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Co-Founder at a tech vendor with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 20
Gives us an organizational framework for APIs, but CMS is not easy to customize
Pros and Cons
  • "The gateway is the most valuable feature because it makes it possible for us to gather all traffic into one proxy, which is a good thing."
  • "We tried to use the portal, but we decided that it wasn't enough. The content management system (CMS) is not easy to use if you want to customize things, and it's hard to get someone who has the knowledge to work with the CMS."

What is our primary use case?

The use case is that the organization I work for wanted to work with APIs but they didn't actually know what to do. They knew that it was a good thing to have an API management product. We are now trying to establish an API-first approach for both internal and external APIs, and we use it to provide financial information via APIs.

The deployment is a hybrid. We deploy the gateways in our own OpenShift cluster, provided by a vendor, but not on the cloud. And we have the RHOAM (Red Hat OpenShift API Management) solution for the management part, and that runs on AWS.

How has it helped my organization?

Since we introduced the gateway, the API management has given us the ability to get on top of things. It's not just the infrastructure but also the implicit organizational process. Now, things have to go through our API management team, the one that handles the API gateway. And that means we are able to get a handle on what is actually about to be designed and what is allowed to be published. That's the main benefit. The path for how something gets published in our organization has to go through the part of the organization that's actually managing the API gateway. That means we are able to discuss how to design our APIs to make sure they will be a good fit with all the other APIs that we provide.

What is most valuable?

The gateway is the most valuable feature because it makes it possible for us to gather all traffic into one proxy, which is a good thing.

It also gives us the possibility of using different policies, but we haven't done that to a very big extent.

The comprehensiveness of Red Hat's API management is important, although we are only using a small part of it, the gateway part. I believe it is important and that we will utilize it even more.

What needs improvement?

We tried to use the portal, but we decided that it wasn't enough. The content management system (CMS) is not easy to use if you want to customize things, and it's hard to get someone who has the knowledge to work with the CMS. The CMS is not good because it's hard to see what's about to be released. Also, you can't test the whole thing at one stage, rather you have to update different fragments of the content, and there's no way to look at the whole picture before you release it. You can end up limbo with some of the content in development, so we decided to build our own portal.

Also, the use of Liquid scripts is not that nice. It does its job, but it hasn't been well documented and it has cost us quite a lot of hours just to understand how to do things. When you do understand how to do them, it's quite easy, but it hasn't been well documented.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using 3scale API Management for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not been in the new environment for that long time. We've been up for about a month and we don't have that much traffic on that one. But the stability seems fine. The stability in the new environment looks promising.

In the older environment, we have had some issues but they are not because of the gateway. They were caused by a lack of resources in the OpenShift data center. The cluster didn't have enough resources and we had some downtime. 

How are customer service and support?

When it comes to support cases, to technical feedback and real support—and not just, "Oh, it would be good to have this feature"—but actual help, there have been a lot of tasks ping-ponging, and that has not been a nice experience. It has taken a lot of time to get small things done, both on our side and from Red Hat.

If they really wanted to support us, it would have been better if they had actually scheduled a meeting with us. The pre-sales team was super at supporting us, but when we bought the product and still needed some support, it was really hard to get it through support cases.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Neutral

How was the initial setup?

The deployment process is not that complex, but we have had issues with operators that have been hard to configure with our GitOps strategy. We want to deploy everything based on Argo CD with GitOps, and it hasn't been possible to do that with the operator part of the gateway. We've run into a few issues there.

We did the deployment in another part of the organization at first, and now we have done it in our target environments, with our target vendors. I wasn't involved in the first round, with version 2.5, but I have been involved in deploying the later version.

The time it took for deployment doesn't have as much to do with Red Hat as it has to do with our setup with GitOps and our vendors. The installation process is quite fast, but figuring out the issue with the operators and why that is not working has cost us quite a lot of time. But overall, the installation part is quite smooth.

We have one gateway for customer-facing, external APIs, proxying all the traffic from the customers, partners, external parties. And after some consideration and talking back and forth with Red Hat, we decided to have an internal gateway for internal APIs and that one is available for all internal applications. Internal applications are internal to the organization, but they don't have to be in the same network. They could be on an external network. And we may not have made the right decision there. We had a bit of a problem understanding why we should have internal APIs. Because we are going with API-first, we believe that we should externalize all APIs.

What was our ROI?

I don't have exact figures, but we have definitely had return on investment using 3scale.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't think that 3scale is very expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were choosing between Apigee and 3scale. The feature set of Apigee was a lot larger and we thought that it was best-in-class, but 3scale also looked promising and the price was lower and we are also really a Red Hat shop. All of that pulled us in the direction of 3scale.

What other advice do I have?

If you want to significantly impact how your developer portal will work, then you shouldn't think about 3scale as your base for the developer portal. If you just want something out-of-the-box, then 3scale would be sufficient. The consideration should mainly be around the portal.

Overall, it's the organizational things that make you succeed or not. We could probably have managed the API transformation path that we're into, trying to go to API-first, even without the gateway, but it would be a bit harder because it wouldn't be a natural thing to have someone proxying all the things that go not only into the infrastructure but also into the organization. That's the crucial part for success with API management. The product has helped us to get there, but theoretically, it could have been done without the gateway as well. It helps, but it's not a silver bullet.

Setting the portal aside, since we have decided not to use it, and just rating the parts that we are using, I would give 3scale a seven out of 10. But we haven't even tried the Fuse part. That could be a strong addition if you want the ability to integrate as well.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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