Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) is an incredible tool that allows you to build REST APIs on the Oracle Database (and MySQL). When paired with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) services like API Gateway, you can take your ORDS APIs to the next level. In this article, we’ll delve into the features of Oracle OCI API Gateway and discuss why you should consider deploying it alongside your ORDS REST services.
What is OCI API Gateway?
The OCI API Gateway service enables you to publish API endpoints and provides support for API validation, request and response transformation, CORS, authentication and authorization, usage plans, and request limiting. Acting as a mediator between your API logic and external consumers, API Gateways perform several activities that are not central to your core API logic. This way, they alleviate the burden on your infrastructure, allowing you to focus on the business logic in your ORDS APIs.
Here’s a simplified view of how API Gateway fits into your architecture:
Note: Depending on your situation, you might require a Load Balancer before API Gateway and/or between API Gateway and your ORDS servers.
Why Consider API Gateway for Your ORDS REST APIs?
While ORDS itself is a highly performant and resilient solution for publishing REST APIs, API Gateway can enhance your ORDS API platform by introducing several key features. Let’s explore some of these features:
Abstract (& simplify) API EndPoint URLs
When you publish APIs to consumers, making changes to your APIs becomes a challenge. However, by pointing your consumers to a URL on API Gateway, you can easily move your ORDS servers/URLs and redirect the API Gateway deployments to the new ones without your consumers even noticing the change. This allows you to quickly adapt and evolve your APIs while maintaining a seamless experience for your consumers.
While ORDS provides its own OAuth2 server for securing REST APIs, API Gateway offers various authentication options that can be applied across all REST APIs in your organization. These options include HTTP Basic Authentication, API Key Authentication, OAuth Authentication and Authorization, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Identity and Access Management (OCI IAM) with Identity Domains Authentication, and Oracle Identity Cloud Service (IDCS) Authentication. It’s important to note that when using API Gateway Authentication, you’ll need to consider how to identify the current user/client within your ORDS service logic.
Protecting your API infrastructure from abuse is crucial. API Gateway offers rate-limiting capabilities that block connections if they exceed a certain threshold. For instance, you can set up a rate limit to block requests from an IP address if it exceeds ten requests per second. By preventing unauthorized connections, these rate limits allow your ORDS servers to focus on genuine requests, ensuring optimal performance.
For public APIs, providing subscription-based plans to your customers can be essential. API Gateway’s Usage Plans allow you to define specific plans that limit the number of times API consumers can access your API within a given period. This ensures fair usage and prevents abuse.
API Gateway can be configured to apply Request Policies before passing requests to your ORDS API. These policies allow you to validate required HTTP headers, parameters, and even the content type of the request body. By performing these validations at the gateway level, you can save time and resources in your ORDS APIs.
Request Policies also enable you to perform transformations on both inbound and outbound requests. These transformations allow you to modify HTTP headers, parameters, and even exclude or rename them as needed. This can be useful for including custom headers or altering the response from ORDS before returning it to the consumer.
API Gateway allows you to serve client requests entirely from the gateway itself, preventing them from reaching your ORDS server. This is achieved through API Gateway Response Caching, which involves setting up and securing a cache server. By caching responses and serving them directly from the gateway, you can significantly improve response times for your consumers and reduce the load on your ORDS servers and database.
Logging is a crucial aspect of an API strategy, as it provides insights into API usage and helps identify and troubleshoot issues. While ORDS offers logging capabilities, API Gateway provides its own logging through the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Logging service. This includes access logs and execution logs, offering a consolidated and standardized logging solution for all your APIs.
API Gateway is a powerful tool that can enhance your ORDS REST APIs by providing features such as URL abstraction, authentication, rate limiting, usage plans, request policies, response caching, and logging. By leveraging these capabilities, you can improve the security, performance, and manageability of your APIs. If you want to take your ORDS APIs to the next level, consider integrating API Gateway into your architecture.
To learn more about API Gateway and how it can benefit your organization, visit ProgramMatek.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Always consult with a qualified professional for specific needs and requirements.