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InfoQ Homepage News Azure API Management Basic V2 and Standard V2 GA: Enhancing Scalability, Security, and Networking

Azure API Management Basic V2 and Standard V2 GA: Enhancing Scalability, Security, and Networking

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Microsoft recently announced the general availability of new pricing tiers for Azure API Management, Basic v2, and Standard v2. It offers scalability and flexibility to support various development projects, from small to enterprise-level applications.

Azure API Management is Microsoft’s API Gateway offering in the Cloud and provides customers with various tiers based on workloads and features. The GA release of new Basic and Standard tiers follows last year's public preview.

The v2 pricing tiers represent an evolution in Microsoft's approach to API management. The company supports existing classic pricing tiers while introducing features tailored to modern development practices. These tiers complement the existing Developer, Basic, Standard, and Premium tiers, ensuring users have various options to match their project's size and complexity.

The Basic v2 and Standard v2 tiers bring several key features:

  • Faster Deployment and Scalability: These tiers allow quicker setup and configuration of API Management instances, a crucial factor in agile development cycles. Developers can scale their API management resources efficiently to accommodate varying workloads.
  • Simplified Networking Options: Standard v2, in particular, offers enhanced support for outbound connections to network-isolated backends. This networking simplification facilitates secure and efficient integration with back-end services, which is essential for applications requiring high data security.
  • Enhanced Security with VNet Integration: VNet integration is a highlight of the v2 tiers, allowing for more secure API back-end connections. This feature is essential for applications where secure, private connectivity is paramount. While the Premium tier previously offered comprehensive VNet support, Standard v2 extends similar functionalities, albeit with some limitations, like the requirement that the API Management gateway and developer portal remain publicly accessible.

Alboz, a programmer, tweeted:

Big improvement with Standard v2. The missing VNet integration made it a no-go in v1.

In addition, when asking Toon Vanhoutte, an Azure MVP, about the new tiers, he responded:

Thanks to the new tiers, Azure API Management customers can now benefit from premium networking at a lower price.

Overview Azure API Management Tiers (Source: Tech Community blog post)

A critical aspect of the Azure API Management tiers is the focus on networking and security enhancements:

  • Private Endpoints for Inbound Connectivity: This feature supports secure client connections in API management, an essential consideration for developers looking to minimize public internet exposure.
  • VNet Injection: Available for Developer and Premium tiers, this service can be deployed into a virtual network. It’s beneficial for setting up public or private inbound modes, depending on the project's security needs.
  • VNet Integration for Standard v2: Unlike VNet injection, VNet Integration allows the API Management service to access services through a private IP in the connected VNet. This feature is crucial for projects requiring secure access to back-end services within a VNet.

The new v2 tiers, particularly Standard v2, are designed for production environments. They support network-isolated backends and offer scalability. This development is significant for teams looking for flexible, scalable solutions for managing APIs securely and efficiently.

Massimo Crippa, an Azure MVP from Codit, told InfoQ:

By leveraging a shared infrastructure, the V2 tiers bring additional flexibility to the table and give access to several cloud network layouts with a competitive pricing model.

However, while these tiers expand Microsoft Azure’s offerings, they also have limitations. For instance, specific features, such as API Management service configuration using Git, backup and restore functionalities, and built-in analytics, are not supported in the v2 tiers. Developers must consider these factors when choosing the right tier for their projects.

InfoQ asked Fernando Mejia, a senior program manager for Azure API Management, what plans are in place to support such migrations in the future, given that the existing API Management instances cannot currently migrate to the new v2 tier instances:

We plan to invest in migration from the v1 to v2 tiers as our last milestone after releasing the premium v2 preview and GA and improving parity between the v1 and v2 tiers.

In addition, InfoQ asked about the introduction of the v2 pricing tiers and their new capabilities; some features available in the v1 tiers are not supported in the v2 tiers. How does the product team plan to address the absence of features like API Management service configuration using Git, backup and restore API Management instances, and enable Azure DDoS Protection in the v2 tiers? Mejia answered:

Regarding missing features, this is the strategy:

Lastly, the new tiers are available in various Azure regions, and the pricing details are available on the pricing page.

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