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Choosing a cloud API in a non-standardized world

IT pros waiting for a standard cloud API shouldn’t hold their breath. With no standard API on the horizon, what’s a cloud developer to do?

Whether you use a public cloud service provider or maintain a private cloud, you are faced with the task of managing server instances. With Infrastructure as a Service, IT teams create and manage instances and perform load balancing and storage management using a control panel and an API. But different cloud vendors provide different APIs. With no standard cloud API in sight, how can IT pros maintain control and compatibility with current and future cloud services?

Several organizations have attempted to create a standard API for cloud computing. The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), for example, has an initiative to create standards for clouds; its draft specification is called the Cloud Infrastructure Management Interface (CIMI) Model and REST Interface over HTTP.

The European organization ETSI has published several studies regarding cloud technologies as well as some early APIs that apply more to grid computing than cloud computing. And Open Grid Forum produced a cloud-specific API; however, it’s only partially complete, as it doesn’t offer any monitoring or billing methods. Specifications for those features are in progress.

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