Build vs Buy my Cloud Print API Area

I need to get an API area around my REST Cloud Print API. I have a functional set of RESTful cloud print services, but not much else.

Where do I start? I need a plan. I need to know exactly what it takes to get this API open for business. I built a list of what I need for phase 1-3 of my API area, from the essentials to nice to have.

Now I know what I want...how do I get there? I have the skills to build this myself, and there are also API service providers available that specialize in API delivery. 3Scale, Apigee, and Mashery are three such providers that can help you get your API community up and running. So I set out on the buy portion of my journey. 3Scale, Apigee, and Mashery deliver a similar set of services, each with a unique approach. They offer extremely robust API delivery platforms, I went through their features and evaluated based upon what was important to me and Mimeo.

I focused on: Even though they have many common features they each had their own unique tools: When it comes to pricing, 3Scale and Apigee are comparable in setup fees and monthly charges. Mashery has a lower setup, but a higher monthly rate than Apigee and 3Scale. The cloud pricing varies for each one, with Mashery measuring queries per month, 3Scale measuring transactions per day and Apigee just applying a .0002 per call charge.

At first I didn't feel I had much advice to offer, when helping anyone in my position, trying to decide which API service provider to use. After more consideration, I don't think there is a clear leader here, I think the value is in the process.

Everyone should talk to all three of the API service providers. They each have their own approach to delivering APIs and their vision of what the future holds. They are all very eager to help you figure things out and get your business.

The process will force you to write down your goals and discuss them with their some very knowledgeable sales and technical teams. Even if you come to the table with a lot of skills, tools, and resources, the process of talking to all three providers will help you understand your situation better. Its clear that 3Scale, Apigee, and Mashery are all still trying to figure this all out just like we are. Its shows in their informal process when discussing your goals, the marketing, pricing and overall flexible approach to solving these problems.

I still haven't decided whether I will build my API area, or buy it from 3Scale, Apigee or Mashery. Although I do understand my position a lot better, and I have read a bunch of case studies, white papers and discussed different approaches.

I'm spending a few days more on my build strategy before I make a decision.