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May 21, 2020

API Management Deployment Options: An Overview


Your API management deployment can have a big impact on your bottom line. Should you choose on-premises vs. cloud vs. hybrid? And how do you choose the right API management deployment to drive greater returns on your API investment? 

That's what we cover in this blog. 

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On-Premises vs. Cloud vs. Hybrid

On-premises means that all software components are stored on machines in a data center. Cloud means all components are stored in a cloud environment (such as AWS or Azure). Hybrid means that some components are stored on-premises and others are stored in the cloud. 

In the comparison below, we focus on when to choose on-premises vs. cloud vs. hybrid for your API management deployment.


In an on-premises API management deployment, all software components are deployed on machines in your data center(s). You install, operate, and maintain the software on these machines.


With an on-premises API management deployment, you can: 

  • Gain complete control over all aspects of the deployment.
  • Apply software updates or configuration changes.
  • Decide what database and other infrastructure components the software will use.
  • Control all security for the system.


However, there are challenges of an on-premises API management deployment.

You have to:

  • Install and maintain the infrastructure yourself: VMs, load balancers, databases, ElasticSearch, etc.
  • Install and maintain the software: applying patches, performing release updates, etc.
  • Operate the API management system: ongoing operations and monitoring, periodic backups, etc.
  • Provide the security environment: LDAP, configuring OIDC providers, etc.

Cloud-Based (SaaS)

In a cloud API management deployment, all components are run in a cloud environment. Your vendor installs, operates, and maintains all software. You'll simply use it.


With a cloud API management deployment, you can:

  • Use the SaaS service to define APIs, apply policies, and deploy the APIs to the SaaS API gateways.
  • Be up and running almost immediately.

Plus, your provider will:

  • Provide all hardware and software resources.
  • Perform all software installation, configuration, and maintenance.
  • Operate the API management software — including monitoring, backups, etc.


However, there are challenges to a cloud API management deployment.


  • Lose direct control of the operating environments — e.g., you won't be able to apply patches, etc.
  • Won't be able to use custom Java extensions, such as Java custom policies.
  • Experience network propagation delays for APIs to backend apps.
  • Lose direct access to the various API management components — such as the database(s) used.
  • Need to whitelist the SaaS API gateways in their firewalls, so API calls can be passed to backend applications.


In a hybrid API management deployment, some components are run in a cloud environment, while others are run in the customer data center(s). Your vendor installs, operates, and maintains all software in the cloud environment. And you'll  install, operate, and maintain the software components installed in your data center(s).


With a hybrid API management deployment, you'll gain:

  • The best of both worlds — your SaaS provider installs, maintains, and operates all components except the on-premises API gateways.
  • The benefits of a powerful API management platform and the speed of local API gateways.
  • Flexibility to deploy different APIs to on-premises API gateways, to SaaS API gateways, or to both.
  • Low network propagations delays from on-premises API gateways to backend applications.


However, there are some challenges to hybrid API management deployments.

This means:

  • Your SaaS provider still operates the system and decides when software patches and release updates will be applied.
  • You'll have to install, configure, and operate the on-premises API gateways.
  • You'll need to whitelist the SaaS components in your firewalls to allow communication to on-premises API gateways.
  • Cost are higher than pure SaaS, but lower than pure on-premises.

Which Option Is Right For You?

Learn more about the benefits of on-premises vs. cloud vs. hybrid API management deployments. Watch the webinar below. 

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Why Cloud or Hybrid Is a Better API Management Deployment Option

The growth in the usage of APIs has created an entirely new landscape. In past years, with a small number of APIs, an on-premises data center and enterprise firewall was sufficient. Now, with API portfolios growing, the use of cloud environments has become more of a necessity. Today, many are considering multicloud or hybrid cloud deployments.

While there are certainly advantages of on-premises deployments, there are just as many reasons as to why migrating to the cloud may be the right choice to get the most out of your API initiatives. The cloud offers lower costs, greater flexibility, and an acceleration of your enterprise's digital transformation efforts.

The cloud offers:

  • Less on-premises hardware and software to install and maintain.
  • Greater flexibility in software deployment capabilities: Automation of resource provisioning and operations.
  • Ability to take advantage of Cloud provider services: User Authentication, Key Management Services, Serverless Computing.
  • Compliance with many different mandates: PCI, ISO, SOC, PSD2, GDPR, UK Open Banking, HIPAA, FedRAMP, HITRUST, DPC, CIS.
  • More cloud providers are offering some type of managed service for provisioning, deployment, security, operations, etc.
  • Cloud provider provides various tools and support services so the customer does not need to have skilled staff to do them.
  • Enables core staff to focus on implementing new business functionality — not infrastructure provisioning, app deployment, ops.

Cloud ROI Potential

In February 2020, Forrester detailed the results of a study in The Total Economic Impact™ of AWS Managed Services after following six AWS Managed Services customers for an average of two years. At the conclusion of the study, they were able to document significant advantages, such as:

  • 243% ROI
  • $10.8M in Benefits Present Value
  • $7.7M Net Present Value

The customers were also able to reduce staffing costs, cloud migration costs, and infrastructure costs. In addition, they realized resource efficiency gains and reduced their risk of a major security breach. 

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Which API Management Deployment Will Drive More Revenue?

So, which API management deploy option will enable you to drive greater revenue? Find out. Use our interactive KPI tool to understand how you can drive more ROI with your API investment. 



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