API Monitoring: Ensuring Optimal Performance and Reliability with Kentik
What is API Monitoring?Benefits of API MonitoringWhy Should You Measure and Monitor APIs?Why NetOps, DevOps, and SRE Professionals Need to Monitor APIs and API EndpointsExamples of API Monitoring ApplicationsExamples of API Monitoring Use CasesMonitoring REST APIs: Essential for NetOps, DevOps, and SRE SuccessREST API Methods: GET, POST, PUT, and PATCHAPI Authentication TestingResponse Codes and API MonitoringThe Importance of REST API Monitoring for NetOps, DevOps, and SREsAPI Monitoring Best PracticesHow Does API Monitoring Fit Into the Broader World of Digital Experience Monitoring and Application Performance Monitoring?Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM)Application Performance Monitoring (APM)How Kentik Can Help Monitor APIs
In the digital business world, APIs (application programming interfaces) are the backbone of communication between applications, websites, and services. They enable businesses to integrate their services with others, streamline operations, and provide a seamless user experience.
As APIs become increasingly critical to modern businesses’ success, so does the need for effective API monitoring. In this article, we explore the definition of API monitoring, its benefits, and why NetOps, DevOps, and SRE professionals need to monitor APIs and API endpoints. We will also discuss specific examples of API monitoring and conclude with a section on how Kentik can help monitor APIs.
This article is a general overview of API monitoring — for a step-by-step tutorial, see our blog post on “How to Monitor APIs with Kentik”.
What is API Monitoring?
API monitoring is the process of continuously tracking the performance, availability, and functionality of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and API endpoints to ensure optimal operation and meet the requirements of dependent applications. In addition, it aims to detect issues like slow response times, errors, and downtime, alerting the relevant teams to address these problems before impacting end-users or other services.
Benefits of API Monitoring
Monitoring APIs offers a variety of benefits, including:
Improved reliability: Regularly monitoring APIs helps identify and resolve issues before they escalate, ensuring that APIs remain available and reliable for the applications and services that depend on them.
Enhanced performance: By proactively detecting performance bottlenecks and addressing them, API monitoring helps optimize API response times and ensures a seamless user experience.
Better security: Monitoring APIs can also identify security vulnerabilities or unauthorized access attempts, allowing teams to take appropriate measures to safeguard their services and data.
Data-driven decision-making: API monitoring provides valuable insights into API usage patterns, enabling businesses to make informed decisions about scaling, resource allocation, and feature development.
Why Should You Measure and Monitor APIs?
Monitoring APIs is essential for ensuring the performance, reliability, and security of the APIs that underpin various applications and services. By proactively monitoring APIs, businesses can:
Maintain a seamless user experience: As APIs serve as the backbone for communication between applications and services, any issues with APIs can directly impact the end-user experience. Monitoring APIs helps ensure that they function optimally, providing a seamless experience for users.
Optimize resource allocation: API monitoring offers valuable insights into APIs’ usage patterns and performance. This information can help businesses make data-driven decisions about scaling, resource allocation, and feature development, ensuring that APIs continue to meet the needs of dependent applications and services.
Prevent downtime and service disruptions: By monitoring APIs, businesses can proactively identify and address issues before they escalate, reducing the risk of downtime or service disruptions that could impact end-users and other services.
Maintain security and compliance: Monitoring APIs can help identify potential security vulnerabilities or unauthorized access attempts, allowing businesses to take appropriate measures to safeguard their services and data. In addition, API monitoring can help ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations.
Why NetOps, DevOps, and SRE Professionals Need to Monitor APIs and API Endpoints
For NetOps, DevOps, and SRE professionals, API monitoring is crucial to ensure the smooth functioning of their applications and services. Some key reasons include:
Ensuring seamless integration: As more organizations adopt microservices and cloud-based architectures, integrating various services through APIs becomes crucial. Monitoring these APIs helps ensure that they are working as expected and that any issues are resolved quickly.
Proactive issue resolution: By continuously monitoring APIs, professionals can detect and address issues before they impact end-users or other services, reducing downtime and improving overall system reliability.
Optimizing resource allocation: API monitoring provides insights into APIs’ performance and usage patterns, helping teams make data-driven decisions about resource allocation and scaling.
Compliance and security: For organizations subject to strict regulatory requirements or handling sensitive data, API monitoring can help ensure compliance with industry standards and identify potential security vulnerabilities.
Examples of API Monitoring Applications
In practice, API monitoring tools and solutions can be used for various applications, including:
Monitoring API response times to identify performance bottlenecks and optimize the overall user experience.
Tracking API error rates to detect issues in the underlying infrastructure, such as server outages or network issues.
Analyzing API usage patterns to identify popular endpoints, informing decisions about feature development and resource allocation.
