API AutoFlow “Frequently asked Question” is a community-driven content. The  questions asked by the users are organized into the below sections. If you don’t see the question you want to ask, please register it on the “Ask Questions” or join Interactor Slack community for a faster reply. In most circumstances, question gets answered within 24 hours by the community members.

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Questions about API AutoFlow

What is API AutoFlow?

API AutoFlow is a high-performance API management platform for orchestrating and automating your backend service APIs. API AutoFlow façades the complexity of your solution to provide a simple user experience for the customers.
For example, a transportation company uses API AutoFlow to provide a rich API ecosystem around reservation, telemetry, billing, and other services that they provide.

It is built on top of a lightweight Interactor technology to deliver unparalleled performance, scalability, and reliability for all your microservice applications regardless of where they run. It allows you to exercise granular control over your backend service APIs with API AutoFlow’s flow-based solution builder.

Why use API AutoFlow?

Compared to other API management platforms, API AutoFlow has many important advantages that are not found in the market today.
For example, the product’s advanced capabilities make it the API management of choice for telecom operator’s “5G network orchestration backbone” handling complex service behaviors, call flows, and process high volumes of data at microsecond transactions per second (TPS).

For application developers, it provides faster development, realize the benefits earlier, and spend less time maintaining the solution. For example, a company struggling to maintain a single mobile app platform for years with a limited number of engineers; doubled the business offerings in less than a month using API AutoFlow (with the same number of engineers).

The full set of API AutoFlow functionality is described in the publicly available documentation.

How does API AutoFlow work?

API AutoFlow is a fully GUI based no-code platform. We had some users refer to it as the “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) for API management. The comparison is appropriate because the product provides a graphical representation of the solution being created in a flow format.


Unlike other API management platforms, API AutoFlow allows any number of ports and URI endpoints. API AutoFlow listens on users’ designated ports that allow external traffic.

Where does API AutoFlow store data?

API AutoFlow can store data in

  1. database
  2. files
  3. memory (tables, an environment variable, API request, and response data)
Is API AutoFlow built using an open-source?

No. API AutoFlow is a unique technology built based on the research and development in conjunction with and sponsored by the US Government National Science Foundation and Department of Homeland Security. That is what makes it so different in performance and capabilities compared with competing API management products.

How is API AutoFlow different from legacy API management?

API AutoFlow is built on a fundamentally different architecture, providing high processing speed, reduces communication latency, and flexibility that the modern API management demands, making it quite different from legacy API management solutions.

Legacy API Management product arose in an earlier era using the technology and best practices of the time. Fast forward today, the products still carry mostly unchanged architecture and monolithic design with limitations in addressing the modern application development and deployment patterns. However, explosive growth in the number of APIs and innovations such as microservices, containers, cloud computing, and distributed systems are now requiring the applications to have a more powerful internal as well as external communications. This need resulted in the evolution of modern API Management and API AutoFlow.

The modern API management is not only about stitching APIs through libraries and plugins. The essential component in modern application development is to process a high volume of data at extremely low latency for both internal and external communications. The product architecture needs to support such needs without the user having to concern about multi-threading, memory optimization, and process optimization.

Legacy API Management systems are still useful at serving their ecosystem with many prebuilt connectors and libraries. API management like API AutoFlow, however, enables developers to easily create their connectors that are sharable and reusable on other solutions.

Is API AutoFlow made using Interactor?

API AutoFlow is made by the inventors of Interactor. A lot of the learnings from Interactor were applied to API AutoFlow.

What's in the roadmap of features? Can I make requests for features?

Upcoming features can be found in the documentation’s future release notes.

More than 80% of the new features are requests made by the users. The development team discusses every feature request and provide feedback to ensure you have to tools you needed.

Make Feature Request
Is there a set date for the release?

There are major, minor, and patch releases.
The major release happens every few months, minor release every few weeks, and patch every few days.
Release notes and documentation are provided for only Major and Minor releases.

Deploying API AutoFlow

Can I use API AutoFlow on public clouds? How about on-premises?

