API-A Mediator Seamlessly Integrating Cloud Environments
A great analogy says that API (application program interface) is the oxygen for the seamless life of cloud services. Being one of the most important elements in cloud computing, it accomplishes all the needs, from sharing a huge amount of data to providing high efficiency in project management, data storage, and platform security.
Organizations have realized that cloud computing revolves around APIs as it possesses immense ability to integrate different business environments outside the organization as well as inside to develop new solutions smooth exchange computing services, applications, and storage virtually.
With the rising demand for virtual assistance in the era of the Internet of Things i.e. IoT, the developer needs one essential element to organize their cloud infrastructure from different service providers. API makes this synchronization easier with its outstanding interoperability.
API stands for application program interface, it’s the messenger that takes request to the server, retrieves data, and then returns the response to your computing unit. It is responsible for all the interactions between applications, data, and devices, as they all have APIs that allow computing machines to operate them. With the help of API, applications communicate with each other seamlessly without any interruption. Figure 1 shows the above stated API operations.
Role of API
APIs play a vital role in cloud computing due to the increasing dependence of technology on clouds such as virtualization, service-oriented architecture, grid computing, and many more. Some of its roles are listed below:
- It provides a high level of compatibility to multi-cloud integration to integrate data across different cloud providers such as GCP, AWS, Azure and many more
- It helps in the development of applications and services for the cloud platform.
- APIs contribute to the rapid cloud access and ensure compliance as well as system integration and application interoperability on the cloud.
APIs provide numerous features that increase the flexibility of the cloud, allowing a user to increase or decrease the computing speed as required. API takes care of the system’s portability as well as consolidation. Cloud service providers work actively to create smart API’s to provide their users with a commendable cloud computing experience. Below figure 2 shows the roles of API structurally.
APIs create an essential part of a cloud environment by deciding the type of service model. Hence, cloud providers have started developing their own API’s which connects better to their cloud environment. Below are a few major cloud providers and their APIs.
- Amazon CloudWatch developed by Amazon
- Google Cloud Vision, Google Cloud Storage, and Google translate are developed by Google
- Microsoft Speaker Recognition developed by Microsoft is shown below:
The capability to elevate cloud practices and cross-cloud compatibility have led to the development of cloud API. These API’s help system administrators to integrate applications and other workloads to the cloud.
A cloud application programming interface is a type of API that supports service and application developments used to accessorize cloud hardware and software. It acts as a gateway or interface to give direct and indirect access to cloud services to users.
Cloud API is an important component for any public cloud solution which is primarily based on REST and SOAP frameworks along with cross-platform and business-specific API.
- Where SOAP is a simple object access protocol, which is designed as a web communication protocol that supports XML data format to follow standard messaging structures, encoding rules and align procedure request
- While Rest is Representational State Transfer protocol that relies on simple URL for web access and uses four different HTTP verbs such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE to perform tasks.
- The cross-platform and cloud API give the user the ability to access cloud resources not only from their primary cloud provider but also from others. This saves development efforts and time as enterprises can access required cloud resources from other cloud providers as well.
Cloud APIs communicate with cloud infrastructure to assign resources, computing, and storage for requested cloud applications or services.
As per the requirement, there are four major service areas where cloud computing is integrated with different service models or cloud service provider as follows:
- PaaS API– Platform as a service API is developed to provide easy access and operation of a cloud environment by integrating databases, website data, and storage, which results in the finest application development.
- IaaS API -infrastructure as a service API manages specific cloud components such as the provision of cloud resources, VM workload, and network configurations.
- SaaS API -Software as a service API provides connectivity to applications with cloud infrastructure that gives application extensions for your cloud environment.
- Cloud service provider /cross-platform API– As most of the tenants are not confined to a single cloud provider or platform, which has introduced the need for better cross-platform compatibility. Hence, cross-platform APIs allow the cloud to renters the ability to approach their primary cloud service provider as well as others. This will save time and development efforts as resources and workloads are accessible by the organizations from different cloud providers.
So, it is important to select the right cloud-based API for your businesses and ensure their proper inter-operability and compatibility before starting any type of development. Some of the majorly used APIs are listed below:
- Amazon Web Services API
- OpenStack API
- VMware vCloud API
APIs have become a catalyst for business growth. Major cloud providers offer APIs to connect their services so that they can increase their gaze to involve third-party interfaces for providing outstanding services to their users. APIs have become a gateway to all the distributed data with cloud applications, services, and storage for diverse platforms such as retail banking, communication, and content, leisure, entertainment, e-commerce, and cloud services. Cloud APIs have achieved better cloud flexibility and will continue to grow as the organizations pursue to find more active ways to connect their environments.