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Five Ways to Safeguard Your Application from Third-Party API Outages By @webcodepro | @CloudExpo #Cloud
There have been a number of high-profile API outages in recently that caused some well-known websites & applications to go down
By: SmartBear Blog
Feb. 21, 2016 09:00 AM
Five Ways to Safeguard Your Application from Third-Party API Outages
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at a rapid pace with millions of new devices getting connected every day.
Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use in 2016 and by 2020, the number will reach 20.8 billion. Billions of devices including smartphones, laptops, cars, watches, refrigerators, and even thermostats are all getting connected thanks to APIs. Many of these devices are part of a larger application ecosystem, connected to the cloud and each other using the same APIs.
There have been a number of high-profile API outages in recent months that caused some well-known websites and applications to go down. With so many devices and applications using many of the same cloud services and APIs, one outage can potentially take down entire application ecosystems. While it may not be possible to completely prevent an API outage from taking down your website, web or mobile application, it is possible to take steps to reduce the impact of a third-party API outage.
Web Service Outages
Application ecosystems are getting larger and more complex with each passing day. While API providers do their best to ensure API availability, outages do still occur from time to time.
Consider the following examples:
API outages aren't limited to the large scale APIs like those experienced by giants like Facebook and Amazon. And if you have an application that is dependent on external APIs to perform a critical function, you need to have a plan for dealing with disruptions.
There are a number of solutions that developers can use to prevent API outages from negatively impacting a website or application.
1. API Virtualization
"It's all about time and cost. API virtualization, beyond simple service mocking, provides technical teams a frictionless way to reduce delays in development and testing. Lightweight, virtual APIs empower teams to simulate errors, network latency and congestion, and even stand up API sandboxes," said Paul Bruce, API team product manager at SmartBear. "These ‘virts' (as the folks at SmartBear call them), allow you overcome third-party downtime, safeguard you from running over subscription limits, and even help to simplify versioning and release logistics."
Using API virtualization tools like ServiceV Pro, developers can test third-party API integrations by mimicking errors, server, and network behavior.
Matti Hjelm, product owner at SmartBear, said that "ServiceV works from two angles: both from the dev perspective to quickly create APIs for own use or for others to use; and for testers to have something to test against. This will truly speed up the build and deploy workflows dramatically."
API virtualization can help developers anticipate how specific third-party API outages will impact their application allowing them to plan for outages before moving the application to general availability.
2. Synthetic and Real User Monitoring
These are just a few of the things that developers can learn about an application by using synthetic monitoring.
"On the production side, synthetic API monitoring provides critical visibility into how your APIs perform under real conditions, prove uptime and availability, and split out important layers of your user experience so you can involve the right people to quickly resolve problems when they arise," said Bruce.
Real User Monitoring
RUM can be used to monitor and capture a wide variety of web and mobile application metrics including load time, speed, errors, transaction performance, availability, and more. Problems with third-party APIs can impact the speed and performance of a website or application. There are RUM tools that can send automatic alerts in the event of a problem such as an API outage or application slowdown.
Products like AlertSite can be used for RUM monitoring as well as for synthetic monitoring of APIs, web and mobile applications.
3. A/B Testing
4. Asynchronous Scripting
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Limiting the number of APIs your application uses, using well-designed APIs from reputable API providers, and using a full-featured APM tool can also help safeguard your application from API outages.
With the number of connected devices and application ecosystems growing at such as rapid pace, it is more important than ever for applications to be safeguarded from third-party API outages and errors.
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