A cloud provider API is an application program interface that allows the end user to interact with a cloud provider's service.
Cloud provider APIs support Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and HTTP over SSL (HTTPS) communication protocols and have authentication mechanisms to ensure that only authorized requests can be made to the provider's system.
Many cloud providers have their own proprietary API which can make it difficult for a cloud customer to change from one provider’s service to another’s. To make it easier to get new customers, some cloud providers are offering a cross-platform cloud API. A cross-platform cloud API provides a higher level of abstraction by translating a specific cloud provider's API calls into a more standards-based generic form. This provides the cloud customer with the ability to use a single API call to access cloud resources on more than one provider's cloud computing platform.
See also: cloud storage API