Enhancing API Observability Series (Part 1): Metrics Monitoring

March 5, 2024


What Is API Observability and Why API Observability?

API observability refers to the comprehensive and real-time monitoring and analysis of an API's operational status, performance, and health. It includes three key components: metrics monitoring, log analysis, and tracing analysis.

API observability is crucial for ensuring stable operation, optimizing performance, and troubleshooting of APIs. Insufficient API observability can lead to performance degradation and, an inability to timely identify and address performance bottlenecks, resulting in decreased user experience.

Additionally, troubleshooting becomes challenging due to a lack of sufficient information to quickly locate and resolve issues. Moreover, the lack of transparency hinders understanding the operational status and health of the API, making it difficult to make informed decisions.

Key Metrics of API Observability

In enhancing API observability, we need to focus on the following key metrics:

  1. Request Success Rate: Measures the success rate of API requests, reflecting the API's stability and availability.

  2. Response Time: Measures the speed at which the API responds to requests, reflecting the API's performance and efficiency.

  3. Error Rate: Measures the frequency of errors in API requests, reflecting the quality and stability of the API.

  4. Request Throughput: Measures the number of requests processed by the API per unit of time, reflecting the API's capability of concurrency handling.

  5. Status Code Distribution: Analyze the distribution of API response status codes to understand the operational status and performance of the API.

  6. Resource Utilization: Monitors the resource usage during API runtime, such as CPU, memory, network, etc., to ensure rational resource utilization.

API Observability

Methods to Enhance Observability through Monitoring Metrics

Regarding monitoring metrics, here are some methods to enhance API observability and their specific examples:

1. Selecting Appropriate Monitoring Tools:

For example, using Prometheus and Grafana for monitoring. Prometheus is an open-source monitoring and alerting tool that can collect various data sources (such as API performance metrics, system resource utilization, etc.) and provide powerful query and analysis capabilities. Grafana, on the other hand, is an open-source data visualization tool that can integrate with data sources like Prometheus to help teams visualize and analyze monitoring data through rich charts and dashboard templates.

2. Defining Clear Monitoring Metrics:

For an e-commerce API, key metrics may include order processing speed, payment success rate, inventory change frequency, etc. Once these metrics are defined, reasonable thresholds and alerts can be set for these metrics to ensure timely detection and handling of performance degradation or anomalies.

3. Setting Reasonable Thresholds and Alerts:

If the API's response time exceeds the set threshold (e.g., 500 milliseconds), configure alert notifications so that the team can be informed and intervene promptly. Such alert mechanisms help the team respond quickly to potential issues and minimize the impact when faults occur.

4. Utilizing Real-Time Monitoring and Dashboards for Data Analysis:

Build real-time monitoring dashboards through tools like Grafana to display key metric data of the API. Team members can view the operational status and performance data of the API at any time, quickly identify issues, and take corresponding optimization measures. Additionally, analyzing historical data can help the team understand the performance trends and potential issues of the API, providing data support for future optimizations.

5. Connecting Business Metrics with API Performance:

For e-commerce platforms, API performance indicators (such as response time, error rate, etc.) can be correlated and analyzed with business indicators (such as order volume, user activity, etc.). By comparing these data, the impact of API performance on the business can be discovered more accurately, thereby pinpointing and optimizing key performance metrics more precisely.

6. Introducing Machine Learning Algorithms for Prediction and Anomaly Detection:

Utilize machine learning algorithms to predict and detect anomalies in API performance metrics. Through training and learning from historical data, the model can predict future API performance trends and issue alerts promptly in case of anomalies. This machine learning-based monitoring method helps the team proactively identify issues and take preventive measures accordingly.

How Does API7 Enterprise Support Monitoring Metrics?

API7 Enterprise seamlessly integrates monitoring dashboards by default, providing users with comprehensive and detailed API monitoring and analysis capabilities. Through this feature, users can not only monitor real-time performance metrics of the API, such as request success rate, response time, error rate, etc., but also deeply analyze API calls, API's operational status and resource utilization.

Furthermore, API7 Enterprise supports users to flexibly configure alerting policies based on specific business needs and API characteristics. This means that once the performance metrics of the API deviate from the normal range or reach preset thresholds, the system will automatically trigger alert notifications, ensuring that users can promptly be informed and take corresponding measures to address potential issues. This integrated monitoring dashboard not only enhances the observability of APIs but also helps users better manage and maintain APIs, ensuring their stable operation and efficient performance.

API7 Enterprise Observability

Case Study One: Optimizing Key Metrics to Improve API Performance

Background and Challenges

An enterprise observed longer response times while using APIs, impacting user experience and business development. To enhance API performance, optimization and monitoring of key metrics are necessary.

Optimization Measures and Monitoring Methods

  • Analyzing the distribution of API response times to identify performance bottlenecks.
  • Optimizing database queries and caching strategies to reduce response times.
  • Employing Prometheus and Grafana for real-time monitoring and data analysis.

Results and Benefits

Through optimization of key metrics and real-time monitoring, significant improvements were achieved in API response times, enhancing user experience and business efficiency. Additionally, data analysis uncovered other potential issues, providing a basis for future optimizations.

Case Study Two: Design and Application of Real-time Monitoring Dashboard

Case Description and Requirements

An enterprise requires real-time monitoring of API's operational status and performance to promptly identify and address issues. Requirements include displaying key metrics, setting up alert notifications, and providing visual analysis capabilities.

Design and Implementation of Real-time Monitoring Dashboard

  • Identifying key metrics for monitoring and determining display methods.
  • Designing and building dashboards using tools like Grafana.
  • Configuring alert notifications and automated workflows.

Results and Benefits

The design and application of a real-time monitoring dashboard enable the enterprise to quickly view and analyze API's operational status and performance data. Additionally, alert notification feature aids in promptly identifying potential issues and taking corresponding measures. Overall, the real-time monitoring dashboard enhances the enterprise's API observability and operational efficiency.


API gateway, as a key tool with metric monitoring functionality, brings many benefits to enterprises. Through the metric monitoring functionality of the API gateway, enterprises can monitor key performance metrics of APIs in real-time, such as request success rate, response time, error rate, etc., to timely detect potential issues and respond quickly. Metrics monitoring also provides in-depth insights into the operation and health of APIs, supporting business decision-making, and improving accuracy and efficiency.

API7 Enterprise is a full API lifecycle management solution that provides an integrated monitoring dashboard and allows flexible configuration of alerting policies to respond quickly to abnormal situations, ensuring the stable operation of APIs. This monitoring functionality not only enhances the observability of APIs but also helps manage and maintain APIs efficiently, providing a solid foundation for enterprise development.

  1. How Does API7 Enterprise Achieve Customized Monitoring?

  2. Monitoring API Metrics: How to Ensure Optimal Performance of Your API?

  3. Monitoring Microservices with Prometheus and Grafana

MonitoringObservabilityAPI Metrics