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Red Hat builds one API for many clouds

The Deltacloud project aims to provide a "cloud broker" API that will let applications, scripts, and tools be created once and then used across public and private clouds.

Red Hat has launched a project to create an application programming interface that will let developers write applications for use across many kinds of clouds.

The Deltacloud project, introduced on Thursday, aims to provide a "cloud broker," according to Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Brian Stevens. It will provide drivers that map the API to external clouds such as Amazon's Elastic Compute 2 (EC2), as well as to internal virtual clouds.

"We want to foster an ecosystem of users, tools, and products for the cloud," Stevens told ZDNet UK. "Developers can write to a common API to blend public and private clouds."

On Wednesday, Red Hat's president of products and technologies, Paul Cormier, warned that Microsoft and other proprietary software makers are trying to lock customers into their own cloud platforms. Recently, industry efforts have begun to tackle cloud interoperability with the aim of avoiding such lock-in by introducing common standards and providing open-source platforms.

The Deltacloud API will allow applications, tools, and scripts to work across different clouds, Stevens said. For example, a business could start one instance on its internal cloud, then spark up another on an external cloud. A Deltacloud Web portal provides an interface for users to migrate those instances from one cloud to another and to view, manage and provision images across all clouds.

In addition to EC2, the project currently supports Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and VMware's ESX for virtualized private clouds, and will soon include Rackspace's cloud infrastructure.

Deltacloud will be based on representational state transfer (Rest), a Web-software architecture, according to a blog post by Stevens on Thursday.

Deltacloud is just one more of a number of open-source cloud API projects, which include Rackspace's effort, Laurent Lachal, an open-source research director at Ovum told ZDNet UK. "Red Hat is hoping the (open-source) community will pick this up, but it is just one more effort in a variety of efforts," Lachal said.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.