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API Gateway

What is an API Gateway?

An API gateway is a central point for managing all traffic to a set of APIs or microservices. In a typical API gateway deployment, all external (Internet) traffic is routed through the API gateway to internal APIs or microservices. This centralization provides a powerful mechanism to implement cross-cutting functionality required by all backend APIs or microservices such as authentication, rate limiting, and analytics.

Main takeaways

  • API gateways focus on routing external traffic to internal APIs or microservices ("North/South" traffic)
  • API gateways implement cross-cutting functionality needed by all APIs or microservices

Impact on Today

Today's cloud-native architectures consist of dozens or hundreds of microservices, many of which are exposed directly to the Internet. Giving end users a central point to access these microservices is critical:

  • Consolidates common functionality into a central point, reducing duplication
  • Provides a single point of access, simplifying end client architecture and improving security

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