Yes. API AutoFlow can be used on most public and private clouds including AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, HP, etc.
Since the footprint is only about 70 MB, it can easily be installed in a server on-premise.

What are the minimum hardware and software requirements?

Hardware
Memory: At least 500 MB of memory is recommended to run a meaningful solution.
CPU: Most INTEL or ARM

Software
Most versions of Linux, Windows, MAC
Interactor can also run on dockers and Kubernetes.

Is there anything I need to pre-install or set up to run API AutoFlow?

No. API AutoFlow is fully packaged with all the necessary components to operate without any pre-installed software or dependencies.

Simple download and follow the instructions to run the software.

Download
Does API AutoFlow run on a VM, container, and Kubernetes?

Yes. Follow the instructions below to pull the latest version of API AutoFlow to your container.

https://interactor.com/autoflow/download/#tab_docker

Where does API AutoFlow fit in my infrastructure?

It depends on the use case but in general, it sits

  • Behind the API Gateway (proxy)
  • In front of the backend service APIs (microservices)
Do I need to replace my existing API Gateways?

No. API AutoFlow works well with the existing API Gateways.
API AutoFlow can supplement the API Gateway to provide custom automation, orchestration, and provisioning for your backend API microservices.

How can I migrate to API AutoFlow from another API Gateway?

There are a few ways to migrate another API Gateway functions to API AutoFlow

  • Import Swagger to API AutoFlow
  • Import OpenAPI to API AutoFlow
  • Use the graphical user interface to easily configure the solution.

Whatever method, it takes a fraction of the time compared with the alternatives.

Is there a way to test the solutions I create?

Yes. API AutoFlow has a built-in Data Simulator to test your solution before deploying in your infrastructure.

Data Simulation

Does API AutoFlow sit in the data path?

Yes. In many use cases, API AutoFlow sits in the data path processing large amounts of data in real-time. These use cases are what makes API AutoFlow unique compared with other API management products.

Using the API AutoFlow

In which regions is API AutoFlow available?

API AutoFlow is available for download anywhere around the world.

What's the maximum number of API servers I can add on API AutoFlow?

There’s no limit and you can add as many API servers as you want. Theoretically, you can create close to 65,535 API servers minus the reserved port numbers.

Below link provides guide on the reserved port numbers.
https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/src.git/+/refs/heads/master/net/base/port_util.cc

How is it configured?

API AutoFlow is a fully GUI based no-code platform. We had some users refer to it as the “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) for API management. The comparison is appropriate because the product provides a graphical representation of the solution being created in a flow format.

Unlike other API management platforms, API AutoFlow allows any number of ports and URI endpoints. API AutoFlow listens on users’ designated ports that allow external traffic.

Can other applications interface with API AutoFlow?

Of course.  That’s the main purpose of the product. There are many types of interfaces that you can use to connect including HTTP(S), database, Syslog, SMTP, etc.

What are Actions?

Actions are the basic building blocks used in creating the solution. There are a few hundred actions, making it one of the most versatile API management products in the market.

Refer to the documentation for the full list of actions
https://interactor.com/autoflow/docs/release-note/

What are the supported browsers?

API Autoflow is best viewed in the latest versions of Chrome.
However, it can be used on other browsers including Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Internet Explorer.

What are schemas and how is it used?

Schema (also known as Model) defines a structure of a data.

For example, let’s say you want the solution to do different things based on the incoming data.  This is very common in data transformation use cases where data coming from disparate sources need to be handled different. 

API AutoFlow matches the incoming data against the configured schema.  When there’s a match, it executes the flow for the schema. The match can be configured for both north and southbound traffic.

Does API AutoFlow connector (E.g. HTTP Request Action) store the message and retry sending it?

No. By default, API AutoFlow does not store any data.  The solution needs to configured to store or retry the sending using the timer function.

I want to try creating the solution myself. Can you help with the process?

Yes. Contact sales@interactor.com to talk with the representative near you who can assist with the PoC.

We are looking for API management. Can you do a PoC for us?

Yes. Download API AutoFlow from the website and follow the training to get familiarized with API AutoFlow.

You can contact sales@interactor.com at any time if you need help or simply post your question on the Questions page to get support from the community.

