Oracle Revs up Cloud API

Joining a number of other vendors and multi-vendor initiatives in the race to standardize cloud computing, Oracle has released a set of APIs for running a private cloud that the company hopes will become an industry standard.

The company has submitted its proposed APIs to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) for consideration as a possible standard, the company announced Wednesday.

"We're submitting it so discussions can be had around the establishment of cloud standards," said Rex Wang, vice president of product marketing.

The idea is "to promote interoperability and to make sure that clouds can talk to one another to make sure workloads can be easily moved among clouds," he said.

The Oracle Cloud Resource Model API provides a set of hooks that could be used by cloud management software to hide the low-level configuration details of provisioning service from an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)-styled offering. It would allow users to easily deploy their virtual servers across clouds run on different hardware platforms.

First created by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in January, the APIs were refined by Oracle and submitted to the DMTF cloud incubator group in last June. This month, Oracle resubmitted the standard to the cloud management working group.

The API set has two pieces. One is a model that describes the relationships between different types of resources, such as storage volumes and virtual machines. "It represents them as logical entities, so they can be accessed without understanding the details of the physical architecture," Wang said.

The the second piece is the protocol used to interact with resources. It is based on the REST (Representational State Transfer) standard for communicating data over HTTP.

Oracle is not alone in its attempts to standardize the operations of private clouds. Red Hat has offered its Deltacloud project to the DMTF as well. Eucalyptus Systems offers an open source implementation of the Amazon Elastic Compute and Simple Storage Services APIs for private cloud use, arguing that the popularity of the Amazon services would make these APIs a de facto standard.

In July, Rackspace and U.S. government space agency NASA launched OpenStack, a set of open source software for running private clouds.

By submitting its own API, Oracle is hoping that its customers use cases are ultimately addressed in the development of a standard, Wang said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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