid adoption of best of breed solutions by organizations has made integration as regular a part of an enterprise developer's day as breakfast. Furthermore, your next partner might not be a big enterprise, they could be an individual developer on the verge of her startup breakthrough. To develop partnerships to meet today’s increased scale, agility and openness poses a number of challenges. How do you:
  • accelerate the partner team's learning and ability to understand your API and how it works?
  • manage the 1000s, or even hundreds of thousands of partners now knocking on your door?
  • understand the success of your partner’s on-boarding program?
  • protect your underlying, core mission critical systems from abuse and attack?
This is where Azure API Management comes in, with features to solve all of these problems, including:
  • Developer Portal with dynamically generated API documentation and interactive API console to make partners successful in record time
  • Self-service partner sign up, registration and group-based access controls for your APIs and documentation
  • Comprehensive analytics showing the usage, performance and health of your APIs and partner usage
  • Configurable policy system that allows the application of rate-limits, quotas and more

APIs as a business

API's have emerged from obscurity to become the transactional conduit of many business models. These essential APIs are at the center of how a growing number of modern businesses work. Access to API functionality is sold, often as a bundle with a monthly subscription or pay-per-call. The challenges posed in this world are no different to those explained above, except partners are your customers. API management provides a highly available solution to the important challenges posed by these business models and with Azure API Management's extensive REST API - it's easy to integrate with your commerce platform of choice to monetize your business.

Internal agility and mobile enablement

In addition to customers, we see another common type of partner: internal departments and employees. Most organizations of any longevity likely have 1000s of internal systems and APIs, all containing valuable data. Traditionally, there have been many obstacles to an ambitious intrapreneur or sibling business department in getting access to the data and services they need to solve a particular problem: bureaucratic and time-consuming processes, inadequate safeguards and protection, little or no documentation - that's assuming they can discover the existence of the API in the first place. Furthermore, the demand for mobile-enabled apps is forcing exponential growth in new APIs at organizations - a growing surface of APIs that demand management. Azure API Management is a turnkey solution that can industrialize your internal API surface area, and with powerful projection capabilities, can even make your old APIs look new and mobile-friendly. We are already seeing strong uptake of Azure API Management to help businesses rapidly increase their internal agility, service discovery and allow cross-company collaboration at internet speed.

General Availability, 99.9% SLA and new features

If you haven't tried API Management yet, today is a great day to start. We are launching the service into General Availability with a 99.9% SLA for Standard tier customers and are locking the price of the Developer tier at $49 (50% of the previously announced GA price at $99). We're also adding support for OAuth 2.0 in our developer portal's interactive console, meaning great support for any API that offers OAuth based authentication. To find out more about API Management, I'd recommend our getting started with Azure API Management tutorial. I've also recorded three videos with Scott Hanselman recently as part of the Azure Friday series, which I'd recommend as a quick way to get a great introduction to the service:
clip_image002 Azure API Management 101- Get an overview of the new Azure API Management Service. If you've got a Web Service, why would you want API Management? What does it add to public facing web services?
clip_image004 Azure API Management 102- How to customize your public facing APIs and an in-depth look at the Developer Portal and customization options, including how you can skin the Portal to exactly match your brand.
clip_image006 Azure API Management 103- Advanced details of Azure API Management, including the kind of transformations that can be applied to your  API and the analytics available to both partners and API publishers.