What Is APIOps? (In Less than 500 Words)
Let’s dispense of introductions and keyword stuffing and get right into the answers you’re looking for — APIOps is a relatively new term that describes an approach to building APIs that combines:
- The automation, collaboration, quick iteration and focus on quality from a thriving DevOps culture.
- The single source of truth and emphasis on CI/CD pipelines from GitOps.
APIOps is often implemented and practiced by a platform engineering team, or an API platform team, with the sole responsibility of creating and maintaining the infrastructure and guardrails in which developers can build and deploy APIs using highly iterative and automated workflows for the entire API life cycle.
While this might seem daunting at first, APIOps is definitely achievable even when your operations engineers are more generalists than API aficionados. To get started, APIOps benefits greatly from a contract acting as the single source of truth for your APIs, using a specification like OpenAPI. This contract defines both the functional and operational traits of an API as it goes through its life cycle, and is managed with git to ensure it’s the single, auditable source of truth for your organization as it tries to use this API to solve a business problem.
Once your organization codifies the design, your frontend and backend teams can start writing client- and server-side implementation in their chosen languages/frameworks. The platform or operations engineers can generate declarative configurations defining how your Kubernetes cluster and microservices should behave once deployed.
That can even include everything required to deploy the Kubernetes gateway itself, which is exactly what Kusk does.
And anyone can leverage additional tools, capable of reading your OpenAPI design, to create artifacts like up-to-date documentation or mocked data to unblock your teams while they implement in parallel. Your platform/operations team can equip developers with self-service tools and automation, like quality, security, and compliance validation directly in their IDE (integrated development environment), to simplify their jobs even as more cognitive load shifts to the left.
What’s the Value of APIOps for Kubernetes?
As with DevOps and GitOps, APIOps creates a standardized process and collaborative culture to accelerate how your organization creates APIs and maintains them throughout its customer/end-user life cycle.
Some key benefits include:
- Developers work in parallel, not blocking each other, thanks to OpenAPI-based tools for mocking.
- Shifting security, governance, and code quality to the left without overwhelming developers with codified standards and validators.
- A single source of truth for the entire API life cycle, from front/backend developers to operations/platform engineers, to understand what makes an API successful in production.
- Automation of transitions between different phases of the API life cycle, enabling highly iterative workflows without the manual involvement of operation or platform engineers to “keep the wheels turning.”
That’s how APIOps helps your organization create APIs faster, with higher quality code, while encouraging a collaborative culture.