The API Management Landscape in 2020

Every year Gartner publish their Magic Quadrant covering the landscape of API Management vendors. This year, luckily, is no exception. Gartner has released their “Gartner Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management 2020“.

In my company, 2G CLOUD ApS, I am advising, reviewing, and implementing a lot of different API Management systems for both big and smaller companies. And I follow the API Management landscape closely; partly because I see that these systems can be fundamental for companies who are serious about digital transformation, and partly because its a very exciting field that is evolving at an amazing pace. And this year is no exception.

Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management

(Gartner 2020)

2020 vs. 2019

In this 2019-2020 comparison, I will primarily focus on the lower-left “Niche Players” quadrant and the upper-right “Leaders” quadrant because this is where the most exciting things happen.

“Niche Players”

When I look at these “magic quadrant”-tings for Gartner, I like to follow the progress and evolution of the “Niche Players”:

  • In 2019 there were eight (8) API Management vendors in the lower-left “Niche Players” quadrant
  • In 2020 there are only six (6).

So what has happened with the Niche Players?

Firstly, both Smartbear, Oracle, and SEEBURGER are falling out of the Magic Quadrant all together. The main reason seems to be lack of features and market position.

The next big surprise is to see Redhat (3scale) move from them bottom-right “Visionaries” quadrant back into the “Niche Players.” Since IBM acquired red Hat the company now has two API Management products: IBM API Connect and Red Hat 3scale. And it might be so that Red Hat 3scale actually is going to be more niche-focused moving forward?

A pleasant surprise, though, is to see F5/NGINX move into the Magic Quadrant. NGINX has provided backend components for API Managements systems, amongst others. But this time, it has introduced its own API Management product, and I expect to see a lot more exciting moves from F5/NGINX in the future.


What has happened with the “leaders” since last year?

  • In 2019 there were five (5) API Management vendors in the “Leaders” quadrant.
  • In 2020 there are seven (7).

The two highest-ranking vendors, Google/Apigee and Mulesoft, are still holding their seats. Mulesoft, though, is now ranked almost as high as Google/Apigee.

Actually, all the 2019 leaders (Google/Apigee, Mulesoft, SoftwareAG, IBM, Axway) are all present in the 2020 Leaders quadrant as well.

In addition, two of my favorite vendors have moved into the “Leaders” quadrant: Microsoft (with Azure API Management) and KONG (with KONG API Management).

Both Kong and Microsoft have introduced some exciting new features:

  • Microsoft has introduced a self-hosted (on-prem, multi-cloud) API Gateway.
  • Kong has introduced Kong Mesh and Kong Konnect.

The widely-used and very popular WSO2 API Management vendor is still keeping its spot in the lower-right “Visionaries” quadrant, but I expect that it will move higher up next year.

All in all: exciting things are happening in the API Management Landscape in 2020, and I’m sure 2021 will be even more exciting!