API sprawl describes two intertwined challenges that arise as organizations implement digital transformation: exponential growth in the number of APIs and the physical distribution of APIs across multiple architectures and teams.

Many factors contribute to API sprawl. Some of the most common include:

  • Hybrid infrastructure – Today 81% of enterprises operate across three or more architectures including public clouds, on‑premises data centers, and edge infrastructure.
  • Microservices architectures – The growing adoption of microservices architectures leads to the proliferation of API endpoints as new services come online.
  • Continuous software deployment – Developers can rapidly churn out dozens of APIs, or many versions of a single API, over a short period of time.
  • Abandoned APIs – As developers move on to support and work on other projects, they stop managing and maintaining the APIs they created.
Why Is API Sprawl a Problem?

API sprawl introduces significant operational and security challenges for enterprises. As API endpoints proliferate across multiple teams and environments, securing and governing APIs becomes a monumental challenge. For enterprises, API sprawl often results in hidden costs – such as lower developer productivity, increased rework, slower reviews – that are not easily measurable until it is too late.

Some of the key challenges of API sprawl include:

  • Lack of visibility – Hybrid architectures make it extremely difficult to get a unified view into API traffic and configurations.
  • No clear source of truth – Developers struggle to discover APIs and up-to-date documentation.
  • Decreased reliability – Misconfigurations become more common, resulting in outages.
  • Elevated security threats – Unsecured API endpoints are easy targets for attacks.

You can learn more about API sprawl, and why it’s a significant threat, in our blog 5 Ways to Fight API Sprawl (And Why You Should Care).

How Can NGINX Help?

API Connectivity Manager, part of F5 NGINX Management Suite, enables fighting API sprawl and managing APIs at scale with five strategies:

  • Implement an API governance strategy
  • Create a single source of truth for APIs
  • Ensure proper versioning and documentation
  • Provide metrics and visibility
  • Apply API security at scale

API Connectivity Manager was also designed with the API developer experience at its core. It enables infrastructure teams to deploy high-performance API gateways and developer portals. Developers can rapidly publish and manage APIs and documentation or discover and onboard APIs into applications.

API Connectivity Manager is a key part of the NGINX Secure API Connectivity solution, which provides these benefits:

  • Scalability – Deliver uncompromised performance, reliability, and security with NGINX Plus as an API gateway
  • Observability – Monitor API traffic across teams and environments to identify configuration errors and security threats
  • Governance – Ensure consistent oversight while empowering API developers to manage their APIs with fine-grained controls
  • Security – Defend APIs against common and advanced threats with out-of-the-box protection against the OWASP API Security Top 10

Start a 30-day free trial of NGINX Management Suite, which includes API Connectivity Manager and Instance Manager.