July 22, 2021

How to Manage Multiple API Gateways

API Gateways

How should you go about scaling multiple API gateways? And what are the reasons you might implement a multigateway scenario?

API gateways perform the heavy lifting in your API management. They manage everything from processing runtime transactions to enforcing and implementing security, authenticating and authorizing, managing licenses, analytics, enforcing anti-virus policies, SQL injection protection, malicious pattern detection and much more. Yet few organizations approach API gateway management strategically. API gateways are often seen as technical artifacts. Instead, organizations should view them as a strategic key to innovation and digital transformation.

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Why Do Organizations Use Multiple API Gateways?

Each enterprise is made up of a unique combination of databases, applications, and IT technology. And every organization needs to decide how to expose and manage this digital footprint via APIs. When APIs are adopted, the API gateways serve critical functions in the broader API strategy. The API gateway is the last line of defense before malicious attackers enter your systems. It ensures the healthy functioning of APIs through quality-of-service (QoS) policies. For example, API gateways moderate the rates at which APIs are accessed, while they also enforce service level agreement policies to keep servers and back-end systems running smoothly.

Multiple API gateways are often used to achieve the following:  

Ensuring High Availability

For some, a single data center can meet enterprise needs whereas for others, leveraging multiple data centers is required. No matter your deployment model, using multiple API gateways will improve availability. For organizations with data centers spread across a country or several global regions, using multiple API gateways allows you to enforce regional traffic management with APIs. This improves performance, availability, and security.


When an organization has multiple API gateways spread across many data centers, they can distribute their API processing in a dynamic fashion. If one data center or API gateway goes down, they are quickly able to route traffic through another API gateway and data center. Likewise, if data centers receive API calls from unsupported regions, they can filter or block this traffic. As more global businesses move applications to the cloud, managing multiple data centers via multiple API gateways has become a route to high availability and increased security.  

Enforcing and Implementing Security

API gateways ensure your API policies and licensing requirements are enforced. When an administrator selects policies and requirements surrounding a new API, the API gateway is the mechanism which enforces these policies and requirements. In addition to enforcement, the API gateways implement security.

Using multiple API gateways can improve security in a variety of ways. To begin with, your API gateways manage authentication, authorization, licensing, analytics, anti-virus protection, malicious pattern detection, and SQL injection protection. The API gateway enforces various security mechanisms such as OAuth 2.0, OIDC, open banking protocols, MTLS, WS-Security Policies, XML schema validation, JSON schema validation, and others.

Many organizations will segment applications or environments based on their risk to the enterprise. They then manage the associated APIs through a dedicated API gateway. This means that all high-risk processes, such as open banking security protocols, are associated with this gateway. This dedicated API gateway is not only protecting the associated APIs, but also the back-end systems or applications from a variety of threats.

Keep in mind that many companies must manually implement these protection measures within their API gateways. With Akana, they come ready to use out of the box.

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Common Multigateway Scenarios

There are several models and scenarios in which enterprises will use multiple API gateways. Many clients often ask questions along the lines of, how do we limit security risks to specific endpoints? Do we need an API gateway for our internal APIs? Do we need a dedicated partner API gateway? How many gateways do we need?

The answer is often it depends.

In general, organizations have internal and external API gateways. Here are a few common scenarios for managing multiple API gateways in both categories:

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Internal API Gateways

For compliance and governance purposes, some organizations may choose to create separate API gateways for internal employee applications. This can guarantee that any employee user error or mistake is kept within the confines of the internal IT systems.

Team or Project API Gateways  

Some enterprises may even scale dedicated API gateways for specific departments, teams, or projects. For example, a dedicated API gateway could support a large marketing team that accesses a variety of marketing automation software via APIs. Or, a development team who is rapidly scaling a new product dedicated to a service or line-of-business.

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External API Gateways

Partner API Gateways

This is a great option for organizations with a complex partner network. These enterprise partners may use APIs for a variety of reasons. Having a dedicated API gateway streamlines API management and API consumption for enterprise partners. 

Public API Gateways

Some organizations have dozens, if not hundreds, of public APIs. For this reason, enterprises may choose to scale a separate API gateway for their public APIs. This can ensure internal apps and programs are partitioned from consumer APIs and applications. In all, this improves security at scale.

Localized and Regional API Gateways

Some organizations manage a large global API footprint. For performance purposes, they may choose to dedicate API gateways to various regions. This can improve API and application performance in addition to minimizing server costs.

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Managing Multigateways With Akana

The Akana API gateway is a key component of the Akana API platform. It provides the easiest way to securely transform the enterprise without sacrificing speed. That’s because Akana makes it easy to create and manage the API interaction layer. So you can easily deploy anywhere with strong security. Security, policy management, and rate limiting features have been available out of the box with Akana for more than a decade. While many of our competitors claim to offer the same, there is still a lot of customization required. To put it simply, Akana allows you to deploy faster and more securely through a variety of automated features. When you choose Akana, you can:

  • Reduce time-to-market with API deployment.
  • Automate security to improve API gateway functioning and compliance.
  • Increase speed of adoption and integration across multiple API gateways

 ▶️Watch the Demo

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