Price

Is there a trial version of Interactor?

Yes. When you download API AutoFlow, it comes with a free developer license.

Only after you have tried the solution with the developer license, go ahead and purchase the commercial license that will open up commercial level support and calls-per-month.

What's the difference between developer and commercial license?

Developer license is for non-commercial use only and limited in the number of API calls-per-month.
A commercial license is needed to get support for your solution and API AutoFlow.

What's the difference between subscription and perpetual license?

A perpetual license is a one-time payment to own the license.
A subscription license is a yearly payment of a lower price.

How does the price compare with legacy API management products?

Most legacy API management vendors like Mulesoft, Google Apigee, Tibco, etc do not publish their prices.
Instead, it is highly customized for each customer use case with extras such as addons, plugins, usage-based charges, and more. That is why when it comes to getting a price from a legacy product company salesperson, it can get pretty nerve-racking. The quote often starts with 5 digits dollar figures and quickly escalates to 6 digits once the solution becomes complex.

For example, Apigee’s most basic plan with limited features and calls start at $9,000 per month. A solution with a few hundred million calls-per-month can quickly become a few hundred thousand dollars cost.
In contract, API AutoFlow price stays constant at $100 per month ($1,200 per annum).

How does it compare with open source in pricing?

The community open source licenses are free, which is great. However, open-source enterprise licenses are a different story. To use the open source in an enterprise setting requires enterprise license, features, support, and tooling which can get pretty pricey. API gateways such as Kong, Tyke, NGNix all require companies to purchase the enterprise license.

For example, open-source API management Tyk’s enterprise basic plan starts at $450 per month and increases with usage. Even though it costs much less than legacy products, it is common for open source products to charge a few hundred thousand dollars.
In contract, API AutoFlow price stays constant at $100 per month ($1,200 per annum).

Why is API AutoFlow priced so competitive?

Up until a few years ago, the large enterprises were the primary users of APIs. It made sense for the API management products to charge high prices and leap maximum revenue from those few enterprise customers.  That explains why most API management and gateway products in the market charge extravagant prices.

Today, APIs have become a critical technology for almost all businesses. A product that is powerful enough to be used by large enterprises yet affordable for smaller companies was needed. This need resulted in the competitive pricing of API AutoFlow.

At $100 per month, we are hoping that companies have an option other than being forced to fiddle around with an open-source code hoping to solve the problem, but instead delaying the product release and scrambling to hire more engineers.

Do you help with solution development? How much does it cost?

Yes. Solution development service is provided. The cost of the development is discussed in advance between you and the developer based on the scope of work.
In general, the overall cost is much lower compared with outsourcing the solution development. That is because using API AutoFlow, it takes substantially less time to develop a solution and product reliability minimizes the need for debugging and maintenance.

What support (maintenance) options are available and how much do they cost?

Two support services are provided

  • Product maintenance cost: starting at $540 per year
  • Solution maintenance cost: price determined based on the complexity and usage of the solution

An application built on a popular programming language such as JAVA, Javascript, or Python incur around 60% in maintenance cost throughout the software lifecycle.
In contract, API AutoFlow minimizes the maintenance cost by providing a reliable product that is rigorously tested and used by large enterprises.

Can I upgrade the license?

Yes. Upgrade can be done by purchasing the license from the website by pressing the GET LICENSE button or contact sales@interactor.com.

Roughly how much does it cost for a full deployment?

It depends on the size and complexity of the solution. But the price can be broken down into the following criteria:

  • API AutoFlow license: $1,200 per annum
  • Solution Development: $10,000 development team (duration 2 weeks)
  • Product support: $540 per annum (Silver tier)
  • Solution support: $2,000 per annum (Silver tier)
How are calls-per-month calculated?

The total number of API calls made to API AutoFlow for a given month is counted.

Do the calls-per-month pertain to all licenses?

No. Only developer license is limited in the number of calls.

Subscription and perpetual licenses do not have a limit. But the actual number of calls that the solution can process will depend on the hardware capacity and the complexity of the solution.

What happens when our usage exceeds our license limit?

