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SAP API Management – a full overview (3)

In the second part of my blog about SAP API Management, I focused on creating API proxies and publishing them to developers. In this last blog entry, I will focus on analytics and how SAP API Management integrates into the SAP Cloud Platform.

Analyze your APIs: API Portal

Now that your APIs have been secured, adapted and published in the Developer Portal, you want to know how these APIs behave. This is done through

Technical Monitoring

Once your APIs are safely exposed to be used by Developers, it is vital that you get an insight on where technical issues are arising. Within the API Portal, your API Administrator has access to pre-defined dashboards that give him an overview of all technical runtime information such as number of calls, backend response times, api proxy response time, errors, etc.. In this way, the API Administrator can quickly identify issues and start remediation. To do so, he can also use the “Debug” tool that allows to trace the behavior of the API proxy traffic in real time.

 

With the predefined dashboards the administrators can quickly see trends and issues in a central place. This allows for simpler monitoring and faster problem remediation.

Usage Analysis

Technical runtime and error analysis is extremely important, but equally important is the information about your API usage. This will give you the answer to questions like “Who uses what API in what context?”, “What are the successful Applications”, etc..

This is possible through the usage of the API Key, fully integrated into the API Management Analytics. Hence the dashboards will provide you with information about the frequently used applications, active Developers, error prone Applications, etc..

With a 360° view of API usage, the API Project Manager can steer the various projects, prioritising the successful ones and checking on the unsuccessful ones. 

Custom Monitoring

In a lot of circumstances, it is important to analyse your API Layer through specific dashboards. SAP API Management allows to create your very own dashboards based on pre-defined filters and metrics in an easy and graphical way. Furthermore, the custom dashboards allow for drill-down capabilities so that API Administrators can create interactive reports for purposes like root-cause analysis.

Another important feature of custom dashboards, is the capability to report on the content of API traffic. For instance, you may want to analyze what products are being requested through what applications. This is possible using custom analytics that will read whatever information you need from the API traffic flowing through SAP API Management. You can then provide that valuable information to your marketing or sales teams.

Generally speaking, all analytical data is available through SAP API Management’s APIs: you can integrate all analytical data into other tools that can consume REST APIs such as Monitoring tools, BI tools, Excel, etc., or create your own monitoring UI, integrated in your own technical portal.

With custom dashboards and analytical APIs, the API administrators and project managers can tailor dashboards for their needs and see exactly what they want to see.

Monetization

Many enterprises are interested in creating new revenue streams through digital products. One way of doing this is to provide value-added APIs to their customers, generally developers. Customers consume the functionality or data through APIs that are managed through SAP API Management, and get charged accordingly to the usage of the API. This is happening through rate plans that are defined in a flexible way, for instance on pay-per-use, flat-fee or mixed basis. These rate plans can also be used for internal purposes, for instance in large enterprises where a department may charge other for its services.

With the monetization feature of SAP API Management, companies can easily generate new revenue streams through digital products powered by APIs.

Integration with other SAP services

Fiori applications

One typical scenario that can be implemented in the SAP Cloud Platform is creating new responsive applications, based on the SAP Fiori framework. These applications require data and functionalities from the customer’s systems, typically provided through OData REST APIs. Providing REST APIs without a “broker” layer such as API Management means that security, traffic management and transformation has to take place in the backend systems. However, a lot of these features cannot be easily, or not at all, implemented within the backend system. A best-practice is to externalize and centralize these operations into an API Management layer, providing a strong foundation for any upcoming project. From a architectural perspective, using API Management will also allow to centrally an enforce enterprise-wide governance in regards to how APIs are securely published to developers.


 

To support the aforementioned best-practice, SAP has integrated the WebIDE service with SAP API Management. This allows developers to use APIs directly from SAP API Management: in the application creation template of WebIDE, developers can browse through the available APIs, see their documentation, and select them as data source for their project. The new application automatically get created in SAP API Management, allowing developers to manage their API keys and to see analytics for the application API usage.

With the integration between SAP API Management and SAP WebIDE, developers can easily comply to internal governance that states that all APIs should be managed centrally in SAP API Management.

SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS

Applications making use of APIs can be of very different nature. Among them there are native iOS applications.

In order to simplify the process of building native iOS applications, SAP provides the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS. The SDK allows the developer to connect to the SAP API Management Developer Portal in order to browse and add the necessary APIs as destinations in his project. The SDK Assistant will automatically retrieve the API key if possible, configure Mobile Services with the right information to connect to the selected API, and then subsequently generate the OData proxy classes and UI scaffolding.

SAP Cloud Platform Integration

SAP Cloud Platform Integration is an IPaaS solution, allowing to implement integration between applications (A2A) or business partners (B2B). The focus of SAP Cloud Platform Integration is on orchestrating integration processes using multiple communication protocols and allowing for data operations (mapping, conversion, transformation…). Hence SAP API Management and SAP Cloud Platform are complimentary: API Management provides security, traffic management, documentation and developer experience for REST APIs; on the other hand, SAP Cloud Platform Integration provides these REST APIs from various backends through connectivity, orchestration and data operations.

Through a SAP Cloud Platform Integration OData catalog URL, SAP API Management can simply and automatically generate API proxies for OData REST APIs provided by SAP Cloud Platform Integration.

The integration between SAP API Management and SAP Cloud Platform Integration is provided through the aforementioned “API Providers”. By defining an SAP Cloud Platform Integration API Provider, the API Builder can browse through the available ODATA REST APIs available from SAP Cloud Platform Integration, and create the API Proxy for the selected SAP Cloud Platform OData Service.

Using the modular approach of the SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite, developers can easily plug the Integration Service into the API Management service, which provide complimentary features for specific integration scenarii.

Conclusion

As discussed in the beginning of this document, the world is changing. Openness provides new opportunities but comes with specific challenges. However, companies have agreed on a technical approach worldwide, based on REST APIs. To make the best of this technology, SAP believes API Management is the best solution. It will help you deliver a streamlined and efficient way to manage APIs for internal or external use cases.

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