We have already established the importance of APIs in today’s digital world (read about it here). With APIs playing such an important role in keeping us connected, it’s necessary to maintain the API’s performance as well as availability. There are multiple aspects to consider when monitoring APIs, from integration to performance issues, therefore a general monitoring strategy that only accounts for up-time is not ideal.
What can go wrong?
APIs power complex integrations and allow disparate applications to work together to build a more interactive and connected digital environment. It allows data exchange between services but such connections and integrations can create multiple points of vulnerability in the network. There are several things that can go wrong when using APIs:
- The API endpoint may be experiencing downtime causing the application to fail.
- The integration may not be fully functional or could be throwing errors.
- There could be an issue with the data processing that is slowing down the application.
To understand this better, let’s take an example of an ecommerce website that uses the APIs provided by their shipping and delivery partners. Here, APIs are used to integrate the relevant service providers to ensure data is exchanged and processed seamlessly. There are different applications that work in the background to speed up order processing so when an order is placed, there are multiple processes that are triggered.
The website passes the order data to an application that provides shipping rates from multiple delivery partners. Once the shipping carrier is selected and the order is shipped; the shipping and tracking data is synced between all the involved applications allowing the customer to track the order status.
Each order is handled in the same manner, one after the other. So, if there is an error or bug at any level, it can impact the entire flow of order processing and eventually cause a bottleneck that slows down the application.
Why do you need a monitoring strategy?
With the surge in IoT applications, APIs have laid down the foundation for a fully inter-connected world where everything from household appliances to cars and other smart gadgets can talk to each other. API monitoring helps maintain this network of devices by tracking performance and alerting availability issues.
There can be a direct impact on digital experience if there is a performance issue with the APIs you provide or the third-party APIs that you have integrated with existing applications. API monitoring can help identify points of failure so that the end user is not affected. It makes it easy to test API functionality and keep track of the health of third-party APIs to ensure the applications are integrated correctly. An ideal API monitoring strategy should address the following points:
- Are the APIs available and running?
- Is the data returned valid and in the defined format?
- Does the data collected through API monitoring relevant for performance analysis?
- Are there appropriate alerts set up to warn developers/ops about an imminent issue?
Catchpoint provides API monitoring using the API test monitor. The user can analyze the performance of the APIs they provide and identify availability issues. The data collected through the API monitoring tests can be valuable when trying to understand performance trends across different time periods.
You can also make use of the APIs provided by Catchpoint to extend the monitoring capabilities on your application. There is a range of API integrations you can choose from which makes it easy to manage and handle the data generated by the tests set up for monitoring. We discuss the need for API monitoring and the importance of continuously testing for performance and availability issues, in detail in our new eBook – “API Monitoring: A Primer”. To learn more you can download a copy here.