Identifying security vulnerabilities or unauthorized access attempts to protect sensitive data and maintain compliance with industry standards.
Examples of API Monitoring Use Cases
API monitoring is essential for ensuring APIs’ performance, reliability, and security that underpin various applications and services. Here are some examples of use cases for API monitoring using Kentik Synthetics’ web tests:
E-commerce platform: In an e-commerce platform, numerous APIs handle tasks such as user authentication, product catalog management, shopping cart operations, and payment processing. API monitoring helps ensure that these APIs function optimally, providing a seamless user experience, preventing cart abandonment, and maintaining customer trust.
Financial services: APIs are critical in financial services, enabling features like account management, fund transfers, and stock trading. Monitoring these APIs ensures that transactions are processed promptly, data security is maintained, and regulatory requirements are met.
Social media platforms: Social media platforms rely on APIs for features like user authentication, content sharing, and messaging. Monitoring these APIs helps to maintain a fast and reliable user experience, detect and prevent potential security breaches, and optimize resource allocation for handling large volumes of data.
IoT devices and smart home applications: APIs are crucial for communication between IoT devices, cloud services, and user interfaces. Monitoring these APIs helps to ensure seamless integration, efficient data transfer, and the overall reliability of connected devices and smart home applications.
Logistics and supply chain management: APIs in logistics and supply chain management enable real-time tracking, inventory management, and route optimization. Monitoring these APIs helps to identify potential bottlenecks, ensure timely delivery of goods, and optimize overall operational efficiency.
Health care systems: Health care systems rely on APIs for electronic health records, appointment scheduling, and communication between various healthcare providers. Monitoring these APIs ensures data integrity, privacy, and timely access to critical information.
In each of these use cases, utilizing Kentik Synthetics’ web tests for API monitoring allows NetOps, DevOps, and SRE professionals to proactively identify and address issues before they impact end-users or other services. This helps maintain high performance, reliability, and security for the APIs and their associated applications and services.
Monitoring REST APIs: Essential for NetOps, DevOps, and SRE Success
REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs have become a popular architectural style for designing networked applications due to their simplicity, flexibility, and scalability. Monitoring REST APIs is crucial to ensure optimal performance, reliability, and security, making it a top priority for NetOps, DevOps, and SRE professionals. Let’s look at the various methods supported by REST APIs, API authentication testing, response codes and how these elements relate to API monitoring with Kentik Synthetics.
REST API Methods: GET, POST, PUT, and PATCH
REST APIs support various methods, including GET, POST, PUT, and PATCH, which correspond to different actions on the resources they expose. Each method serves a specific purpose:
GET: Retrieves data from a specified resource without altering its state. GET requests fetch information from an API, making them essential for monitoring and data retrieval.
POST: Creates a new resource or submits data to be processed by the API. POST requests are crucial when testing the performance and functionality of APIs responsible for data creation or submission.
PUT: Updates an existing resource with new data. PUT requests are vital for monitoring APIs that handle data modification or updates, ensuring the desired changes are applied correctly.
PATCH: Applies partial updates to a resource, modifying only specified fields. PATCH requests are used to test the efficiency and functionality of APIs that manage partial data updates.
API Authentication Testing
API authentication testing verifies the security of an API by ensuring that only authorized users and applications can access its resources. Kentik Synthetics supports various authentication methods, including API keys, OAuth, and custom headers, allowing teams to test the security of their APIs and identify potential vulnerabilities.
Response Codes and API Monitoring
HTTP response codes provide essential information about the outcome of an API request. For example, successful requests typically return codes in the 200 range, while client and server errors return codes in the 400 and 500 ranges. With Kentik Synthetics, you can specify which response codes represent success or failure, enabling you to tailor monitoring to your specific API requirements.
Kentik Synthetics also offers tests that return data on whether a test exceeded thresholds for latency, packet loss, jitter, HTTP latency, response time, and transaction time. Monitoring these key performance indicators helps NetOps, DevOps, and SRE professionals ensure their APIs are performing optimally and proactively address any issues that arise.
The Importance of REST API Monitoring for NetOps, DevOps, and SREs
By leveraging Kentik’s Synthetic Monitoring tests, NetOps, DevOps, and SRE professionals can effectively monitor their REST APIs and maintain optimal performance, reliability, and security. Comprehensive REST API monitoring enables teams to:
- Proactively identify and resolve issues before they impact end-users or other services.
- Optimize resource allocation and make data-driven decisions about scaling and feature development.
- Ensure compliance with industry standards and safeguard sensitive data.
- Validate API authentication and maintain robust security measures.
With Kentik’s powerful synthetic monitoring capabilities, NetOps, DevOps, and SRE professionals can proactively monitor their REST APIs, enabling them to address issues before they impact end-users or other services. By leveraging Kentik’s monitoring tools, businesses can ensure that their APIs continue to function optimally, resulting in a seamless user experience and a more efficient, reliable, and secure digital ecosystem.
