The adoption of APIs in applications is the major difference between modern applications and those of the past. Even though they have existed for many years, there has been widespread adoption of things like serverless computing, IoT devices, microservice architectures, and other technologies making APIs very vital for their functionality.
This means that most of the applications we use today depend on APIs for all their communication and data exchange requirements. APIs have also changed how developers write, use and reuse code when building their applications. It means that in a situation where an API fails, chances are that it will not affect just a single application, but the entire operations of a business.
This is why API monitoring is important. It is the practice that involves monitoring APIs for insights in availability, functionality, and performance correctness. With this, developers are able to address any errors before their users see them and make sure that the APIs meet all their set requirements. They use these popular tools to get alerts on when there might be issues, when the issues occur and where the issues are coming from.
What Businesses Need Visibility into When Implementing APIs
Businesses need to keep a close eye on a number of things when implementing APIs. They include;
- API Performance: Businesses need to monitor the performance of APIs to make sure that they do what they are supposed to do. For example, an API might be available but might take a lot of time to respond to requests meaning that all applications that rely on that particular API are slowed down.
- Uptime Monitoring: It is very important for businesses to make sure that there are no downtimes experienced with their APIs. Monitoring uptime helps in identifying APIs that are not responding to requests and those that respond intermittently.
- Validation of Data: Businesses need to monitor and validate any data sent or received by an API. For instance, an API that receives or even sends the wrong data or data in the wrong format will negatively impact the performance of the applications implementing it.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs): APIs play a very important role when it comes to how applications communicate. This means that they are supposed to meet Service Level Agreements. API monitoring tools help in ensuring that these requirements are met.
Differentiating Types of Monitoring from API Monitoring
Some businesses overlap the functionality that comes with API monitoring tools with that of other monitoring tools. For instance, they use load testing and application performance management tools to identify performance issues that might be caused by an API.
However, even though these tools might alert them when applications are slow or have issues, they are not able to tell one why the issues are coming up and if they are actually coming from an API. These tools are designed to monitor the applications themselves and can therefore not monitor APIs that the applications implement.
Other monitoring tools such as security and infrastructure monitoring tools are designed to monitor different things and cannot offer any insights into the performance, availability, security, and functionality of an API. This means that businesses should focus on API monitoring tools for their APIs for them to correctly identify any issues that might be originating directly from the APIs.
If you look at the software development trends in 2021, you will notice that APIs are playing a very crucial role. This means that we are going to see more API adoption and they have to be monitored to make sure that they do what they are supposed to do.
Therefore, businesses are supposed to develop robust API monitoring practices if their APIs are to meet their requirements. They need to use API monitoring tools that will help them to quickly identify the root cause of any issues originating from their APIs and solve them before they affect the running of their businesses.