What is Full Lifecycle API Management — Blog Image
January 30, 2020

What Is Full Lifecycle API Management?

API Lifecycle Management

Full lifecycle API management is important. But what is full lifecycle API management? Is it different from API lifecycle management? What do you need to know to drive value for your business? 

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What Is Full Lifecycle API Management?

Full lifecycle API management is the process of managing the entire lifespan of an API from API creation to retirement. It covers the full lifespan in the context of digital transformation. Full lifecycle API management requires an effective API strategy for finding, reusing, governing, and securing APIs, too. 

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What Is API Lifecycle Management?

API lifecycle management is the process of creating, controlling, and consuming APIs throughout the lifecycle. By adopting API lifecycle management, you can do more than just build APIs. You can manage, analyze, and monetize your APIs.

API lifecycle management is one type of lifecycle management.

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Full Lifecycle API Management vs. API Lifecycle Management

Full lifecycle API management goes beyond API lifecycle management. Full lifecycle API management connects to your wider software delivery environment, enabling CI/CD. API lifecycle management, on the other hand, focus just on the process of managing the APIs. 

Why Enterprises Need Full Lifecycle API Management

Enterprises require full lifecycle API management. This can be challenging. Especially as your APIs evolve into business-critical assets — and rapidly multiply at that.

Full lifecycle API management needs to be part of your wider software delivery environment. After all, APIs are not stand-alone assets. While they are typically decoupled, APIs are linked to system resources on top of which they are developed.

For example, full lifecycle API management should fit in with an existing CI/CD-based software delivery approach. CI/CD includes build automation and test automation.

CI/CD brings practices like automation (which itself greatly enhances consistency, repeatability, etc.) to the API delivery process. At the same time, integration ensures seamless API production as part of the overall software delivery process.

This has obvious consequences for the API management solution that is to support your API delivery and operational activities.

So, your full lifecycle API management solution needs to:

  • Effectively integrate with your CI/CD pipeline.  
  • Automate management tasks to a large extent.
  • Allow for automated API definition/provisioning and automated (yet governed) promotion.

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The Goal of Full Lifecycle API Management

The ultimate goal of full lifecycle API management is to enable you to:

  • Have easy-to-consume, well-defined, and reliable APIs available to your API consumers.
  • Ensure the integrity of your systems and the data the APIs process.

One might add that an enterprise-grade API management solution allows you to effectively do so at scale:

  • In terms of the large number of APIs that you expose or may expose over time.
  • As well as gradually covering the organizational diversity with a federated architecture.

The Rise of Full Lifecycle API Management For Digital Transformation

Enterprises have used APIs to share business capabilities for decades. But, these were primarily shared with specific, often internal, consumer audiences. So, APIs were primarily used for technical integration purposes. These were often with a limited scope (project, specific department, etc.). And there was typically no governance applied.

These days, however, enterprises are often updating their vision on the significance of APIs. APIs are now part of a wider digital transformation program.

As a result, API lifecycle management no longer fits the requirements. Instead, you need full lifecycle API management.

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Today's Requirements For Full Lifecycle API Management

Business-critical processes depend on APIs. And you need to effectively manage them.

But this can be challenging because:

  • APIs are rapidly multiplying.
  • Different organizational entities have different needs, adding to the complexity.

To succeed and drive business value, you need automation. 

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How to Drive Business Value With Full Lifecycle API Management

You need to drive business value with your APIs. And full lifecycle API management is the way to do it. 

Enterprise API Concerns

Enterprise API concerns include:

  • How do I ensure that the APIs in my production environment are configured as I expect them to be? (In other words, have all their critical features configured properly.)
  • How do I ensure that my APIs are configured in accordance with the lifecycle stage / environment they are progressing through?
  • In case of cloud deployment, are cloud-specific security policies correctly applied?
  • How can I effectively manage API security and other critical aspects across all relevant organizational units within the enterprise?

These concerns are very real, and there are good reasons to address them head-on. Flaws introduced in early development stages of API lifecycle management typically have a much larger impact when not fixed in those early stages.

At the same time, validated API configurations should only see updates that are a direct consequence of stage promotion. All other configuration details should remain consistent. For example, critical security policies, once applied to the API, should remain associated with the API across all subsequent lifecycle stages.

Why Automation Is Key

Automation is the key to full lifecycle management success. This is especially true for configuration and validation tasks. 

You can also draw from CI/CD software developer practices to create a foundation for automation. Using automated API lifecycle management extends these practices. This allows for a clear distribution of responsibilities.

For example, API products can be automatically generated when triggered from the CI/CD pipeline. Alternatively, the pipeline can trigger the association of an implementation with your API product once a build becomes available.

API configuration can also be driven by metadata that determine the value of critical properties and publishing aspects. Promotion across lifecycle stages can be automated too. And you can make adjustments where necessary (for example, adjusting the DNS name and pointing to the proper downstream resources from one stage environment to the next).

Your Solution For Full Lifecycle API Management

To be successful with full lifecycle API management and CI/CD, you need the right API platform. That platform is Akana.

Akana goes beyond lifecycle management. When you use Akana, you get the full lifecycle API management that you need to drive digital transformation initiatives forward.

With Akana, you'll gain:

  • Faster time-to-market through faster API delivery.
  • Powerful security at scale with automated policies.
  • A true partner in developing your ideal strategy.

Plus, Akana supports multicloud and hybrid cloud deployments. And you can quickly integrate applications, including within your CI/CD pipeline.

See for yourself why Akana is the best platform for full lifecycle API management.

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