Analyst house Gartner, Inc. has released its 2018 Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management. An API, or application programming interface is a set of routines and protocols for building software applications by specifying how they should interact. The report identifies the pros and cons of a wide range of API management vendors and options. The solutions covered in this Magic Quadrant involve the use of a developers’ portal to target, market and govern developer communities who embed the APIs.
Gartner highlights that in the past, APIs were developed and consumed within a single organization. Things are changing however, and organizations are now using APIs to open up new business channels and partner integrations. This means that the consumers of an API are now often using it outside the organization. The research giant adds: “It is impossible to provide the platform for any digital strategy, build ecosystems and run an effective API program, without full life cycle API management.”
In this Magic Quadrant, Gartner evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of 22 providers that it considers most significant in the marketplace, and provides readers with a graph (the Magic Quadrant) plotting the vendors based on their ability to execute and their completeness of vision. The graph is divided into four quadrants: niche players, challengers, visionaries, and leaders. At Solutions Review, we read the report, available here, and pulled out the key takeaways.
The report features five new providers, a number, according to Gartner, that reflects the interest in dedicated API management solutions. The additions include household names such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, as well as Kony, SmartBear and Tyk. Akana was dropped for no longer meeting Gartner’s inclusion criteria, namely due to its acquisition by Rogue Wave and because it did not grow by at least 20 percent in the last year.
Google (Apigee) and CA Technologies top the charts, with the former leading by a decent margin. Google acquired Apigee in September 2016 and added the vendor’s technologies to its wider cloud offering. CA Technologies offers its API management tool on-prem, in the cloud, or via hybrid deployment. The company has also made several acquisitions in the arena of API testing in recent months. IBM remains a leader in Gartner’s most recent iteration, though it did see some regression in its vertical standing due to lagging feature innovations.
The leaders column also includes notable data management and analytics companies Software AG, MuleSoft (Salesforce acquisition pending), TIBCO Software and Red Hat. The four providers hold similar standing along Gartner’s vertical axis, but what differentiates them is completeness of vision. Software AG provides API management capabilities via its webMethods tool both on-prem and in the cloud. TIBCO acquired its API management solution from the Mashery unit at Intel in 2015. It’s available in three cloud editions based on price point and feature set.
SAP is the only holdover in the market challengers bracket from the last Magic Quadrant in 2016. SAP needs no introduction, and has a wide variety of data integration middleware technologies at its disposal. Its API management tools come pre-packed inside the SAP Cloud Platform, and the company also resells the Apigee solution for on-prem deployments. Amazon Web Services also makes its debut here, and offers its API Gateway as a fully managed service. The Amazon API Gateway is cloud-only. Axway also calls this column home, entrenched in the lower-right portion of the square.
Cloud Elements made an impressive northeast jump to the top left-hand corner of the visionaries quadrant, and remains only a stone’s throw toward upgrading its standing even further next year. Likewise, WSO2 saw its horizontal positioning improve considerably. The company provides an open-source integration solution that includes identity management and analytics, and its products share the same underlying Carbon framework. Sensedia is also a market visionary, offering its API solution primarily through professional services. Based in Brazil, the company’s underlying technology is based on a compilation of open-source projects.
Microsoft, Kony, SmartBear and Tyk all make their first appearance in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant as niche players. The column is also inhabited by Oracle and Dell Boomi, two veterans of the integration middleware software space. digitalML is positioned in the middle portion of the graph, and has a background in XML enterprise repositories. The company recently added a runtime management capability built on top of Kong’s open-source API gateway, and other API gateways may be used in place of digitalML’s runtime scheme.
That’s it for this year’s inclusions. However, Gartner chose to add an honorable mentions header at the bottom of this report. We encourage you to read the Magic Quadrant in full.