The cloud has been caught up in a whirlpool of activity even before it could mature as a technology, the result being that different vendors are using it in different ways. While some see this as the ultimate gift of choice, others are worried about the absence of a common standard when it comes to developing cloud applications. The problem is API standards, which are currently vendor-specific.
It’s no overstatement to say that developers find themselves in a confused mess as of today. If they stick to a popular cloud format, they lose opportunity to break into other markets, and it’s frankly quite difficult to make the development effort to please everyone. Another problem is that of vendor lock-in, where enterprises find themselves with no option to switch (without considerable problems) once they have committed to an ecosystem. The term “walled garden” has been specially coined to describe this phenomenon.
Will there be a standard API?
Looking at all this, you might be tempted into thinking that it’s only a matter of time before the major players wake up and agree on a standard. Well, it may not really happen. The biggest companies offering cloud services are unlikely to agree and share their APIs, preferring instead to maintain their dominance on the market. Creating abstractions around the existing APIs also doesn’t help much and incurs a penalty on performance.
All in all, chances of a standard API evolving are very slim, and the industry might as well move towards following the standards set by the top few, as is the case in other areas like smartphones, search engines and social networks.