Microservices-based architectures (MSA) are a very popular topic these days. They are often considered a universal remedy. However, if we look at MSAs closely, they basically shift complexities and responsibilities into other layers. This architectural style does help tackle some challenges such as easier and quicker deployment, scalability, reusability, and flexibility – but it is not a silver bullet. This is the main reason why we did some research and summarized our recommendations in this white paper.

In short, microservices have emerged as an architectural style to build and operate IT systems for massive scale based on reusable, replaceable, and autonomous software code. Microservices use APIs as the main mechanism for communication and composition. These interconnections between the microservices are what Gartner’s Gary Olliffe refers to as the inner architecture, and this what we usually refer to in today’s IT discussions about microservices.

But microservices need to live in some sort of environment – the “outer” architecture. Ideally, it should be flexible, highly available and cost-effective, and abstracted away from many DevOps challenges. These kinds of environments are typically referred to as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions. A PaaS allows developers to focus on the microservice creation and deployment that elastically scales based on demand.

In Achieving Enterprise Agility with Microservices and API Management, I argue that API gateways are essential components of these environments – they are great for controlling security and access to microservices.

Furthermore, real enterprise agility – which is key to addressing customer demands in a rapidly changing business and technology landscape – requires more than API gateways. API management solutions add business operations functionality, providing the visibility and control necessary to build digital strategies on MSAs. For example, API analytics, traffic reporting, and monetization features make it possible to build business models based on APIs. Developer portals and interactive documentation increase and automate API adoption and make it possible to market to developers.

It’s also important to make the distinction between internal and external APIs for microservices because, in most cases, these need to be managed differently. The figure below depicts a typical MSA and shows the various locations of internal and external APIs.

To read the full details, you can get this white paper here.

Also, 3scale will be at the Red Hat Summit, and on Thursday, June 30 at 1:00 PM we will deliver a talk on the subject: how organizations can achieve enterprise agility with microservices and API management.