API Monitoring Best Practices
Effective API monitoring is essential to maintain APIs’ performance, reliability, and security that underpin various applications and services. By following best practices, businesses can ensure they are proactively monitoring and optimizing their APIs for the best possible user experience. Here are some API monitoring best practices to consider:
Set clear performance benchmarks and service level objectives (SLOs): Establish performance benchmarks and SLOs for your APIs to define the expected level of performance, availability, and reliability. These benchmarks can help you set monitoring thresholds, prioritize issues, and evaluate the overall health of your APIs.
Regularly review and update API monitoring tests and configurations: As APIs evolve and new features are added or modified, it’s essential to keep monitoring tests and configurations up-to-date. Regularly reviewing and updating your API monitoring setup will help ensure that you are testing the right aspects of your APIs and catching potential issues early.
Integrate API monitoring with incident management and resolution processes: API monitoring is most effective when integrated with your organization’s incident management and resolution processes. By linking API monitoring alerts to incident management tools, you can quickly identify, prioritize, and resolve issues before they impact end-users or other services.
Monitor both internal and external APIs: It’s important to monitor both internal APIs (used within your organization) and external APIs (used by third-party services or applications). Monitoring both types of APIs ensures that all components of your digital ecosystem function optimally and helps identify potential bottlenecks or dependencies.
Leverage a combination of active and passive monitoring techniques: Active monitoring (probing APIs with synthetic transactions) and passive monitoring (analyzing real API traffic) each have their own advantages. Utilize a combination of both techniques to comprehensively understand your API performance and detect issues that may not be apparent with only one method.
Ensure comprehensive coverage of API endpoints: Ensure that your monitoring strategy covers all critical API endpoints, including less frequently used or less visible ones. Comprehensive coverage helps you maintain the reliability of your entire API ecosystem and reduces the risk of undetected issues.
Share API performance insights with stakeholders: Regularly share API performance data and insights with relevant stakeholders, including developers, product managers, and business leaders. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement and helps ensure that API performance remains a top priority across the organization.
By implementing these API monitoring best practices, businesses can proactively monitor and optimize their APIs, ensuring a seamless user experience and a more efficient, reliable, and secure digital ecosystem.
How Does API Monitoring Fit Into the Broader World of Digital Experience Monitoring and Application Performance Monitoring?
API monitoring is a crucial component of both Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) and Application Performance Monitoring (APM).
Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM)
DEM focuses on monitoring and optimizing the end-to-end user experience across various digital channels, including web, mobile, and APIs. API monitoring plays a vital role in DEM by ensuring that APIs, which often facilitate communication between applications and services, perform optimally and maintain a seamless user experience.
Application Performance Monitoring (APM)
APM focuses on monitoring the performance of applications and services, identifying bottlenecks, and ensuring optimal resource utilization. APIs often serve as the building blocks for these applications and services, enabling different components to communicate and exchange data. By understanding and addressing the performance of APIs, businesses can optimize the flow of information and transactions within their digital ecosystem, ultimately leading to improved user experiences and more efficient operations.
How Kentik Can Help Monitor APIs
Using Kentik’s monitoring tools, businesses can ensure that their APIs function optimally, resulting in a seamless user experience and a more efficient, reliable, and secure digital ecosystem.
Kentik offers a comprehensive suite of synthetic monitoring tests, including API monitoring capabilities, to help businesses ensure the performance, availability, and security of their APIs. Kentik’s synthetic tests include:
HTTP(S) or API tests: These tests monitor a specified web server’s response to an HTTP GET request, providing insights into the status code, average time to the last byte, and response size.
Autonomous Tests: Kentik’s autonomous tests intelligently select the IPs to test from or toward based on the actual traffic patterns on your network, ensuring efficient usage of test credits. These tests can be performed between agents and a set of autonomously selected IPs in specified ASNs, CDNs, countries, regions, or cities.
DNS Server Grid tests: These tests simultaneously perform hostname lookups on multiple user-specified DNS servers, revealing the resulting IP addresses and resolution times. This enables the identification of non-performant DNS servers.
Web Tests: Kentik offers a range of web tests, such as Page Load and Transaction tests, which can be utilized to monitor APIs in various scenarios. Page Load tests use Headless Chromium to simulate a full browser page load, providing detailed performance metrics. Transaction tests run a series of actions in Headless Chromium based on a Google Puppeteer script to monitor more complex, multi-step API interactions.
Kentik’s synthetic monitoring capabilities let NetOps, DevOps, and SRE professionals proactively monitor the performance, availability, and security of their APIs and API endpoints. This ensures a seamless user experience, optimizes resource allocation, and safeguards the reliability of their applications and services.