What are they and what can be done with them?
One could argue that the contemporary web world is built on application programming interfaces (Apis) – or, more precisely, Web APIs that allow a Web application to access services and information from elsewhere.
A huge amount of web content is based on this combination of data from different online sources. A long time ago, we called them “mashups” and people hailed it “Internet 2.0 “. But such nonsense is now gone, and API use is just part of the fabric of contemporary computing.
Here, we take a look at the storage management APIs that developers can use to provide storage services for web-centric applications.
What is a storage API?
There is potentially some ambiguity about what is meant by Storage API. This is because, in the most basic terms, an API is just a code that allows one software to connect to another.
For example, if we are talking about “storage APIs” this could include APIs provided by a storage array manufacturer to expose the monitoring and control of their products to software written by developers. We could also talk about the local storage A web development interface that allows browser-based applications to store data locally and is viewed as patchy from a security perspective.
But that’s not what we’re going to focus on here. Instead, we’ll look at APIs that provide third-party storage or storage services (database, data lake, data warehouse) that developers can connect to through APIs written in app code.
What types of storage APIs are there?
Storage APIs can be categorized into a number of areas, including:
- APIs that connect to cloud and drive-based file sync services and productivity apps like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 through its Chart API.
- APIs to connect web applications to storage services from cloud providers.
- APIs that enable the use of storage-related services such as databases, data lakes, and data warehouses.
What use cases are there for storage APIs?
The categories we’ll be talking about here can probably be defined as more suited to small and medium business (SMB) scenarios – in the case of API connectivity to drive connected services to storage and productivity applications – and anything else.
When we talk about “connecting” to such services, we are really talking about the ability to create, read, update and delete (CRUD) data, usually via HTTP methods such as Get, publish, Put, and so on.
At the entry level, it is possible to connect to services such as Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 to access files, spreadsheets, emails, documents, calendars, analyzes, etc.
Beyond that, it is possible to connect to the storage capacity of cloud providers – usually object storage – via APIs to use and manipulate the data depending on the scenario.
On the enterprise side, there is also a wide range of data services accessible through the API. These include databases (SQL and NoSQL) as well as higher-level service layers often based on these, such as data lakes and data warehouses.
Who provides the storage APIs and how much do they cost?
Box and Dropbox provide APIs to enable many HTTP-based CRUD operations on data in their systems and for developers to integrate them into applications. These allow a range of ways to manipulate files and metadata and organize files. Access to them and development using their APIs is free below certain capacity limits.
Microsoft Graph is the developer’s API platform that can access a wide range of Microsoft products. The company offers developers a free 365 account. Beyond that, the costs are based on the number of Graph objects viewed, with the cost at the time of writing of $ 0.375 per 1,000 objects.
Google workspace (formerly G-Suite) offers API access to a wide range of its productivity applications and beyond. These include access to email, calendars, and spreadsheets as a rudimentary form of database. There is a free trial subscription, but it only lasts 14 days.
The storage capacity of the major cloud providers – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud – is primarily API-based, with Rest and HTTP commands used to access storage capacity in the cloud. Access to hyperscalers’ object storage offerings, such as Amazon S3 and Azure Blob, is through familiar API methods for CRUD operations.
Often these will be accessible by applications running in the cloud, but this is not necessary, and APIs provide a way to expose storage to applications running elsewhere.
Database services are also accessible through APIs, such as AWS RDS (SQL) and DynamoDB (NoSQL) data base. There are also Azure SQL and Cosmos DB databases, as well as Google’s Cloud SQL and Datastore NoSQL counterparts.
Additionally, you can run MongoDB, Scylla, and PostGreSQL in Big Three clouds.
With all these cloud databases, access can be done through API. All cloud providers have a free tier, but for small scale use cases and for developers.
Something more like cloud point database solutions – sometimes referred to as DBaaS – (and generally NoSQL) are available from Fauna, DataStax, Couchbase and Atlas from MongoDB.
Beyond that, even more complex data and database storage solutions, such as data lakes and data warehouses, are accessible through the API and available from the Big Three. These include the Azure Data Lake, Amazon Redshift, and Google BigQuery data warehouse offerings.