Is Full Lifecycle API Management Really Dead?

Ming Wen

Ming Wen

September 18, 2023


In a recent LinkedIn post, Mark O'Neill, Gartner's Chief of Research for Software Engineering, highlighted the transition towards API management and discussed the evolution of Full Lifecycle API Management. This prompts industry professionals and interested parties to question the reasoning behind Mark's statement and whether Full Lifecycle API Management is truly obsolete. To gain insight into this matter, Ming Wen, PMC Chair of Apache APISIX and CEO and Co-founder of API7, shares his perspective on the subject.

Is Full Lifecycle API Management Really Dead?

In my understanding, the concept of full lifecycle API management still exists, but users no longer require a comprehensive solution from a single vendor. Users now have the freedom to select the best vendors in various domains such as API design, API portal, and API runtime, and integrate them into a unified solution. In this way, we make every module pluggable and changeable, saving great cost and effort in maintaining it, especially when something goes wrong in some modules.

API7, positioned as an API management platform, plays a crucial role in assisting users with the management of the entire API lifecycle because it provides a centralized, comprehensive, and efficient solution that saves time, and resources, and ensures scalability and flexibility. From design and deployment to monitoring, security, and documentation, API7 empowers users with a robust set of tools and capabilities, ensuring seamless API lifecycle management and fostering the success of API-driven initiatives.

Why Do Users Consider Total Solutions Less?

For enterprises, users have always required full lifecycle API management, and many companies are currently integrating multiple tools to build their own solutions rather than searching for a total solution.

There are several reasons for this trend:

  1. API management is getting increasingly important. As businesses continue to embrace digital transformation and leverage the power of APIs to connect systems, enable integrations, and drive innovation, effective API management becomes a critical component of their overall strategy.

  2. The vast API landscape, with tens of thousands of APIs across industries, poses challenges for API maintenance and management. Imagine a scenario where a company adopts a comprehensive solution from a specific vendor. If the solution fails to meet this enterprise's requirements, the enterprise will have to replace the runtime component, and even redesign and reconfigure the entire API ecosystem, including the portal. This situation not only demands a substantial allocation of human resources, materials, and financial investments from a company but also disrupts the regular operations of the business department, causing significant inconvenience.

Consequently, enterprises increasingly seek modular and vendor-agnostic solutions that offer flexibility and interoperability. By adopting a pluggable and detachable architecture, organizations can replace specific components with alternative options when they fall short of expectations. This approach not only helps reduce costs but, more importantly, ensures business continuity without involving multiple departments or disrupting normal operations.

While performance and functional requirements are typically met, enterprises often place a greater emphasis on other critical aspects like security, monitoring, and traffic management.

Enterprises prioritize security to safeguard sensitive data and mitigate risks. Robust measures like authentication, encryption, and threat protection ensure data integrity and prevent unauthorized access. Monitoring capabilities play a vital role in maintaining a healthy API ecosystem. Proactive monitoring detects and addresses issues before they escalate, enabling smooth operations and uninterrupted service delivery. Investments in monitoring tools allow for performance management, bottleneck identification, and API infrastructure optimization.

Traffic management is another key area for resource allocation. Effective strategies handle varying API requests, preventing overload and ensuring consistent performance. Mechanisms like rate limiting, caching and load balancing optimize resource utilization, providing reliable services to users. Through these efforts, enterprises maintain secure data, proactive issue resolution, and efficient resource allocation.

API7 Enterprise is an out-of-the-box solution for the entire API lifecycle, including powerful functions such as API gateway, developer portal, documentation, mock testing, etc. It excels in robust security, proactive monitoring, and efficient traffic management.

API7 Enterprise seamlessly integrates with popular systems like Datadog, Prometheus, and Grafana, enabling comprehensive visibility and analysis. FIPS compliance ensures security and compliance for government agencies. API7 Enterprise supports a multi-layer network, providing data protection and data compliance for your clusters in different parts of the globe.

