PSC Tech Talk: Azure API Management

In this presentation Alex Zakhodin (@AZakhodin) talked about his experience implementing Azure API Management within a large client.

The situation

The client is a globally focused customer currently providing certification services to their clients. They wanted to be able to provide a new service to their clients so that they are able to access their certification data in real time through a consumable, monetized service.

Client challenges

The client’s main application and multiple data sources are on premises and would not be moved to the cloud, so a hybrid application needed to be created and managed.

The client wanted to be able to securely manage traffic accessing the APIs. They needed to be able to track not only the number of users calling the API but control the amount of access over time.

The payment model proposed for this service also needed a way to track everything to a discrete level; the number of hits and the volume of data provided.

PSC solution

PSC implemented a solution using Azure API management which enabled the client to Abstract the data, Govern the process, Monitor the usage and provide the flexibility to on-board new services at any time.

The Azure API Management platform creates an API proxy model to facilitate the monitoring of API traffic through a centralized set of end points. This allows for developers to expose their internally hosted services without risk of exposing a direct connection. It allows for administrators to configure access to the data (down to users), provide limits to the amount of data accessible over a period of time, and to then create accurate reports on the volume of usage for billing.

The platform provides the ability to track traffic geographically and determine volumes and accessibility. For a globally application the end points and data can be made available via geo-replication.

For developers the API management portal provides the ability to not only track usage but also see how the APIs are performing.

To take advantage of the cost pricing models available in Azure, the wherever possible Azure Functions were used. In this way the client is only billed for usage. The direct cost per transaction means that the cost billed to the end client per transaction is easily manageable and competitive.

Conclusion

The Azure API Gateway platform is a mature, enterprise-ready, capability which allows for the creation of a hybrid cloud/internal architecture for companies to monitor, track and monetize their services in a secure and consistent manner.

 

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PSC Group Tech Reviews

One of the coolest parts of my job is being an enabler of others. Since the inception of the PSC Labs we have given the opportunity for developers/managers/designers to give what we call “Tech Reviews” and share some of the cool things they have worked on in recent months.

The tech review platform serves many purposes (beyond the free pizzas for those attending in person). The reviews enable:

  • Cross sharing of ideas and experience across the company
  • The opportunity for those unaccustomed to giving technical presentations to learn from others in a safe friendly environment
  • Sharing some of the cool stuff we are playing in PSC Labs and sharing some thoughts and ideas on the future solutions we believe PSC will be able to provide our customers

In just over two years we have had nearly 30 tech reviews broadly crossing almost every aspect of the work we do at PSC Group. We have also had nearly 20 different speakers which is amazing. I was concerned when we started that it would always be the same few people giving the presentations but I was very happily proven wrong. The most any one consultant has done is three. Topics have varied from PGP Encryption, to Azure API Gateways, to formula management using PLM software, to the process of building a HIPAA compliant network on AWS for a Medical practice.

We use Skype for Business to share the presentation with those who are unable to attend in person. We record the presentation and post it internally to the Office365 Video portal so that anyone can use it for reference at a later date.

In the coming weeks I am going to start to blog about some of the Tech Review we have had in the past and the new ones as they are happening. I really want to share the ideas and concepts and demonstrate the breadth of interesting work we get to do at PSC.