Most discussions of application delivery focus on traditional web‑based applications. Enterprises create web apps (or purchase them from third parties) and deploy them on their websites behind a human‑friendly UI layer so that customers can access goods and services via a browser or mobile device anytime and from anywhere.
It’s well‑established that flawless delivery of web apps is critical to a company’s success. Less often discussed is the importance of providing flawless access to application programming interfaces (APIs), which enable applications to communicate directly with one another. Indeed APIs actually underlie much of the traffic on the Internet – when the human user accesses a website, his or her web browser actually makes calls to the web app’s API to request the assets needed to build the web page.
Like web apps, many systems that employ APIs use Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) to advertise the endpoints through which clients communicate with the API. APIs are also subject to the same requirements for security, scalability, and visibility as web apps, especially if they are exposed to large numbers of requests. Many websites rely on NGINX and NGINX Plus as a reverse proxy to satisfy the delivery requirements of their apps, and you can deploy them as an API gateway to provide the same functionality and performance for your APIs.
API gateway functions are built into NGINX Plus along with a host of other features – such as load balancing, caching, SSL offloading, rate limiting, authentication, and more. NGINX Plus’ lightweight footprint means you can deploy as many API gateways as needed, without worrying about resource constraints. For example, you can run a separate API gateway in environment in a multi‑cloud deployment. You can also have a gateway for each of your production, test, and dev environments.
As your API ecosystem grows, the NGINX Controller API Management Module comes into play. NGINX Controller is the control plane for deploying and monitoring the NGINX Plus API gateways on the data plane, and also provides full lifecycle management for your APIs themselves. Its customizable dashboards give you both bird’s‑eye and in‑depth views of your entire API environment.
NGINX’s API solutions grow along with you as you modernize your API infrastructure. Your APIs for monolithic apps benefit from the NGINX Plus API gateway as a single point of entry, but the benefits are even more apparent for microservices‑based APIs. As applications and their APIs change, the API gateway can ensure robust performance of API requests while routing requests to individual services as necessary. This means you can scale granularly at the service level, while still maintaining access to all other services in the application.
APIs are critical for success in today’s application‑centric landscape. Just as people expect applications to be highly available and ultra‑responsive, the systems that perform behind the scenes require the same performance when interacting with APIs. NGINX Plus coupled with NGINX Controller brings the operational and management excellence we expect for applications to the world of APIs.