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API gateway comparison

Apigee vs. Kong

Are you finding it challenging to choose a vendor for your API gateway, and are you struggling to make a decision? Our team of experts has conducted a comprehensive analysis and we are here to assist you in finding the best API gateway that suits your needs.

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200% QPS compared to Kong
Decent latency
Low latency
93x faster than Kong
Rely on extensions from Google
Support third-party plugins, but most plugins are closed-source
100+ open-source plugins
Plugin upgrade hot reloading
Custom development
Hard to perform custom development tailored to your needs
Support custom developments using Go or WebAssembly
Support custom developments using Java, Go, Python, and WebAssembly
Deployment methods
Traditionally on-prem, now focus on Google Cloud
On-prem, multi-cloud, any cloud, hybrid cloud
On-prem, multi-cloud, any cloud, hybrid cloud
Vendor lock-in
Operate based on Google Cloud, highly tied to Google platforms
The open-source project is under the control of Kong Inc. and the license can be changed
Open source, donated to the Apache Software Foundation; never worry about vendor lock-in
User support
Little support for basic pricing levels
Limited availability of open-source assistance
Active community and issues can be resolved in time on Slack and GitHub

What to consider most when choosing the API gateway

1. High Performance

Kong and Apigee are two popular API gateway solutions on the market. Apigee was designed to turn legacy monoliths into APIs that can be consumed by third parties, focusing less on microservices and internal APIs. Due to its legacy architecture, Apigee's performance is relatively low.

On the other hand, Kong is designed to handle large volumes of API traffic efficiently, the performance of which is higher than Apigee. Nevertheless, there is another new solution that has better performance than these two: Apache APISIX.

According to the analysis comparing APISIX 3.0 and Kong 3.0, the performance of APISIX 3.0 is about 140% of Kong 3.0 when plugins are not used, and the performance of APISIX 3.0 is about 200% of Kong 3.0 when plugins are used.

Built on top of NGINX and LuaJIT, APISIX has a single-core QPS of 23,000 with an average delay of only 0.2 milliseconds. It is an open-source API gateway known for its exceptional performance, scalability, and flexibility.

2. Scalability

Apigee, although a popular API gateway, is often seen as tightly integrated with the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and may have limitations in terms of legacy solutions. This is restrictive and less cost-effective for complex microservices use cases. Moreover, Apigee contains a set of separate disparate products, among which Apigee Edge and Apigee X are built on different platforms (it has started to integrate those products, but it's still in an immature stage). Therefore, it's difficult to scale Apigee with ease.

Kong is used by developers and software developers to build portals to APIs, organize them, and adjust for scaling. As the number of Kong instances increases to handle increased traffic, managing and configuring multiple instances may become more complex and require careful coordination. Besides, it is a little complicated as there is some lagging connection capacity that exists.

Apache APISIX emerges as a standout option due to its active development and open-source nature. It has gained momentum in terms of popularity, boasting a higher growth rate and a greater number of contributors compared to Kong.

APISIX supports tens of billions of API calls per day for its large customers. Additionally, APISIX supports 100+ out-of-the-box open-source plugins and allows for customization and extensibility, enabling organizations to tailor the gateway to their specific scalability needs.

3. Features

Kong and Apigee are both API management solutions with a variety of features. However, Apigee may have a higher level of deployment complexity due to its complicated configuration with the database Cassandra and it has less focus on microservices and internal APIs, which are mostly tied to the Google platform.

Kong has a large and active open-source community that contributes to its plugins and extensions. Nevertheless, Kong's community is less active than APISIX, and the support for users is not as timely and high-quality. And those most useful features are only available in Kong's enterprise versions, such as plugin ordering, deep WebSocket and OpenID Connect support, and FIPS 140-2 compliance, which are all supported by APISIX.

Apache APISIX is an open-source microservice API gateway with a well-designed architecture suitable for cloud-native applications, microservices, and containerization. As a fully open-source cloud-native API gateway, APISIX can be self-managed no matter on-prem or on multi-cloud and hybrid cloud.

As one of ASF's top open-source projects, Apache APISIX has many features like dynamic routing, hot reloading, canary release, rate limiting, and service observability. Where APISIX shines is in its extensive feature set that caters to the needs of modern organizations.

4. Vendor Lock-in

Considering vendor lock-in, Apigee is a proprietary solution, customers may have limited flexibility in customizing and extending the platform. Migrating away from Apigee to another solution may involve significant effort when switching vendors. This could limit flexibility and portability for organizations looking to switch or migrate to other platforms.

Kong, while offering a self-hosted open-source solution, is owned by a company that could potentially change its licensing or close source in the future. This could lead to vendor lock-in, where users are unable to switch to another provider without significant effort.

For those looking for an alternative that minimizes vendor lock-in, APISIX is an excellent choice. APISIX is an open-source API gateway that is owned by the Apache Software Foundation and is licensed under the Apache 2.0 License.

This means that APISIX's source code is publicly available and can be freely used, modified, and distributed by anyone, providing users with the assurance that they can continue to use and modify the software without being locked into a specific vendor's services.

5. Ecosystem and Growth

Comparing Apigee, Kong, and APISIX, Apigee is not so competitive in ecosystem and growth. Because it's refactoring its disparate products, Apigee is immature whether in on-premise, multi-cloud, or hybrid cloud environments.

As an open-source API gateway, Kong is better than Apigee in ecosystem support and growth, but it's limited in the availability of open-source assistance compared with APISIX.

In contrast, Apache APISIX has emerged as the most active open-source API gateway project with a rapidly growing ecosystem. APISIX has maintained an excellent growth rate and has even surpassed Kong in terms of the number of contributors.

Its active community of contributors and dedication to technological advancements further solidifies its position as a compelling choice for API management and integration needs.

6. Customer Satisfaction

Customers of both solutions appreciate the comprehensive documentation, support, and training offered by their companies.

Apigee provides service based on the pricing level, which means the basic pricing level results in limited service. Kong is known for providing a range of services and features that cater to its enterprise customers.

In comparison, APISIX, a promising option, has received positive feedback from its users from various industries and countries such as Amber Group, Airwallex, zoom, vivo, iQIYI, etc. Its high performance, scalability, and plugin-based architecture have made it a popular choice among developers and businesses alike.

Many customers migrate from Kong to APISIX because APISIX is more lightweight and significantly improves performance. The community's engagement and continuous improvements contribute to an ecosystem that is responsive to user needs and fosters a positive customer experience.

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