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The Future of Cloud Native API Gateways

The introduction of microservices, Kubernetes, and cloud technology has provided many benefits for developers. However, the age-old problem of getting user traffic routed correctly to the API of your backend applications can still be an issue, and may be complicated with the adoption of cloud native approaches: applications are now composed of multiple (micro)services that are built and released by independent teams; the underlying infrastructure is dynamically changing; services support multiple protocols, from HTTP/JSON to WebSockets and gRPC, and more; and many API endpoints require custom configuration of cross-cutting concerns, such as authn/z, rate limiting, and retry policies.

A cloud native API gateway is on the critical path of all requests, and also on the critical path for the workflow of any developer that is releasing functionality. Join this session to learn about the underlying technology and the required changes in engineering workflows. Key takeaways will include:      

  • A brief overview of the evolution of API gateways over the past ten years, and how the original problems being solved have shifted in relation to cloud native technologies and workflow      
  • Two important challenges when using an API gateway within Kubernetes: scaling the developer workflow; and supporting multiple architecture styles and protocols
  • Strategies for exposing Kubernetes services and APIs at the edge of your system      
  • Insight into the (potential) future of cloud native API gateways

What's the work you're doing today?

I'm focused on helping organizations understand the evolution of the software development lifecycle or the dev loop as they move to the cloud and Kubernetes. We’ve found that there are a tremendous amount of changes in this journey, especially around how you think about exposing your services at the edge with API gateways.

What are your goals for the talk?

I want to discuss the evolution of API gateways from load balancers to application delivery controllers all the way to where they are today and where they're going tomorrow. This evolution has really been driven by the evolution of application architecture and development workflow. So I want to talk about this evolution of API Gateways in the context of the evolution of the nature of work.

What are the key takeaways you would like people to leave the talk with?

That API gateway should be a core part of your cloud-native platform and workflow. There are new capabilities you can add to your organization around progressive delivery, improving agility with decentralized management, and resilience with an API Gateway. So I want to talk about these capabilities and how to think about them as organizations move into the cloud and Kubernetes.


Richard Li

Founder and CEO @datawireio

Richard Li is cofounder and CEO of Datawire. Datawire provides several popular open source tools to accelerate Kubernetes development, including Telepresence (local development) and the Ambassador API Gateway. Richard is a veteran of multiple technology startups including Duo Security, Rapid7,...

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