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Consulting architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Stable and easy to set up but might be too costly for small businesses
Pros and Cons
  • "API Connect's most valuable feature is its ability to act as a gateway. It's very easy to configure security and everything else in it. You don't have to kill yourself implementing custom configurations."
  • "One thing about API Connect that could be improved is the security schemes. There are so many security schemes, and from a product perspective, IBM could improve the user experience of the configuration security scheme."

What is our primary use case?

My clients mainly use API Connect as an API gateway. A lot of the backend services need to be exposed to other parties, mobile devices, interfaces, etc. 

What is most valuable?

API Connect's most valuable feature is its ability to act as a gateway. It's very easy to configure security and everything else in it. You don't have to kill yourself implementing custom configurations. Sometimes the customer wants to incorporate their identity provider, and API Connect handles that without any problems. 

What needs improvement?

One thing about API Connect that could be improved is the security schemes. There are so many security schemes, and from a product perspective, IBM could improve the user experience of the configuration security scheme. It does what it is supposed to do, but it could be easier to configure. The junior developers sometimes find it a bit confusing to configure even though they understand the concept.

And another thing is that I don't know the security policies that we have. For instance, we have a service account, which is needed to connect to some other services. So in those cases, I find it a bit hard to tweak things in the API gateway. And one could argue that it is not the right thing to do with the API gateway. It has a different place to be, which could be why they haven't put it there. But sometimes, you have to tweak around that, and I find it a little bit hard to do that. So if they could accommodate that in there, it would be better for some people.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for the last four years on and off. The last time I deployed it was a few months ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

API Connect is reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

API Connect is scalable, but I've found that everything is more stable if you reset the server every 40 or 45 days. Once, we had an incident in which we were unsure about what happened, but it crashed after 60 days. We didn't know the reason. It could've been a mistake in the product implementation. We don't know what happened, but this particular incident occurred two times. After that, we began restarting it every 45 days. So that's the resilience part, but the scalability part works without a problem.
Another thing is that we don't know all of the use cases that we have worked on before, so we didn't go for automatic scaling of the API gateway. That's done in the backend services. So I'll be honest to say that we haven't explored the auto-scalability of API Connect much. Instead, we put that on full throttle. This can cause a bottleneck if we play around with it, so we didn't take many risks. We put that on full throttle and did the tweaking in the backend services. That's how we did it in the past.

How are customer service and support?

I've interacted with IBM support many times. They're good. They get back to you within 12 or 14 hours after you initiate a ticket. IBM support will get on a call with you if needed and guide you. It's no problem. They provide the same level of support to everyone. 

How was the initial setup?

Setting up API Connect is a straightforward process. Maybe it seems more manageable because I've been taking baby steps rolling it out for the last few years. So when we talk about the latest version, it's not a headache if you follow the documentation. Even for an operations person, it's a piece of cake. 

It takes a minimal amount of time to deploy as a product. Including the processes for the organization, installing the product could take half a day. And when we ask the Ops team to do it, it usually takes half a day for them to do it. They have to document the IP and keep a log of what they're doing. 

API Connect itself does not require any maintenance. But when our teams write the business logic into it, that usually requires some support and maintenance. So a team of two people looks after the whole setup. And they work in shifts. Usually, it works on an onshore-offshore model. So one person from the onshore team will be supporting it for some time, and when he goes off, the other person comes up. 

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

API Connect's license cost could be a little lower. But, unfortunately, there aren't many open-source API gateways. Ideally, some new developers could come up with a minimum-functionality open-source solution. When I look for open-source resources that work with API C or Apigee, I find very few that can do that. It's not available or very popular in the open-source community. I've only worked with large companies that are capable of affording these licenses.  A better option for smaller companies might be to have two or three developers build a custom API gateway. That might be more affordable for them.

What other advice do I have?

I rate API Connect seven out of 10. I would recommend it to customers if they have the money to pay for it, but it depends on the ecosystem. So, as a consultant, I would recommend API Connect if the customer already has an IBM license. Big companies generally have IBM middleware running somewhere, so they might have a license for these things. In cases like this, we would usually recommend API Connect for their purposes rather than spending more money on a different product. And if a client is building something entirely new and has to get a new license, we'll compare the options, including Apigee, MuleSoft, API C, or a custom solution. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Solution Architect - SAP Banking at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Seamless integration with backend systems, but it needs to be more flexible
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the seamless integration with backend systems."
  • "It does not have all of the industry-standard solutions available in PO and it is not plug and play, so we have to do a lot of development."

What is our primary use case?

We are using SAP Process Orchestration to connect our on-premises safety banking systems. In the middle, we have another layer called SAP POL, which is the Process Object layer. That builds the actual orchestration and persistence of data with respect to the business objects. This is in case anything fails across multiple steps. 

For example, if we have seven steps and the process fails in the third step, we need to start processing from the point of failure, rather than from step one. So, there is a primary user for the process orchestration, which is the SAP POL. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the seamless integration with backend systems.

What needs improvement?

SAP has decided to move everything to the cloud, which means that we have to invest more. New investments would include things like redevelopment and data transfer. In general, we are not satisfied with the roadmap.

I would like to see more flexibility. It does not have all of the industry-standard solutions available in PO and it is not plug and play, so we have to do a lot of development.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SAP Process Orchestration for about nine years.

How are customer service and technical support?

We are satisfied with technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use another solution prior to SAP Process Orchestration but we are considering moving to something new, like Mulesoft.

SAP is doing some arm-twisting, saying that they are ending the support for this product and that we have to move to a cloud-based platform. This means that we have to redo all of our on-premises development and transition to the cloud. There are some small solutions that we can migrate but we are not convinced that this is the only way to go. This is the reason that we are researching alternatives.

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

The pricing for this solution is fine.

What other advice do I have?

At this point, I'm not sure what advice I would give to those people who are researching this type of solution. I am looking at other products because I want to see how good they are. It may turn out that SAP Process Orchestration is still much better, which means that I would continue with it. There are pros and cons with all vendors, so it may not be worth switching if you are already using this.

At this point, I am generally satisfied with SAP, but the roadmap is something that is bothering us.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
UMASANKAR RAMBARKI
SAP Integrations (Cloud & On-Prem) & API Technical Solutions Consultant at B2BInfosys.com
Consultant
Top 10
Good data formatting and transformation functions
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable features assist with understanding data formats and transforming data."
  • "The tool requires you to write a lot of code in Java and XSLT, which makes development tough."

What is our primary use case?

I am a consultant and B2B Integrator is one of the products that I implement for my clients.

This tool helps with understanding the products by improving communications.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features assist with understanding data formats and transforming data.

What needs improvement?

The tool requires you to write a lot of code in Java and XSLT, which makes development tough. There are other tools such as Dell Boomi that do not need as much coding.

The initial setup can be made a little easier.

Support for microservices is somewhat lacking.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used IBM B2B Integrator for about one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of IBM products is better than other vendors.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think that scalability is good. Two or three people might be required to work on a small project, whereas larger projects may need between five and ten users.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have experience with a few similar solutions from different vendors. One of them is MuleSoft, which is leading in the support for microservices but are concentrating on API-related tasks.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a little bit complex.

What other advice do I have?

In summary, this is a good product but I would prefer one that requires less code.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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