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The performance of your APIs is a critical factor that influences the success of a project. After implementation, you will want to constantly monitor your APIs. You may want to monitor response time on a regular basis or you may have more extensive monitoring scenarios.
MetricFire specializes in monitoring systems, including APIs. You can use our product with minimal configuration to gain in-depth insight into your environments. If you would like to learn more about it, please book a demo with us, or sign on to the free trial today.
This article will do a deep dive into what to consider while choosing a monitoring tool, and what our favorite API monitoring tools are. Let's get started!
Important considerations when choosing an API monitoring tool
Before you choose a monitoring tool for APIs, you have to understand the important factors behind tool selection. This list will help you to organize your selection criteria and make the right choice for your use case.
Ease of use
When you want to monitor hundreds of APIs, you have to consider ease of use. You will want to write several different request payloads to test a single API and do the same for the rest. Managing those different testing scenarios can be very daunting if your tool doesn’t have good usability.
When the tool detects a problem, you will want to check the monitoring status and take action as soon as possible. If a monitoring tool provides an intuitive dashboard, where you can monitor different APIs, it will boost monitoring productivity and visibility. In addition to the visual support, you will want to get alerts to your email or phone.
Chances are, you are not alone in your team, and you will want to share an update from a monitoring tool with your teammates. It is important for a monitoring tool to support a collaborative environment with effective account management and shared workspaces. With this feature, you can track changes colleagues made and add comments to their work.
You may not want to be an early adopter when you choose a monitoring tool for your company. When a tool is new to the market, it is difficult to find useful tips and information on the Internet. Limited community support usually means a lower quality product. Always make sure to check how widely a tool is being used and if you can easily find tips.
An isolated tool cannot thrive. Companies already have their own set of IT resources, and when they choose a new tool, they want it to be integrated into the existing platforms. When you choose an API monitoring tool, make sure to check if it can interact with your core resources.
You may want to use your monitoring tool to communicate with the APIs that handle critical operations and sensitive data. This is why security is such an important consideration because you need to prevent your APIs from being exposed to unwanted third parties. In addition to access control, you shouldn’t allow abnormal requests to hit your APIs for testing.
When you have to monitor tens or hundreds of APIs that have the ability to grow, scalability is a must-have. Sometimes, ease of use and scalability do not go together. Take some time to check if you can grow with the tool you chose before making a final call.
The best tools out there come with a fee. You need to check the price tag and communicate with your team to agree on the cost. Don’t rush to pay the bill, since some tools offer a trial period. For example, you can start with a free trial with MetricFire, a provider of hosted monitoring tools.
Common API monitoring tools
There are a wide range of API monitoring tools on the market. Let’s have a look at each of them and explore their core features.
The company made its debut in 2012 with its powerful monitoring tool. Since then, its products, Hosted Graphite, Hosted Prometheus, and Grafana as a Service, have been adopted by major companies such as Salesforce, Nielsen, Accenture, and many more. Among its tools, Hosted Graphite provides strong support for API monitoring. MetricFire offers a free trial, so try it to have a closer look.
- Various hosted options - hosted, on-premise, or hybrid
- Beautiful visualization on the dashboards
- Powerful integration into other major platforms such as AWS, Azure, Heroku, logging tools and more
- Not just for API but for broad monitoring coverage for an application or a system.
- Alerting and real-time monitoring
Postman is one of the most popular API tools on the market. Many developers use it to develop, test, and monitor APIs. You can write a list of different requests for a single API and examine the response and its contents. Furthermore, you can import API documentation files such as Swagger doc to include explanations for your APIs. It is a great tool, but it does not provide a dashboard where you can monitor API performance in a single spot.
- Intuitive user interface
- Strong community support
- Supports alerting and integrations into Bitbucket, DataDog, Github, Dropbox, Slack and many more
- Shared repository to collaborate with your colleagues
- Collection template support in JSON
API Fortress was established in 2015 to help its customers test their APIs efficiently by automating testing processes. The firm not only provides API monitoring but also facilitates API testing, load testing, mocking, and integration into other services such as BitBucket, Azure DevOps, Jenkins, Splunk, and Elastic Kibana.
- Automated test as part of CI pipeline
- Continuous monitoring for internal APIs
- Hosted, self-hosted, or hybrid hosted options
- Testing script support to reuse in other projects
- Turn any database into an API to support data-driven API testing
APImetrics specializes in API monitoring, providing its service to hundreds of users across the world. Their customers are in diverse industries such as Fintech, Enterprise, IoT, and Telco. They provide API-focused features such as API testing, API monitoring, API performance monitoring, API compliance monitoring, API security monitoring, and API benchmarking.
- Real-time monitoring and alerting
- Provides 80+ locations for API testing and monitoring
- Supports metrics to measure latency, network effects, uptime, SLAs, and more
- Multi-step calls to meet your API request scenario
- Easy to set up and import API collections and documents
If you’re familiar with Swagger, you might have heard about SmartBear, a main supporter of the open-source and tool sets for API development. SmartBear has a monitoring suite called AlertSite that provides performance monitoring for web applications, websites, and APIs. Thanks to the wide variety of use cases, you can monitor an extensive range of resources.
- Real-time alerts and monitoring with optimized user experience
- Create monitoring dashboard with a few clicks
- Own +350 global nodes to measure accurate performance
- Integration into AppDynamics, PaperDuty, Splunk, Perfecto Mobile, and Ready API
- Extensive monitoring to test the performance of web applications and websites
Most common use case for each tool
We looked at the five most common API monitoring tools, and although some of them might seem quite similar, each one works best for a particular set of use cases.
MetricFire: This monitoring tool provides the most extensive monitoring features for APIs and infrastructure monitoring. Since it offers flexible hosted options, you can let them maintain your monitoring tools while you focus on more important tasks. MetricFire’s tools were designed to meet the needs of a simple individual use case as well as more complex scenarios from large organizations. In addition, if you also want an intuitive and visually-appealing dashboard, MetricFire is the way to go. If you want to see how it works, you can book a demo with MetricFire.
Postman: Although you can use it to monitor your APIs, Postman becomes more powerful when you use it solely to develop and test APIs. You can easily download the free version and install it on your laptop or PC. You can also define API calls programmatically by retrieving specific variables from your previous response and use them for the next request to another API.
API Fortress: This tool shares many common features with other monitoring tools. But one thing that caught our attention was that it allows for data-based API testing. If your testing scenario is data-intensive and stored in DB, this tool can be a better choice for your use case.
APIMetrics: This API-focused monitoring tool is all about APIs. The monitoring solution provides complete features and it was noteworthy to see that they put an emphasis on compliance with your clients. If you think you have to meet regulatory standards or requirements from your clients, you can use one of the tool’s metrics to quickly provide proof for performance.
AlertSite: This monitoring tool focuses on simplicity and ease of use when it comes to starting and building your monitoring metrics. If your monitoring case is not heavily complicated, AlertSite can be a good choice. It also supports monitoring for web applications and websites. You may want to use it if you potentially want to use the tool to monitor your web performance.
The best thing you want to do is, after reading the post, to give a tool of your choice a try and make sure it fits your use case. You can start a trial with MetricFire and you can also check out the free trials for the other products.
In this article, we looked at the major considerations to keep in mind when choosing an API monitoring tool. We highlighted five common API monitoring tools and touched on their core features.
Among these tools, MetricFire provides a Hosted version of Prometheus which includes storing your data for two years. MetricFire also includes a complete visualization tool, Grafana, for dashboarding, alerting, and analytics. You can use the product with minimal configuration to gain in-depth insight into your environments. If you would like to learn more about it, please book a demo, or sign on to the free trial today.