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Amazon API Gateway emerges against heavy competition

Microsoft and a host of startups offered API gateways years before Amazon jumped into the fray, but the company's API Gateway is still turning heads among AWS users.

The Amazon API Gateway has some catching up to do with competitors, but so far AWS shops are interested in its integrations with other AWS products.

The API Gateway, introduced last month, is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) tool that can be used to publish and manage Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Most importantly for AWS shops, however, the Amazon API Gateway integrates out of the box with other Amazon services such as AWS Lambda.

This in turn can be used with a new integration between the Amazon Simple WorkFlow Service (SWF) and AWS Lambda to automate microservices, according to Kevin Felichko, CTO for PropertyRoom.com, an online auction company based in Frederick, Md.

"With SWF and Lambda, we can migrate our existing workflow -- this would eliminate some legacy systems," Felichko said. "Add the API Gateway and we move into very distinct, specialized microservices that are easier to maintain, and our costs would be reduced since we could get rid of several EC2 instances."

AWS API Gateway

Amazon's API Gateway routes HTTP requests, provides versioning and staging of APIs; generates client software development kits (SDKs); generates API keys to monitor third party development usage; secures APIs using AWS Signature v4; data transformation, request monitoring and throttling; and a managed cache for API calls for an additional fee starting at two cents per hour.

The benefit of API Gateway is as part of a server-less architecture, according to Joe Emison, CTO and founder of Asheville, N.C.-based BuildFax Inc.

However, it doesn't have quite as many frills as existing API gateways on the market, according to a presentation at a recent meeting of the Boston Amazon Web Services Meetup Group given by Chris Riley, a founding partner at HKM Consulting in Rochester, Mass.

Riley's presentation compared the Amazon API Gateway with products from Apigee Corp., MuleSoft, Inc., and an open source product called WS02 API Manager. Compared with these products, Riley said, Amazon API Gateway is missing an 'app store' for subscribers to APIs to find them and share them socially, as well as business analytics management platforms that offer detailed tracking of API performance and subscription activity.

The Amazon API Gateway is "disruptive" with its pricing, at $3.50 per million API calls plus standard Amazon data transfer fees, according to Riley. WS02 software is free, but Riley said configuration and management contribute to its costs.

Apigee has a bigger free tier of up to 5 million API calls per quarter than the Amazon API gateway, but its SMB offering of up to 25 million calls starts at $1,975 per month.

Riley estimated the Amazon API Gateway is "about 50%of the way there" in its feature list compared with competitors, but he also predicted the Amazon API Gateway will be at 100% parity with competitors' features by next year.

BuildFax's Emison said he'd pit products from 3scale, Apigee, Layer7 Technologies (now CA API Management) and Mashery against the Amazon API Gateway, and agrees with Riley's assessment of their feature lists.

"API Gateway is so feature-light compared to what those guys do, and API Gateway also has some amazing benefits, namely its connection with Lambda, that the others just don’t have at all," Emison said.

The competition doesn't end with those companies, either. Amazon API Gateway must also go up against Microsoft Azure's API Management, which is based on the acquisition of Apiphany by Microsoft in 2013. IBM and Oracle also offer on-premises API managers. Enterprise platform as a service company WaveMaker also has its WaveMaker API Gateway available for cloud or on-premises use. Some of these offerings, such as WaveMaker's, also combine advanced application development tools in a suite of products.

Still, it's Amazon's product AWS shops are putting to the test.

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for SearchAWS. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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Good article. By the way, WSO2 also has a hosted version of the open source API Manager - WSO2 API Cloud: http://wso2.com/cloud/api-cloud - it is all preconfigured and ready to use.

With regards to AWS, what remains to be seen is whether the 50% coverage (by the way, lack of OAuth support is a huge gap as well) is a current limitation which they plan to fix eventually, or they view their gateway as more of an internal building block for interdepartmental use, and do not plan to have all the features for ecosystem scenarios (partners and customers as subscribers and invokers.) If the latter, they might never actually fully compete in this market.
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