What is most valuable?
We modified our architecture to focus on microservices. This allows us to have a front door where we can separate and abstract services from APIs. We can use the API Gateway as the entry point to our enterprise. We can actually monetize our services, our APIs, and build a generic integration architecture using RESTful APIs.
How has it helped my organization?
It allows us to centralize the triple A functions: authentication, authorization, and audit. It gives us scalability. We can focus on delivery in a hybrid cloud model without exposing any of our back-end services to the market. It's very secure, very powerful, and has a great deal of complex functions that are native in the solution so that we don’t need to write code to do it.
What needs improvement?
They are getting there. Docker-based containers are there now, but it is not completed, I think. There are still some gaps between what we currently have and what the Docker model is. We are going for a pure cloud solution, so I want more emphasis on the hybrid model; deployment strategies that allow me to have on-prem and in-the-cloud interactions using the API Gateway, possibly even defining extended VIPs that we can load balance across the two platforms.
They are moving forward, of course, as they go away from the virtual clients and get to Hazelcast. The roadmap could be a little clear for us because I'm making decisions now for the next generation of architecture. It's a little hard to discern where they're headed.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is excellent. The product is very good.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Their capacity is a lot bigger than we are. We haven't reached a limit or even challenged it yet.
How is customer service and technical support?
The support has been excellent for us. We had quite a bit of hand holding to get started as you’d expect with any new technology, especially in an organization like ours, which isn't on the leading edge. We have moved from behind center to the leading edge of technology, as we are using this tool set in the cloud. We are using it with open-source software. We are using virtual machines. There are lots of opportunity here to learn things, and they helped us every step of the way.
Which solutions did we use previously?
We were using a Delphi application.
How was the initial setup?
I wasn't involved. I worked with the technician who adopted the technology. I conducted our schedule and attended all the sessions. I selected the technology for the enterprise. It is complex. It's a complex scenario but it's not cumbersome or overbearing. Anytime you adopt a new architectural model, you are going to have challenges. It's as good as things get when you start dealing with something this complex.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I was actually brought into my company to define an architecture that takes them forward because they had a very large ball of mud application that was a compiled executable, and they dumped it on file servers all around the country.
We’re the largest company in our market and the application we have been using is old. I came in and defined a forward-looking architecture. An API Gateway is the centerpiece of any microservices solution.
We looked at Axway, Forum Systems, and CA API Management. We also looked at IBM DataPower, which really wasn't for us. We had ruled out CA because it was too expensive. Then they came to the table and said, "Why not us?" Then we had that whole conversation. I asked if they could make it affordable, and they did.
Our most important criteria when choosing a vendor is their ability to carry the feature set, to support its implementation. Clearly price made a difference. They reached out to us with a number we couldn't refuse; so they made it attractive. We were about to pull the trigger on another API solution, and CA met us more than halfway.
We knew that this technology, which I've used before, was the best in the world. We just didn't think we could afford it. They made it affordable. How could we pass that up? It's absolutely the best technology in this space. There is no doubt about that. That's why we really wanted it, but we didn't think we could afford it. It has been the market dominator forever, and the API Gateway has the most features. It’s the most stable. CA has taken that to the next step. They know how to use the product. Every time we call, somebody's got an answer for us.
What other advice do I have?
Clearly this is the solution to have, but you need to have an internal appetite for the upcoming technology. It's not a keep-the-lights-on kind of tool set that would enable you to just turn it on and let it do its own thing. You need to have an administrator who understands it. There are so many opportunities to let it help you that don't come right out-of-the-box and grab you. You need to learn how it enables some of the tips, tricks and traps. Put a good engineer on it and give them the education they need. The device does so much.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Jan 03 2017