Azure API Management v2 Explained

This week Microsoft announced the GA of the new “v2” SKUs for Azure API Manager, these offer updated versions of the basic and standard SKUs, with some new features. Let’s look at the difference between the v1 and v2 SKUs, and whether you would want to use them.

Improvements in the v2 SKU

The v2 SKUs are mainly intended to improve on the v1 SKU and to bring in some features that previously had only been present in the Premium tier, which locked them behind an expensive monthly cost.

1. Improved Deployment Time

APIM deployment and scaling have always been painful. Deploying new instances can take 20-30 minutes or more, and scaling up can also be pretty slow. The v2 SKUs improved this drastically, with initial deployment taking only a few minutes, and scaling up also improved.

This improvement in deployment speed also means that making changes to APIM is also quicker, and does not have the long delays changes had taken previously.

2. vNet Integration - Standard v2 Only

One of the biggest complaints about APIM is that vNet integration was locked behind the premium SKU. If you wanted to have APIM talk to resources on your private network then you had to stump up the large cost for APIM premium, even if you didn’t need the rest of the features (or use the developer SKU with no SLA). With the Standard v2 SKU, this is no longer the case, as it supports vNet integration. This is not available in the basic v2 SKU.

Before you get too excited, be aware that this is a limited vNet integration. It only supports outbound requests from APIM to your vNet resources and not the other direction. It also doesn’t offer the fully private option that APIM premium supports, all Standard V2 SKUS will have a public IP even if vNet integrated. This solution is very similar to what you see with vNet integration for App Service (and I suspect this is what it is using behind the scenes). The premium SKU uses the vNet injection method, where the whole APIM instance is joined to the vNet and so supports inbound and outbound connections as well as full isolation.

All of that said, if you just want APIM to be able to talk to private resources and expose them to the outside world, then this is a good solution at a much smaller cost than APIM Premium.

3. Improved Cache in Basic SKU

The Basic v2 SKU now has 250MB of Cache, compared to 50MB in the v1 SKU. The Standard v2 still has 1GB.

4. Additional Scale Units

The Basic v1 SKU was limited to 2 scale units, and the Standard v1 to 4, in the v2 SKUs both now support 10 scale-out units.

Missing Features

When the v2 SKU preview was announced, several other features were coming soon to the v2 SKU, unfortunately, a few of these didn’t make it into the GA. Whether they are coming at a later date is unclear currently.

  • Private Link support - if you want to expose your APIM to your private network for inbound connections using Private link then you will need the Premium SKU for this
  • Availability zones & multi-region deployments - this was indicated as coming for the standard v2 SKU but is not currently in place
  • Hybrid features, such as the self-hosted gateway were also indicated as coming, but are not present currently


Along with the missing features mentioned above, there are also some limitations on the v2 SKUs that you should be aware of:

  • Limited regions - the v2 SKU is only present in the regions listed here
  • Multiple custom domains are not supported
  • Autoscaling is not supported
  • Upgrading from v1 to v2 is not possible
  • Workspaces are not present
  • Cipher configuration, client certificate renegotiation and quota by key are not supported


The v2 SKU offers some significant improvements over the v1, the main two being improved deployment and vNet integration. I know of many teams using the premium SKU solely for vNet integration, and they will be very happy about being able to move away from that.

However, it is disappointing that so many additional features that were marketed as coming to the v2 SKU have been dropped for the GA. In particular, Private Link and Availability Zones are glaring omissions that are needed, at least in the Standard SKU, to make this truly production-ready. Hopefully, these will be added soon.

The docs also indicate that a Premium v2 SKU will be coming, so it will be interesting to see what that entails. The v1 Basic and Standard tiers are also not currently being planned to be removed.