The Oracle API Platform takes a different licensing model to many platforms, rather than on CPU it works by the use of Logical Gateways and blocks of 25 million successful API calls per month. This means you can have as many actual gateway nodes as you like within a logical group to ensure resilience as you like, essentially how widely you deploy the gateways is more of a maintenance consideration (i.e. more nodes means more gateways to take through a maintenance process from the OS through to the gateway itself).
In our book (here) we described the use of logical gateways (groups of gateway nodes operating together) based on the classic development model, which provides a solid foundation and can leverage the gateway based routing policy very effectively.
But, things get a little trickier if you move into the cloud and elect to distribute the back end services geographically rather than perhaps have a single global instance for the back-end implementation and leverage technologies such as Content Delivery Networks to cache data at the cloud edge and their rapid routing capabilities to offset performance factors.
Some of the typical reasons for geographically distributing solutions are …
- The low hit rate on data meaning caching solutions like CDNs are unlikely to yield performance benefits wanted and considerable additional work is needed to ‘warm’ the cache,
- Different regions require different back end implementations ordering of products in one part of the world may be fulfilled using a partner, but in another, it is directly satisfied,
- Data is subject to residency/sovereignty rules – consider China for example. But Germany and India also have special considerations as well.
So our Global splits start to look like:
The challenge that comes, is that the regional routing which may be resolved on the Internet side of things through Geo Routing such as the facilities provided by AWS Route53 and Oracle’s Dyn DNS as a result finding nearest local gateway. However Geo DNS may not be achievable internally (certainly not for AWS), as a result, routing to the nearest local back-end needs to be handled by the gateway. Gateway based routing can solve the problem based on logical gateways – so if we logically group gateways regionally then that works. But, this then conflicts with the use of gateway based routing for separation of Development, Test etc.
So, what are the options? Here are a few …
- Make you Logical divisions both by the environment and by region – this is fine if you’re processing very high volumes i.e. hundreds of millions or more so the cost of additional Logical gateways is relatively small it the total budget.
This problem can be further exacerbated, if you consider many larger organisations are likely to end up with different cloud vendors in the same part of the world, for example, AWS and Azure, or Oracle and Google. So continuing the segmentation can become an expensive challenge as the following view helps show:
It is possible to contract things slightly by only have development and test cloud services where ever your core development centre is based. Note that in the previous and next diagrams we’ve removed the region/country-specific gateway drivers.
- Don’t segment based on environment, but only on the region – but then how do you control changes in the API configuration so they don’t propagate immediately into production?
- Keep the existing model but clone APIs for each region – certainly the tooling we’ve shared (Managing API Policy Versioning in Oracle API Platform) makes this possible, but it’s pretty inelegant and error-prone as it be easy to forget to clone a change, and the cloning logic needs to be extended to take into account the bits that must be region-specific.
- Assuming you have a DNS address for the target, you could effectively rewrite the resolution of the address by changing its meaning in each gateway node’s host file. Inelegant, but effective if you have automated deployment and configuration of your gateway servers.
- Header based routing with the region and environment as header attributes. This does require either the client to set the values (not good as you’re revealing to your API consumer traits of the implementation), or you apply custom policies before the header-based routing that insert those attributes based on the gateway’s location etc.
- Build a new type of gateway based routing which allows both the environment (dev, test etc) and location (region) to inform the routing,
Or, and the point of this blog, use gateway based routing and leverage some intelligent DNS naming and how the API Platform works with a little bit of Groovy or a custom Java policy.
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