Twitter has one; and so does Facebook; in fact it seems you can’t move online these days without an API of some sort being involved. But what’s the big deal for businesses if they are already everywhere? Before launching straight into the benefits of cloud APIs for business and the choices that need to be made, it’s well worth explaining, how exactly APIs function.
APIs, or Application Programming Interface, aren’t new. They’ve helped shaped our modern world, creating links between software and a wide variety of data services with the front runners on the web being the big players in social media.
For instance, you take a picture in Instagram and you want to post it to Facebook? APIs make this happen. From shopping and gaming to concert listings and information on the weather, APIs help synch up our web experience.
That’s on a personal level. Now, imagine this in the corporate world. APIs offer a massive amount of benefits. They allow different business software solutions to interface with a multitude of other websites and software. In some instances, this can provide businesses with a source of revenue, or it can simply help to streamline an organisation.
You only have to look at the Google Business Apps market place to see the integration of accounting software with payroll software with customer relationship management software as just one example. The problem with Cloud APIs, however, is that there is no prevailing standard.
And according to some, this is unlikely to change soon. And with Google just releasing another API for its Google Compute Engine, alongside the more established API’s from Amazon & Microsoft, this reinforces this view.
So if you’re in the enterprise and heading to the cloud and are faced with the decision of which API to build your software around, there’s plenty of options. Amazon is currently the key player in the IaaS market, and has its own API which many developers are pinning their flag to on account of Amazon’s sheer size.
Let’s face it if you are a developer or CTO calling the shots, the safety in numbers argument is not a bad bet. On the other side of the coin there is the OpenStack API which has the backing of Rackspace, Red Hat, Dell & Citrix along with over 180 plus other cloud service providers and vendors.
And, over time, this should attract more and more developers who don’t like the idea of vendor lock in. Does that leave Microsoft’s Azure and Google Compute Engine out in the cold? Time will tell.
One company who is not hanging about to see where the Cloud API battle ends up is award-winning hosting company Memset. Introducing its own OpenStack standard Cloud API for a range of its own products including the DNS management, VM Provisioning, Bandwidth management and the Performance Patrol cluster. Juan J. Martinez, the company’s Lead OpenStack Developer, puts it a natural, if bold step to take Memset’s cloud computing services a stage further to a cloud platform.