Today, Zend Technologies announced the Simple API for Cloud Application Services project, which is 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.
This new project is designed to encourage widespread participation and contributions from the open source community, resulting in the availability of Simple Cloud API adapters for virtually all major cloud providers.
Zend, Microsoft, IBM, Nirvanix, Rackspace and GoGrid are all co-founding contributors to this community project, which aims to facilitate the development of cloud applications that can access services on all major cloud platforms and whose initial goal is to provide a set of programming interfaces for PHP developers to facilitate the development of applications that have basic cloud storage needs.
The first deliverables will include interfaces for file storage, document database, and simple queue services from platforms like Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network and Rackspace Cloud Files, allowing developers to deploy software applications to access services in these environments without making time consuming and expensive changes to their source code.
As Andi Gutmans, the CEO at Zend Technologies, notes in the press release announcing the project, "cloud computing offers irresistible value to enterprises of all sizes, but the lack of portability across cloud application services for even the most basic operations has been an impediment to broader adoption of cloud services."
An initial Simple Cloud API proposal and reference implementation is already available now for community review and participation, while a technology preview of the PHP client libraries for Windows Azure can be found here.
Microsoft is also contributing Simple Cloud API adapters, along with the official PHP client libraries for Windows Azure storage, to future versions of Zend Framework. These adapters will allow applications to take advantage of many Windows Azure features through the Simple Cloud API interface, while Microsoft's client libraries will put Windows Azure innovations, such as transaction and partial upload support, at the fingertips of cloud application developers.
"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," Doug Hauger, the General Manager for Windows Azure, notes in the press release.
Microsoft's involvement started a few months ago, through our work with Real Dolmen on a Windows Azure SDK for PHP developers. This SDK has been submitted to the Zend Framework, and it now forms the basis of Microsoft's contribution to the Simple Cloud API project.
As Vijay Rajagopalan, a Principal Architect at Microsoft, notes in his blog, the Zend Could Adapter for Windows Azure will leverage Microsoft's contribution. PHP developers will now be able to program against Windows Azure - in a way that is consistent with other cloud platforms - by tapping into the main features of Window Azure Storage.
Those PHP developers who need to use specific Windows Azure features not included in the scope of the Simple Cloup API (like transaction), will be able to combine the Zend Cloud Adapter with the dedicated Windows Azure SDK for PHP.
"This will allow developers to use common application services in the cloud, while enabling them to unlock value-added features available from individual providers. Simple API for Cloud also gives PHP developers more choices, and this is a great opportunity for them to think about using Windows Azure," he says.