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Cloud application development and cloud API FAQs

Cloud APIs are changing the way cloud application development is done, and many consider them to be an integral part of cloud computing.

Cloud application programming interfaces (APIs) have become the default mode of communication between applications in the cloud. APIs have led to an explosion in cloud application development and are seen as a way to create interoperability between all clouds. Technologies like REST and SOAP as well as access rights tool OAuth represent enormous advances in cloud application development.

What are cloud APIs?
Cloud APIs are the technology that allows for communication between applications or infrastructures in the cloud. Cloud APIs expose parts of an application so data or services can be transmitted. The most common types are REST and SOAP.

How do cloud APIs connect public and private clouds?
There are open APIs and vendor-specific APIs that allow users to move data between public and private clouds. Infrastructure APIs can control how virtual machines are provisioned and how workloads are handled across clouds. Through access rights management and other tools, security is maintained in the API as data is safely transferred between public and private clouds.

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How do cloud APIs facilitate movement of data between clouds?
Cloud APIs are a logical extension of the service-oriented architecture, or SOA, movement. The main idea of APIs is to hide complex computation behind a simple interface. The increasing effort to standardize APIs is creating much easier movement between clouds.

What are the emerging standards around cloud APIs?
There are a number of groups looking to create standards for cloud APIs. The ultimate goal of the market is to move toward a common cloud API, but analysts consider that goal a long way off. The Distributed Management Task Force, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Open Cloud Consortium and Open Grid Forum are all working on developing standards. Today there is one cloud standard in this area, known as the Open Virtualization Format.

What are the problems cloud APIs are trying to solve?
Cloud APIs are trying to create interoperability between clouds, which will allow users to easily move data from cloud to cloud and prevent cloud providers from locking users in to their platforms. New River Marketing Research analyst Bill Claybrook compares the need for cloud APIs to an earlier need for the TCP/IP standard that affected networking. Many believe better cloud APIs will increase cloud adoption because potential users will have an exit strategy.

How do cloud APIs affect application development?
Cloud APIs have led to what Apigee’s Sam Ramji referred to as a Cambrian explosion of apps. By allowing data centers to expose certain data while maintaining security over other data, developers can build applications faster than ever before. The best examples of cloud APIs come from the consumer world, where APIs from Facebook, Twitter and Netflix have led to enormous success.

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