Post Syndicated from Patrick Madec original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/how-sonar-built-a-unified-api-on-aws/
SonarCloud, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product developed by Sonar, seamlessly integrates into developers’ CI/CD workflows to increase code quality and identify vulnerabilities. Over the last few months, Sonar’s cloud engineers have worked on modernizing SonarCloud to increase the lead time to production.
Following Domain Driven Design principles, Sonar split the application into multiple business domains, each owned by independent teams. They also built a unified API to expose these domains publicly.
This blog post will explore Sonar’s design for SonarCloud’s unified API, utilizing Elastic Load Balancing, AWS PrivateLink, and Amazon API Gateway. Then, we’ll uncover the benefits aligned with the AWS Well-Architected Framework including enhanced security and minimal operational overhead.
This solution isn’t exclusive to Sonar; it’s a blueprint for organizations modernizing their applications towards domain-driven design or microservices with public service exposure.
SonarCloud’s core was initially built as a monolithic application on AWS, managed by a single team. Over time, it gained widespread adoption among thousands of organizations, leading to the introduction of new features and contributions from multiple teams.
In response to this growth, Sonar recognized the need to modernize its architecture. The decision was made to transition to domain-driven design, aligning with the team’s structure. New functionalities are now developed within independent domains, managed by dedicated teams, while existing components are gradually refactored using the strangler pattern.
This transformation resulted in SonarCloud being composed of multiple domains, and securely exposing them to customers became a key challenge. To address this, Sonar’s engineers built a unified API, a solution we’ll explore in the following section.
Figure 1 illustrates the architecture of the unified API, the gateway through which end-users access SonarCloud services. It is built on an Application Load Balancer and Amazon API Gateway private APIs.
The VPC endpoint for API Gateway spans three Availability Zones (AZs), providing an Elastic Network Interface (ENI) in each private subnet. Meanwhile, the ALB is configured with an HTTPS listener, linked to a target group containing the IP addresses of the ENIs.
To streamline access, we’ve established an API Gateway custom domain at api.example.com. Within this domain, we’ve created API mappings for each domain. This setup allows for seamless routing, with paths like /domain1 leading directly to the corresponding domain1 private API of the API Gateway service.
Here is how it works:
- The user makes a request to
api.example.com/domain1, which is routed to the ALB using Amazon Route53 for DNS resolution.
- The ALB terminates the connection, decrypts the request and sends it to one of the VPC endpoint ENIs. At this point, the domain name and the path of the request respectively match our custom domain name,
api.example.com, and our API mapping for
- Based on the custom domain name and API mapping, the API Gateway service routes the request to the domain1 private API.
In this solution, we leverage the two following functionalities of the Amazon API Gateway:
- Private REST APIs in Amazon API Gateway can only be accessed from your virtual private cloud by using an interface VPC endpoint. This is an ENI that you create in your VPC.
- API Gateway custom domains allow you to set up your API’s hostname. The default base URL for an API is:
With custom domains you can define a more intuitive URL, such as:
https://api.example.com/domain1This is not supported for private REST APIs by default so we are using a workaround documented in https://github.com/aws-samples/.
In this post, we described the architecture of a unified API built by Sonar to securely expose multiple domains through a single API endpoint. To conclude, let’s review how this solution is aligned with the best practices of the AWS Well-Architected Framework.
The unified API approach improves the security of the application by reducing the attack surface as opposed to having a public API per domain. AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) used on the ALB protects the application from common web exploits. AWS Shield, enabled by default on Amazon CloudFront, provides Network/Transport layer protection against DDoS attacks.
The design allows each team to independently deploy application and infrastructure changes behind a dedicated private API Gateway. This leads to a minimal operational overhead for the platform team and was a requirement. In addition, the architecture is based on managed services, which scale automatically as SonarCloud usage evolves.
The solution is built using AWS services providing high-availability by default across Availability Zones (AZs) in the AWS Region. Requests throttling can be configured on each private API Gateway to protect the underlying resources from being overwhelmed.
Amazon CloudFront increases the performance of the API, especially for users located far from the deployment AWS Region. The traffic flows through the AWS network backbone which offers superior performance for accessing the ALB.
The ALB is used as the single entry-point and brings an extra cost as opposed to exposing multiple public API Gateways. This is a trade-off for enhanced security and customer experience.
By using serverless managed services, Sonar is able to match the provisioned infrastructure with the customer demand. This avoids overprovisioning resources and reduces the environmental impact of the solution.