Apache APISIX vs IBM DataPower API Gateway

January 31, 2024


When choosing an API gateway, many companies often compare Apache APISIX with IBM DataPower API Gateway, both of which are popular options offering a variety of features and functionalities. This article will explore their differences from multiple perspectives to help you better understand and select the API gateway solution that fits your needs.

1. Open Source and Community Support

Apache APISIX, an open-source project under the Apache Software Foundation, utilizes the Apache 2.0 license. This means that anyone can access, use, and modify it free of charge without licensing fees.

Currently, Apache APISIX is maintained by over 600 contributors from different global enterprises, and it has been widely validated in production environments with extremely high traffic and concurrency, making it highly stable and reliable.

For more case studies, check here.

Additionally, as an open-source project, Apache APISIX boasts a large and active developer community where users can easily access extensive support, documentation, tutorials, and problem-solving resources. This open and collaborative community environment aids users in better understanding and utilizing Apache APISIX.

2. Flexibility and Scalability

Apache APISIX offers outstanding flexibility and scalability. It supports extending its functionality through building plugins to meet specific enterprise needs. Users can write custom plugins using various programming languages and scripts such as Lua, Java, Golang, Python, and even WebAssembly (WASM). Furthermore, the community provides corresponding hooks for invocation, facilitating developers in building plugins.

In contrast, the scalability and customization of IBM DataPower API Gateway are relatively lower, making it challenging to meet some specific requirements.

Check docs about how to build plugins.

3. Modern Architecture

Apache APISIX is a cloud-native API gateway with a modern architecture designed to meet the needs of microservices and cloud-native applications. It can be easily deployed on bare metal, virtual machines, containers, and Kubernetes, and seamlessly integrates with Serverless platforms. Moreover, Apache APISIX is stateless, allowing it to scale up and down on demand, making it an adaptive and modern solution. In contrast, IBM DataPower API Gateway is primarily deployed on-premises, with relatively weak support for cloud and container deployments.

4. Ease of Use

Apache APISIX provides simple and intuitive basic concepts and offers users multiple control methods. These include a RESTful Admin API, a Standalone mode that only requires a single YAML configuration file, an ADC component that uses declarative configuration as the final state, and a more Kubernetes-native APISIX Ingress Controller and an observable Dashboard. Users can choose the configuration method that suits their preferences and needs, making Apache APISIX very user-friendly.

Check Quick Start Guide of APISIX.

5. Open and Inclusive Ecosystem

Apache APISIX comes with hundreds of commonly used plugins covering various categories such as protocol conversion, traffic governance, authentication, authorization (e.g., OpenID Connect), security, observability (e.g., Grafana Stack, ELK Stack), Serverless, and more.

Additionally, it can easily integrate with services from internal systems and popular cloud providers, providing users with more functionality and innovation. This makes Apache APISIX a powerful and flexible API gateway capable of meeting various complex business requirements.

For more plugins and docs, please check here.

6. Free to Use

Apache APISIX is completely open-source and free to use, available for both individual developers and enterprises at no cost. In contrast, IBM DataPower API Gateway usually requires payment for licensing fees and maintenance costs, which may pose a burden on the budget. For budget-constrained enterprises, Apache APISIX offers a more economical yet reliable option.

In summary, Apache APISIX has significant advantages in terms of open-source community, community support, flexibility, modern architecture, ease of use, open ecosystem, and usage costs. If you would like to learn more about API7 Enterprise based on Apache APISIX, please contact us.

Apache APISIXIBM DataPower Gateway