Three noteworthy cloud-based APIs: the battle between giants
Amazon, Salesforce and IBM are waging a battle for the control of cloud-based services, primarily the creation, deployment and control of scalable infrastructure for third-party cloud-based applications. Here are some of their most interesting APIs.
Large companies across the world are providing service in their platforms to third-parties through APIs; a and they are earning a lot of money with this. In the sector of cloud-based data and services, application development interfaces have become an essential tool for controlling infrastructure, exchanging data and applying features to finalist products (for example, a native app for mobile devices.)
There are hundreds of examples of companies that are currently generating a lot of income with cloud-based APIs for storage, computing or other services. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Salesforce, IBM, AT&T and Microsoft are some interesting examples.
The following are three of the most important cloud-based APIs on the market. Many of them generate huge profits and, even more importantly, a dominant position within the industry for their companies.
1. Amazon APIs
Amazon has a compendium of application development interfaces that are really powerful, most of them for offering cloud-hosted products and services. The APIs related to some of the specific services of Amazon Web Services (AWS) are well known, from Amazon Simple Storage Service for cloud storage infrastructure systems to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), the cloud-based computer system for running applications, or AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), the Amazon user authentication system. However these are not the only notable cases. There's more: right now Amazon is promoting Amazon Drive, what they define as a service of unlimited storage and secure cloud content, a similar product that already has some rivals Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, but also other players like Dropbox or Box. Its idea is that Amazon users and customers can save images, videos, music or documents and they can be viewed problem free in the cloud via any device.
Amazon Drive currently provides an API and several SDKs (Software Development Kits) that are only available by invitation at the moment. The product developers and IT professionals who want to test them need to ask permission through the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The API and SDKs is what allows Amazon to offer cloud-based services to companies that have products that want to offer storage to third parties. SDKs facilitate integrating Amazon's service in Android and iOS devices.
Jeff Bezos's company also offers other products based on the cloud and able to store and perform operations in this scenario: it has push notification services for mobile applications (Amazon PinPoint), it offers a service to connect TV (Amazon Fire TV) with the second screen (iOS applications, Android and Fire OS) and vice versa (Amazon Fling, which has its own SDK), mapping services… Even its own incentive system for other companies is based, of course, on an API.
2. Salesforce: Force.com and Heroku
Salesforce, one of the giants of cloud computing, has a large range of products that have become a benchmark in the market:
- Heroku: gives developers everything needed to deploy, run and manage cloud-based applications written in languages and development frameworks in Ruby, Node.js, Java, Python, Clojure, Scala and PHP. Heroku's API enables programmers to automate, extend and combine all services contained within the product. It multiplies the possibilities that were only previously within our reach through the command line. The first thing to keep in mind to work with Heroku is that you must have a user account (free of charge) and have knowledge of Curl. This is a library of functions that is used to connect to web servers with standard protocols such as telnet, http or https. The user authentication process of Heroku's API is carried out through the OAuth secure protocol, especially for any service being shared with third parties. The entire security system is based on creating an access token that will lead each and every one of the requests that is intended to be done to the API. If you believe that the token has been compromised, it is as simple as cancelling it and requesting a new one.
3. IBM Bluemix API
Bluemix is IBM's cloud-based service. It allows developers and companies to create, deploy and manage all kinds of cloud-based applications. And it is based on Cloud Foundry, an open source PaaS (Platform as a Service) platform. In terms of the development frameworks used, Cloud Foundry supports Java, Spring, Ruby and Node.js programmers; on the application service it has support with MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Redis or RabbitMQ databases, and the cloud service is fully open (you may have a public or private cloud-based service).
All control of infrastructure in Bluemix is via an API, with more than 3,000 documented methods and over 180 different services, such as information retrieval of accounts, inventory or DNS systems. It supports all protocols (SOAP, REST or XML-RPC) and professionals in programming languages like C#, Perl, PHP, Python or Ruby.
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