APIs are critical for nearly every Internet business by now. The website ProgrammableWeb is closely tracking its conquest of the Internet – with 3322 APIs listed – and counting. Articles, blogs and Twitter are full of praising APIs. But, when talking about the cloud, then what is special about APIs and how are they useful for cloud computing?
There are several answers to be analyzed. APIs are a solution for cloud computing that sets a higher level of automation standard for any company who wants to be in the cloud. The API movement has in fact placed a huge influence on DevOps (aka “infrastructure as code”). APIs for the cloud are even more important than an enhanced automation platform, because APIs help deal with the issue of federation in cloud implementation.
In some companies who are just new in the adoption of the cloud and still wants to retain some of their old system, APIs may be proven helpful. This will help answer the issue of coherence in using old applications to go with CRM via a SaaS model (aka Salesforce.com), public IaaS, employee management access, inventory and management of the new cloud, data integration and many more.
Two options are available for these companies: one is to have separate management systems for SaaS and IaaS on off-service premise. The second option is to take a federated management system for on-premise process. Federation is good in providing the conceptual framework, while integration provides the mechanics of federation.
Federation can be used to provide consumer services through SaaS and IaaS plus it allows integration from all angles:
Service and Ticket Request Integration: Integration of the current on-premise provisioning system and still be able to talk to a public IaaS provider.
Service Management and Control Integration: Integration of monitoring, verification and authorization approaches for all cloud services.
Real-time Service integration: APIs will provide service for the integration of data from across on- premise and off-premise systems.
The list may go on as new facets of cloud computing and APIs are being considered as a company goes more into the cloud. The conclusion is that there are several issues that need to be addressed as a company embarks deeper into the cloud. And if federation and integration are vital to the cloud services, then APIs are just as important. Some of the questions that need to be raised with the use of federation are: how many APIs are needed? And will this affect the domains and the solutions from the service provider then affect the users as well?
API are the glue of cloud computing, but there are still other things that need to be placed and secured, like: the streaming and integration of work and standardization in the use of APIs.