Layer7 API Management Review

Provides API security as well as performance and flexibility, on-premise, on-cloud, hosted

What is our primary use case?

Security. We have a lot of APIs, a lot of web services inside Motorola, and we wanted to have a solution which can secure all our APIs.

So far it has been doing well. But we are looking towards microservices technology. And we heard here, at this CA World conference, that they are coming up with a microservices API gateway. That is something that we would be interested in looking into. 

But as far as far as the classic API gateway goes, I think it is definitely doing well. We were bought by Lenovo, and eventually Lenovo, which did not have this solution, has also been convinced to use it. So overall, as one company, both Lenovo and Mortola will be using this product.

How has it helped my organization?

It can be scaled, especially the current version. It can be scaled as we need. And it can be used in different regions. We have different data centers in the U.S. and Beijing. We use it on-premise, on-cloud, and it can be hosted and used at any place and scaled across the regions. That's the primary benefit we have seen; other than providing security and the performance.

What we had before, Forum, obviously was not reaching our performance requirements. This really helped us, because every API that we get from external or from internal goes through this layer first, and it should not be a bottleneck. That was the problem we had before. Now it's no longer a bottleneck. It's more like a throughput, this process is less than 10 milliseconds for any particular API. 

So the number of transactions that we are able to process per second and the number of instances that we can use are benefits. 

Even before microservices API gateway came into the picture, two years back, CA really worked with us and helped us to get hourly pricing, so that we could spin up, spin down instances as we need, like during Thanksgiving or Christmas. So the product, by itself, is great, and the flexibility that CA has given us out of this product is really great.

What is most valuable?

From the security point of view it provides lot of features, as well as performance. I think it's 4000 transactions per seconds, per node, is what the performance is. So those two are major features that we have been looking for. It does both in a great way.

What needs improvement?

Microservices gateway is one thing in which we thought would be really good. It has come up, we just have to see how it's going to play out. Obviously, it's not going to replace the classic gateway, although we want to see that something in the microservices gateway that can actually replace classic gateway. That would be really nice. Right now, I don't think it's completely replaceable. It's just a part of it, but eventually they're saying that it will replace. So one day, where we can have a microservices gateway and we will not need the classic gateway at all, that is what we want to see.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have never had any issues, to be frank. From the time that we had it installed we have never had any issues, whether in the non-prod or in production. So I would give it top rating from the stability point of view.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As mentioned, that's one of the great features, the scalability. We were able to scale up in incidences as needed, and scale down. So again, completely flexible. Top-rate, from the scalability point of view.

How are customer service and technical support?

We use technical support only when we do the upgrades. My team, we always try to be at the latest and greatest version. Whenever they release, the next week we are already there, both in test and production. So when there's a new release, obviously there are some important technical features of which we are not aware. To learn about them we use the technical team. 

But other than that, from our point of view, as I mentioned, it has been pretty straightforward and pretty stable. We don't have a need to reach out to them, except when there are new features and we are migrating.

They're good. They have been really helping us. As I mentioned, CA as a whole has been a great partner for us and has been helping as we need. Whenever we need their support, they are there. Whenever we need information, they are there.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using Forum before, but we wanted a much more flexible solution that scales and has better performance. That's why we chose CA's API Gateway, to resolve our security, and provide the best performance for all the APIs that we have.

How was the initial setup?

It wasn't really all that complex. What we had before was really pretty complex. When compared to that, what we have with CA is not.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Forum, obviously. Layer 7 is one we looked into. Axway. IBM, because we use it a lot for e-commerce, so that is an API gateway we have been looking into.

What other advice do I have?

Among most important criteria when selecting a vendor, the first thing is pricing. After that features, obviously, and then the performance and stability.

We would definitely recommend implementing Layer 7. The only reason you might not implement it is if you are looking at open source, but open source comes with its own issues and cons. But if the cost is not an issue, Layer 7 is the top and I would definitely recommend it to anybody.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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