Application programming interfaces, or APIs, are now the standard infrastructure for communication software. Popular infrastructures, such as containers and Kubernetes, have increased the demand for high-performance, lightweight solutions, and organizations are selecting API management as a preferred option, avoiding the costs of custom code.
But with this increase in popularity comes an increase in vendors offering solutions, filling the market with good, and not so good, services. Vendors need to work harder to sell their product and prove that it is high-quality, cost effective and efficient. Solutions can often look the same in writing, but differ greatly in practice, so customers need direction in finding the best fit for their requirements.
APIs should work with high performance computing, to allow complex data to be processed at speed. Benchmark testing is a way of verifying the product, providing evidence that key features, such as speed of latency, work as they should. Using benchmarks, vendors can be tested and positioned alongside competitors, providing recognition for those who excel in the field, and proof that quality software is produced to industry standards.
Benchmark and field test reporting can form the basis of tenders and marketing collateral, giving a third-party, independent perspective for an unbiased, professional overview. Customers respond better to marketing verified by an external source as it gives weight to the information being given, over and above material produced internally. It can also give understanding of how two, seemingly similar, API management solutions differ.
Pinpointing High-Quality API Management
API latency testing measures the delay as data is transferred from source to destination through a network connection. It is a key product feature for an API system: the quicker communications can be processed, the more appealing to customers. If websites have lots of latency, the bandwidth can be affected, so optimizing APIs can help reduce costs, increase customer traffic, and aid site functionality.
Customers looking for quicker software may not understand the full abilities of APIs and microservices, and creating a compelling and credible argument for the reliability of a solution can take on various forms, depending on individual requirements. The market is competitive, with more companies moving towards expanding their core platforms, and the popularity of API tools increasing, primarily due to the Service-Oriented Architecture movement.
Offering a product that stands out, particularly when protocols and methods vary greatly within the infrastructures themselves, can present difficulties, for start-up companies competing with an already established market, and for long-term enterprises needing to advance and revamp products.
Customers often look for the cheapest option without understanding the use case for performance-orientated products with a higher cost. An argument needs to be created for the execution and delivery of the API solution, to give customers understanding of how it functions in real-life scenarios. Benchmarks allow customers to see how solutions perform before committing to the service, and provide recognition for vendors offering high-quality services.
Difficulties in Testing Performance
Benchmark testing faces challenges, as may be predicted, particularly when software is in the cloud. Configurations may favour one vendor over another, or when testing fully managed, as-a-service offerings where the underlying configurations (processing power, memory, networking, etc.) are unknown. A like-for-like framework for testing allows configurations to be aligned across solutions.
Benchmarking is often done behind closed doors, but transparent tests provide vendors and customers with complete knowledge of the analysis, the results and how conclusions are formed. Testing environments should be devised to be as realistic and accurate as possible, so outcomes mimic a credible scenario.
The goal in API management performance benchmark testing is to provide evidence of how well each of the platforms withstand significant transaction loads. For large and complex organizations, it’s imperative to choose a system that can process large amounts of data. A benchmark report not only gives the customer evidence of performance but shows evidence of who is best in the market.
APIs are driven by performance and the reduction of latency they can offer enterprises. The demand for APIs is increasing, and in turn, older solutions are evolving to include microservices, whilst new vendors try to find their footing within the market.
Benchmark testing can offer vendors a verified, third-party endorsement using realistic environments to test performance and corroborate information in marketing material. GigaOm’s tests offer full disclosure, where other benchmarking companies conduct the tests behind closed doors. For business decision-makers needing support to promote an API solution within their company, these transparent and honest tests provide the evidence for a use case.