There’s no usage limit with commercial license.

With developer license, exceeding the 1 million calls-per-month stops the processing of data until a commercial license is applied.

Security

Who owns the solution and data?

Whatever you create, you own the solution and the data.

Does API AutoFlow store any personal data?

No, API AutoFlow does not store any personal data. The only data collected is license-related data as license validity and usage.

What data is collected by API AutoFlow on each API call?

No data is collected by API AutoFlow. It only counts the number of API calls for licensing purposes.

What options do we have when it comes to securing access to API AutoFlow?

API AutoFlow enforces username and password policy to reduce the chances of intruders gaining access to systems or environments through the exploitation of user accounts and associated passwords.

I'd like to temporarily prevent a user of my API from having access to it. Is there an easy way for me to do this?

There are several ways to prevent a user from assessing your API
Change the port number: By changing the port number, the users will no longer be able to reach your API.
It’s a good practice to return a message to notify of the change.
Change the endpoint. Similarly, an endpoint can be renamed to prevent users from reaching your API
Move the flow to another endpoint: The flow can be moved to another endpoint. Not recommended since it serves the same purpose as the 2nd method.

How can I add authentication to my APIs?

TLS can be set on the API Servers.

  • Upload the security certificates in the file.
  • Click the HTTP Server you want to secure
  • Under the setting, click on the TLS button. A new set of forms will appear where you can select the certificates to apply

Performance

What’s the maximum transaction for second (TPS) for API AutoFlow?

The TPS for API AutoFlow increases with the hardware capacity.

Though not an official test record: on an average 1 U server, the API AutoFlow has been tested to reach up to 10,000 TPS with its proprietary data transaction architecture.

Is there a data size limit?

There’s no limit to the data size. But it is a best practice to split the payload into multiple messages.

What is the throughput capacity of API AutoFlow?

The throughput of API AutoFlow increases with the hardware capacity. API AutoFlow’s built-in multithread technology enables solutions to process more data faster and more efficiently.

API AutoFlow is also horizontally scalable to support higher throughputs as needed.

How does API AutoFlow scale?

API AutoFlow can scale both horizontally and vertically.
For horizontal scaling, a load balancer is used to share the load among many API AutoFlows.

Also, for large solutions, services are divided into smaller microservices running on separate instances to distribute the compute.

How does API AutoFlow handle disaster recovery and high availability failover?

In a high availability (HA) setting, if service in one API AutoFlow instance goes down, another instance takes over the load. If one of the instances goes down, another instance takes over all the services until the first instance comes back up. If all the instances go down, API AutoFlow can be quickly recovered through rollback for fast recovery.

API AutoFlow never seems to fail. What makes it so reliable?

Needing to be used in critical infrastructures of large telecom companies, API AutoFlow was built on proprietary fault-tolerance technology. What that means is that even when something goes wrong and a part of the solution crashes, the remainder of the solution stays up and does not get affected.

API AutoFlow has many reliability features built-in making it a product of choice for mission critical applications.

Support

In which regions is API AutoFlow support available?

Remote support is available 24/7 globally.
API AutoFlow has partners around the world that can help with the local support.

Please contact sales@interactor.com to be connected with the support you need.

Where can I get help?

The fastest way to get help is by contacting API AutoFlow sales team on sales@interactor.com.
You will be connected with a solution support member that can help with your support needs.

What is the difference between Product Support vs. Solution Support?
  • Product Support is to receive support on API AutoFlow.
  • Solution Support is to receive support on the solution built on API AutoFlow.

Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium tiers are available for both types of support.

Do you help with building the solution?

Yes. Solution development service is provided.

Contact sales@interactor.com to discuss your needs.

Can I get notification about new product releases?

Yes, you can be notified of the new product releases by joining the newsletter, following our Facebook or LinkedIn page.

Where can I get free community support?

There are a few ways you can get community support

  • Ask questions: Stack Overflow style question and answer platform. Ask your question here and a community member will provide answers
  • Join Slack community: Community members use the slack channel to provide feedback and get help
  • Open Source Connectors: Use the shared connectors in your solution. Ask question to the connector author for help
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