• Minimum Viable API Architecture

    Minimum Viable Architecture is a set of design principles which is very suitable for APIs, microservices and API management as it is designed for different stages of growth and maturity.



    Use when building a new API


    Build Just Enough

    Use when building a new API for few consumers



    Use when existing API has growing number of consumers

  • The Phases

    Minimum Viable API Architecture consists of Prototyping, Build Just Enough and Scaling -phases


    Use when building a new API

    • Do not code, create only executable definitions (like OpenAPI).

    • make it easy to change plans with

    • Concentrate on information architecture and interface design.

    • Add only the endpoints and fields you absolutely are sure that are needed for the first consumers. If there is no clear answer whether something should be added, leave it out. It’s better for versioning, no one will start using it and depending on it and changes are kept to a minimum later.

    • Design with the API Audit criteria in mind, using style guide as your guideline.

    Build Just Enough

    Use when building a new API for few consumers

    • Nothing is built “Just in Case”

    • Use only components you know and have easy access. Stick to familiar architecture. When risks are small designs don’t have to be heavy and perfect.

    • Customer needs can evolve while building, with an as small budget as possible

    • Meet customer need in a few hours or days, not in months.

    • Do NOT think about scaling.


    Use when existing API has growing number of consumers

    • Scale your architecture with the growing business

    • Optimize

    • Cache

    • Trust that something will break, make sure you are fall tolerant but only as much as the business is really willing to pay for.

    • See more detailed list for Scaling -phase

  • What is the Minimum Viable Architecture?

    Why is the MVA architecture chosen for this method

    The MVA (Minimum Viable Architecture) approach is usable for any architecture design process.

    Each Phase of MVAA goes through the entire APIOps Cycle. Development from here on goes in cycles and is iterative.


    One of the key elements in Agile methodologies is Minimum Viable Product. MVP is a product with "just enough" features to satisfy early customers.


    When they see and can try the MVP, they can give feedback for future development. Minimum Viable Architecture has a similar idea.


    Designing architecture so they can be prototyped and built fast. The sooner the consumers get to use the API the faster you discover the real requirements.

    See how to collect architecture requirements - in the APIOps Cycles way!

  • Scaling -phase in more detail

    1. Any peak times coming in near future?

    2. Are the non-functional requirements changing, for example, allowed downtime? Response times? New users from far away?

    3. Growing concurrency brings new bottlenecks to the architecture, load test first and monitor existing production, design improvements after that.

    4. Growing number of APIs need more teams and team members.

    5. API management needs to have more fine-grained user roles and separation.

    6. APIs and micro-services need more decoupled modules that can be scaled and developed independently.

    7. API design and information architecture need to be designed from the scalability point of view. For example, different customer segments or customers from different countries require different API features.

    8. Think about separation, not centralization all through, even in databases and Identity management, authorization and access management.

    9. Start with a load balancer and 1 run-time node, this way more nodes can be added easily.

    10. Consider when and how to do caching, fail-saves etc. but don’t implement them before they are actually needed, just know you can.

  • Related resources

    See detailed instructions on how to use the APIOps Cycles templates for collecting API architecture requirements with business people. They speed up the process and make it more collaborative.

    REST API Style Guide

    How should you design the actual API interfaces? See this guide if you are designing a REST API.

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