Microsoft, Zend and others announce Simple API for Cloud Application Services


Zend Technologies today launched the Simple API for Cloud Application Services project, “a new open source initiative that allows developers to use common application services in the cloud, while enabling them to unlock value-added features available from individual providers.”

The initial goal of the project is to provide a set of programming interfaces for PHP developers to facilitate the development of applications that have basic cloud storage needs.

The project’s announcement includes a quote from Microsoft’s Doug Hauger, General Manager Windows Azure: “Microsoft is pleased to continue to work with Zend and join efforts with other contributors to this project. The Simple Cloud API is an example of Microsoft’s continued investment in the openness and interoperability of its platform. We’re excited to see how this project will foster adoption of cloud computing platforms by PHP developers and hope that many of these developers are encouraged to use Windows Azure.”

What is the Simple API for Cloud Application Services

Cloud computing platforms are new technologies and the platform vendors are innovating rapidly in their platforms to address varied customer needs. Some projects do not require the richness provided by vendor-specific APIs and can instead be built with simple APIs that provide an abstraction layer across different platforms. From a developer’s perspective, simple APIs make it easier to write code that remains the same whatever the destination platform.


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This project is pragmatic. The first available implementation of the “Simple API for Cloud Application Services” is provided by Zend who will ship the “Zend Cloud” adapters that will target storage services such as:

  • File storage services, to enable all kinds of files to be stored
  • Document Storage services, to enable manipulation of structured data in a tabular form
  • Simple queue services, to enable storage and delivery of messages.

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It encourages PHP developers to explore cloud computing by writing code that leverages commonalities across different platforms’ storage services. As the developers become proficient and learn each platform, they will be further inclined to learn vendor-specific features to take advantage of richer functionality.

Microsoft’s contribution to the project

A few months ago, Microsoft started to work with Real Dolmen on a Windows Azure SDK for PHP developers. This SDK has been submitted to the Zend Framework (see “July CTP of Windows Azure for PHP Released and support in Zend Framework”) and it now forms the basis of Microsoft’s contribution to the Simple Cloud API project.

PHP developers will be able to program against Windows Azure using the Simple Cloud API to access the main features of Window Azure Storage:

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For PHP developers who need to use Windows Azure specific features that are not included in the Simple Cloup API (e.g. Windows Azure storage supports transactions unlike some other cloud storage services) they will be able to combine Simple Cloud API code with Windows Azure storage specific code using the dedicated Windows Azure SDK for PHP. The goal is to allow “developers to use common application services in the cloud, while enabling them to unlock value-added features available from individual providers”.

The Channel9 video provides more information on this announcement:


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Going Forward

Windows Azure is an open platform. We believe that initiatives like the Simple Cloud API will benefit adoption of cloud computing platforms by developers. The Simple Cloud API gives PHP developers more choices and for Microsoft this is a great opportunity to encourage them to use Windows Azure.

Let’s meet at www.simplecloud.org

Vijay Rajagopalan, Principal Architect, Microsoft Corp.

Comments (4)

  1. David Jung says:

    Is the API implementation going to support Amazon’s analogous AWS services ‘out-of-the-box’?

    (It seems like MS just created Azure services that mirrored Amazon’s – MS-Table ~ Amazon-SimpleDB, MS-Blob ~ Amazon-SimpleStorageService & MS-Queue ~ Amazon-SimpleQueueService)

  2. Jacques Talbot says:

    There are already several cloud API initiatives driven by various stakeholders.

    How can you announce “yet another cloud API” without positionning it versus these intiatives?

    I mean, in a blog context, you are supposed to be have less corporate talk 🙂

  3. Chirayu says:

    It seems that right now its limited to Zend framework and an application being build out of zend framework is not supported.

  4. vijay_rajagopalan says:

    David,

    Simple Cloud API is a community open source project with a goal to provide a simple consistent API to use across various cloud infrastructure. The project has just started. Microsoft, as one of the founding members contribute to enable the bridge between Simple Could API to Windows Azure. I’m sure other “adapters” will appear really soon. Keep an eye on http://simplecloud.org

    Jacques,

    Microsoft constantly evaluates its participation in industry projects and initiatives. Zend approached Microsoft with the request to participate in the Simple Cloud API project and, after a detailed review and after considering feedback from the PHP community, it was decided that Microsoft’s participation in this project would be valuable and with immediate and tangible benefits for the PHP community.  We are pleased there are several efforts that are working to keep the cloud open.  This market momentum points to the clear customer requirement for choice and flexibility.

    Chirayu,

    Indeed, The Simple API for Cloud Application Services is implemented as part of Zend Framework. That said, you may choose standalone & vendor specific implementations like PHP SDK for Windows Azure if it works for your application architecture