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Real-Time APIs: Stories from the Real World

Real‑time APIs have become part of our daily lives. From ordering food to buying and selling stocks using our mobile phones, many day-to-day activities entail interaction with real‑time APIs. But what does this look like from the perspective of the API publisher? What market demands are driving companies to serve APIs in real time? How are NGINX customers achieving real‑time performance? Let’s look at some examples.

Managing API Traffic at Scale for a Microservices‑Based Application

Situation

African Bank was founded in 2016 in South Africa to provide digital banking services to underserved and rural customers. They built a modern application using microservices from the ground up.

Challenge

A sophisticated microservices architecture based on a reference architecture from NGINX provided speed-to-market and cost advantages, but introduced complexity around API scalability and inter‑service communication.

Solution

The bank replaced Apigee, a legacy point solution for API management, with NGINX. The NGINX Controller API Management Module complements the existing NGINX microservices deployment with CI/CD integration and monitoring for SRE teams.

Processing a Large Volume of Credit Card Transactions in Real Time

Situation

A leading U.S.‑based financial services corporation is adopting the Open Banking Standard, which provides API specifications for sharing of customer‑permissioned data and analytics with third‑party developers and firms that are building applications and services. This is driving the need to support increased API volumes and provide API-Management-as-a-Service.

Challenge

The incumbent API management solution added 500ms of latency to every API call. To avoid adverse impact to revenue as it transitions to Open Banking, the customer needed a solution that processed API calls with latencies under 70 milliseconds (ms).

Solution

The customer deployed the NGINX Controller API Management Module. API processing time is consistently below 10ms – exceeding their performance requirements by 85%.

Powering Digital Transformation with Real‑Time APIs

Situation

A leading telecom organization in the Asia‑Pacific region embarked on digital transformation initiatives that require processing 600 million API calls per month for 800 different APIs.

Challenge

The incumbent API management solution was too expensive and slow for the high volume of internal API traffic. The customer also wanted to augment and empower their DevOps teams with self‑service API management.

Solution

The NGINX Controller API management solution sits “beside” the legacy API management solution. The NGINX solution reduced latency by 70%, while also enabling self‑service for DevOps to create, publish, and monitor APIs. DevOps teams were able to increase API release velocity by integrating API management tasks into their CI/CD pipelines. They achieved significant savings in time and effort by automating routine tasks such as API definition and gateway configuration using APIs.

What’s Your Real‑Time API Story?

Many other enterprises from various sectors have expressed interest in managing real‑time APIs. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below about your real‑time API needs. Or you can contact our sales team to request a free assessment of your API’s performance. In the meantime, read this report from IDC to learn about API trends and best practices for API lifecycle management.

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Is Your API Real-Time?

Test if your API feels slow to users, with rtapi – NGINX's real‑time API latency measurement test.

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