API Observability and Role of test engineering

Organizations today are looking for innovative methods to get rid of the obstacles that hinder or impede the success that comes with delivering features more quickly. The challenges of API-driven applications simply cannot be handled by the tools, approaches, and processes that are successful for monolithic apps.

API observability is the ability to monitor, analyze, and troubleshoot an API’s (application programming interface) behavior and performance in real time. It is a crucial component of API management since it enables operators and developers to learn about an API’s internal operations and make sure they are running smoothly. Observability involves gathering and evaluating data on the API’s many features, including response and request times, error rates, traffic trends, and other metrics.

API observability is a shared responsibility between developers and operations teams. It is the responsibility of developers to incorporate the required monitoring tools and methodologies as well as to design APIs with observability in mind. To gain visibility into the API’s performance and behavior, they must make sure that it is instrumented with the proper metrics, logs, and traces.

The API in production is deployed, maintained, and monitored over by operations teams. They are in charge of putting in place monitoring mechanisms that give real-time visibility into the performance of the API, detecting problems and abnormalities, and speedily responding to occurrences.

Role of Test engineers

In order to ensure that the API meets the specified performance criteria and provides the intended business value, test engineers collaborate with developers and operations teams. This collaboration is essential to API observability. Yet, test engineers working with scrum teams are typically excluded from the conversation on API observability. The chance to contribute and collaborate more closely with the operations team will be available to testers who are heavily active in performance testing.

Those involved in API observability may perform below operations and is not limited to

  1. Test Planning: Test engineers can assist in the planning of tests to make sure that the API is instrumented with the proper metrics, logs, and traces that enable observability.
  2. Test Design: The performance of the API can be verified using tests that are designed by test engineers using key performance indicators (KPIs) such as response time, error rate, throughput, and user satisfaction.
  3. Test Execution: Test engineers execute tests by using load testing tools like JMeter, Gatling, Locust, etc to increase the load levels and observe the performance behavior. Sometimes performance test engineers also fall back on data-driven testing to check the application performance.
  4. Test Automation: Tests that validate the API’s performance continuously, enabling early detection of issues and anomalies.
  5. Synthetic Monitoring: Observing the APIs in a production environment is most likely performed by the operations team using synthetic monitoring tools. Large enterprises can afford to have various COE verticals to take care of different aspects individually. Most medium/small sized organisations collaborate between development and operations team to achieve synthetic monitoring.

Tools used for API Observability

Many tools are available on the market; here are some of the more well-liked ones.

Why do we need API Observability when we have API Monitoring in place?

API monitoring and API observability share some similarities, they differ in their scope, purpose, data collection, analysis, and actionability.


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