The Application Programming Interface (API) is one of the main elements of cloud services. These elements are highly efficient for project management, storage and other similar cloud needs. The future successes of the cloud will be the people or companies who direct an efficient API strategy. In short, APIs are kind of like oxygen for cloud services; without correct APIs the cloud will not work as it is supposed to.
Another great analogy is to say that APIs are like the glue of cloud computing. This is why it is important to choose a cloud service with an efficient API strategy or you may end up with the cloud service that cannot be glued (or integrated) with other systems.
APIs Play a Critical Role in Cloud Computing
As you can imagine, APIs play many important roles in cloud computing. APIs make the platform extensible which can lead to a rich feature set. They also speed up the platform access and direct a more efficient management of platform security. They also help co-opt with other service providers. APIs ensure compliance and help with successful integration and interoperability. They make handling analytics an easy task.
A successful cloud provider knows better than to overlook the importance of APIs, this mistake can bring large companies down. Even huge, well-established companies like Google can make this mistake. When the company launched Google Latitude and Google Buzz, the tech world was all abuzz about these exciting new services. But when Google failed to release the APIs for the services, developers lost interest and the services never came close to garnering the popularity and usage that had been projected. The lesson- even if you are the largest internet company in the world, if you hold back the APIs for your platform release, you will pay the price with a lackluster performance. Perhaps the most important aspect of successful APIs is that they ensure data portability and interoperability.
Basically, we can say the following:
A web service cannot be called a cloud service if it does not have an API.
Or, in other words, a web service without API is SaaS – not could service.
Examine APIs When Choosing Your Service
The time will come when you will have to make a choice on which cloud service provider you wish to use for your product management, storage or other use for cloud service and there are several aspects you should consider. For instance, what business rationale is there for a cloud service provider to release the APIs for their service or program? When the API is released, this increases the costs by the platform providers so there has to be a good rationale to support the release of APIs. There are some situations in which the cloud service provider will release the API but you are unable to export your data from the cloud provider, nor can you improve certain functions and options of the cloud service by using the APIs.
When choosing your cloud service, you should seek the answers to these questions:
Security and authorization protocols:
First, examine the security aspects of the API. Is it secure enough to successfully integrate 3rd party applications- for example, will the API successfully support OAuth?
Export and import of data:
Are you able to export and migrate data using the API? How hard is to do that? How hard is to import data into cloud?
Health of 3rd party apps ecosystem:
What 3rd party applications have been integrated with this API and how many of them? Is the ecosystem healthy?
The answers to these questions will let you know if the cloud service you are considering is a good choice for your cloud servicing needs.
I hope you have found this article informative enough to give you an idea of the important role played by APIs. In reality, I have barely scratched the surface on the subject as this world is fast becoming dominated by successful cloud services such as Amazon, Google, Dropbox that provide efficient means for project management and storage solutions.
The few issues I have touched on in this article are minute compared to the many roles that API plays in cloud services.