Cloud Application Programming Interface (Cloud API)

Reviewed by Margaret RouseCheckmark | Last updated: September 15, 2021

What Does Cloud Application Programming Interface (Cloud API) Mean?

A Cloud API is a software interface that allows developers to link cloud computing services together. Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow one computer program to make its data and functionality available for other programs to use. Developers use APIs to connect software components across a network.

Cloud APIs are often categorized as being vendor-specific or cross-platform. Vendor-specific cloud APIs are written to support the cloud services of one specific provider, while cross-platform APIs allow developers to connect functionalities from two or more cloud providers.

Cloud APIs are often categorized by type:

  • PaaS APIs: Platform as a Service APIs provide access to back-end services such as databases.
  • SaaS APIs: Software as a Service APIs facilitate connections between cloud services at the application layer.
  • IaaS APIs: Infrastructure as a Service APIs enable cloud-based compute and storage resources to be provisioned and de-provisioned as quickly as possible.

Techopedia Explains Cloud Application Programming Interface (Cloud API)

When a cloud provider creates an application or service, they also create APIs so that other software can communicate with that software or service.

Cloud API protocols

The protocols that support Cloud APIs include:

REST -- RESTful APIs use the HTTP protocol to perform functions such as creating, reading, updating, archiving and deleting records.

GraphQl -- GraphQL pulls all relevant data from multiple sites with a single request.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) -- SOAP APIs use the XML protocol to transfer data.

JSON-RPC -- This type of remote procedure call uses JSON formatting instead of XML to transfer data.


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