Using APIs has become second nature to developers, but creating and hosting them is still an evolving science. To this end, Apigee (known as Sonoa Systems until today) has built services that can be used to manage and monitor hosted APIs.

Apigee Premium is the name of the company’s third API management service, following Apigee Free and Apigee Enterprise. Apigee Premium is a subset of Apigee Enterprise’s features, and it is targeted at smaller companies with simpler needs. Apigee Premium offers rate-limiting and usage statistics for hosted APIs on a subscription basis, costing between US$50 and $500, depending on the included options.

Sam Ramji, vice president of strategy at Apigee, said that Apigee Premium was created to offer popular features to companies that didn’t need to pay for enterprise-class and enterprise-priced software. He said Apigee Premium offers the most popular API management features, but at a lower price point than Apigee Enterprise, which can range from $3,000 to $6,000 per month.

“One is caching, another is IP-based or developer-key-based rate limiting, and the ability to provision keys via the API,” said Ramji about the features offered. “We can decorate the API with those keys and enable you to apply policies within Apigee to those requests. The other policies are targeting different end points. This allows you to have one server doing your API for your very strategic developers, and maybe another server for the regular users.”

Among those capabilities is API key generation. For developers using a more advanced API from sites like Flickr or Google, generated API keys can be used to validate feeds and to determine which user’s applications are currently accessing the API. Using these keys is commonplace with Web services like Facebook and WordPress, but generating and keeping track of these keys can be a pain. Thus, Apigee handles this for developers.

Once those keys are created and used, Apigee can then track who uses what services, giving both operations and development a window into their API usage. This, said Ramji, will allow developers to monetize their APIs.

“We enable Twitter-like business models where you have a low-value, large user base inputting data into the system,” said Ramji. “We’re trying to enable API business models. When people are making money off of their APIs, they get interested in providing different levels of services and tying that all back to analytics.”