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Google launches Apigee X API management tool

Google's new Apigee X API management system helps users develop and manage their API strategies and enjoy more security, performance, networking and app-dev capabilities.

Google has released a new version of its API management system called Apigee X that brings together Google Cloud's expertise in AI, security, developer tooling and networking.

Overall, the new release brings enhanced performance, security and developer productivity with both new AI-driven capabilities and support for Google's AppSheet no-code application development environment, said Amit Zavery, vice president, general manager and head of platform at Google Cloud.

Apigee X provides several new security-tightening capabilities for users, including simplifying the use of the Apigee platform with Google Cloud services such as Cloud Armor, Cloud Identity, ReCaptcha, DLP (Data Loss Prevention) and CMEK (customer-managed encryption keys), Zavery said.

In addition, Apigee X enables users to host APIs in 24 regions and provides caching across 93 points of presence using Cloud CDN for enhanced performance and availability. It also applies AI and machine learning (ML) to automate several tasks for API operations and API security, and provides self-service capabilities for provisioning of new organizations, environments and regions. The name "Apigee X" is related to Apigee, which Google acquired in 2016, celebrating its 10th anniversary in business this year.

"Google's next-generation API lifecycle management solution emphasizes security and automation, increasingly important as enterprises, looking to benefit from the API economy, open up sensitive data vulnerabilities," said Charlotte Dunlap, an analyst at GlobalData in Santa Cruz, Calif. Apigee X is also on Google's Business Application Platform, which consolidates Apigee API management, the AppSheet no-code app development platform, and business analytics technology, Dunlap added.

As customers move more assets to online and digital environments, they need API management to provide them the ability to build applications and connect them together, Zavery noted.

API management platform

Applying AI and ML

Google is using its AI services to predict anomalies on API calls and ferret out any future potential problems users might run into in terms of performance or scalability. For security, Google applies its ML expertise to help find any kind of security issues up front, so the system can block malicious traffic and prevent potential problems. The company also has applied predictive analysis to the platform.

Meanwhile, "anybody's application developer or software engineer can build an application and APIs together through our no-code platform, which is AI-powered," Zavery said.

And given that most enterprises will have lots of complex legacy systems, Apigee X helps to connect and extend them and provide an interface, he said.

This is where no-code comes in handy. "Any line-of-business user or business analyst using Apigee and a back-end service API can build applications for these enterprise platforms," Zavery said. "They don't have to deal with any code. They don't have to understand how it works or what the pieces are, other than that service is available as an endpoint. And then we provide all the back-end services."

Facing the competition

Apigee's primary competitors include IBM Connect, Salesforce's MuleSoft, Axway Amplify and Tibco Cloud Mashery, among others.

This is about shoring up Google's development platform and helping it be more competitive in the cloud services space.
Charlotte DunlapAnalyst, GlobalData

However, "at a higher level, this is about shoring up Google's development platform and helping it be more competitive in the cloud services space, especially in areas such as Business Application Platform, where it's going up against Microsoft Power Platform," Dunlap said.

Apigee is "probably unique" in terms of having a combination of application development with a no-code platform, connectivity to back-end services, API management, integration and workflow automation, Zavery said.

"If you think of the broad platform, Microsoft has similar kinds of capabilities with what they deliver with their Azure platform and their Power [Platform] offerings," he said. "[But] Microsoft has kind of done it in pieces as an offering. We're connecting all these things together more in a seamless fashion."

User's perspective: Pitney Bowes

That is what Pitney Bowes wants, said James Fairweather, senior vice president and chief innovation officer. The Stamford, Conn., company currently uses Apigee and is looking forward to deploying Apigee X.

Pitney Bowes adopted Apigee because of its prominence in the API management market, Fairweather said. "They [also] had great technology capability, offered multi-cloud deployments and the ability to put their proxies close to our workloads," he said. "It also enabled us to manage a single platform at scale across all of our businesses. Finally, they showed an appetite to innovate with us. When we had new needs, they worked with us."

Pitney Bowes is a heavy user of Apigee's Shared Flows technology. "So that key things we do, we code once and reuse it everywhere," Fairweather said.

In addition, Pitney Bowes built integrations between its identity system provider -- Okta -- and Apigee, where they use a unified token to provide context and security to authenticate to their APIs. Thus Fairweather said he is looking forward to using the new security capabilities in Apigee X.

The Pitney Bowes API strategy consists of three parts. The first step was to align its technology assets under a common set of APIs so that internal teams could share technology capability without having to understand the complexity of the underlying runtimes.

The second plank in the strategy was to build common integrations to core reusable services associated with Pitney Bowes' applications, such as common subscription, authentication, entitlement and provisioning APIs. Finally, the company sought to identify capabilities that could lead to new products.

"We were looking for services and technology that we could expose -- that others could use in their business -- and that we could monetize," Fairweather said.

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