API7 Enterprise introduces traffic labeling, accurately tagging and categorizing traffic for easy identification, classification, and routing. Besides, it supports canary release and A/B tests, providing built-in observability for users. In addition to the built-in 100+ plugins, API7 Enterprise also supports custom plugins. With these capabilities, API7 Enterprise offers organizations a trusted and reliable solution for top-tier API management and security.

What Are the Main Problems of Federated API Gateway?

In the Hype Cycle for APIs, 2023, Gartner observes that "Federation coordinates multi-vendor API gateways. This enables businesses to gain the advantages of native API technologies in multi-cloud and on-premises environments while minimizing the complexity of governance and administration. Federated API gateways help businesses comply with industry regulations regarding data location and API standards, have an agile architecture for innovation, and better assimilate systems acquired through mergers and acquisitions."

One of the main hurdles faced by current API gateways is the absence of standardized protocols and differing capabilities among various cloud vendors. This divergence poses a significant obstacle to achieving unified management through federated API gateways. Although most gateways on the market are capable of working with other systems or components seamlessly, integrating additional features or advanced functionalities becomes increasingly challenging due to the distinct offerings provided by each vendor.

It is important to continue striving for standardized protocols and enhanced interoperability among API gateways to facilitate seamless integration and unified management across different cloud environments.

What Are the Strengths of API7 Under Such Trend?

API7 is an API management platform for enterprises based on Apache APISIX -- the performant open-source API gateway.

API7's growing popularity among enterprise users is validated by the Gartner report, further solidifying our position in the market. Organizations are increasingly turning to API7 due to the exceptional functionalities offered by our API management platform with a strong API gateway - API7 Enterprise and API portal - API7 Portal. Our firsthand observations align with the findings presented by Gartner.

API7 Enterprise encompasses all the remarkable features of APISIX while offering seamless migration to the API7. It boasts compliance with various industry standards, including GDPR, FIPS, and SOC 2 Type 1 Audit certification. The enterprise-oriented API7 Enterprise comes equipped with advanced functionalities such as RBAC, multi-workspace support, audit logs, traffic labeling, and SOAP protocol conversion. It facilitates full lifecycle management through integrated API design tools and platforms, ensuring efficient development and deployment.

By focusing on our core strengths and delivering exceptional products, we can cater to the needs of an expanding customer base. The rising significance of APIs, coupled with the desire for flexibility and avoidance of vendor lock-in, presents a wealth of opportunities for startups and innovators. Open-source technologies and standard protocols further facilitate this trend, enabling seamless integration and interoperability.

Obeying the new trend and leveraging the strengths of different manufacturers, API7 aims to collaborate and integrate with leading API design and testing tools. This strategic approach aligns with the recommendations outlined in Gartner's report, emphasizing the importance of leveraging existing tools and technologies to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. By embracing this approach, API7 can provide customers with a streamlined and comprehensive API management experience, backed by industry-leading tools and standards.


In today's business landscape, many companies are veering away from all-in-one solutions and instead opting for componentized tooling. This trend opens up new avenues for startups and innovative API solution providers, granting them greater opportunities. By concentrating on their specific strengths, these providers can fully leverage their capabilities and contribute to the thriving API industry. Concurrently, there is a growing preference for federated API gateways, reflecting a broader shift towards distributed systems. As this transformation takes place, API security, monitoring, and traffic management continue to be paramount concerns, underscoring the significance of safeguarding sensitive information.

These emerging trends offer invaluable guidance to industry experts as they navigate the intricate API landscape, tackle challenges, and seize the opportunities that APIs present. Under such new trends, API7 will continue to exert its strengths in API runtime and API portal, striving to provide more comprehensive and innovative solutions for users. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, API7 remains dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of its users, delivering cutting-edge solutions that drive growth and success in the dynamic landscape of API integration.

GartnerFull Lifecycle API ManagementFederated API Gateway