VMware has developed a new API aimed at offering service providers a means of improving their connection to private clouds. The move is part of the vCloud initiative announced yesterday, aimed at bridging the gap between public and private clouds.

The VMware vCloud API, which has been released privately to several service providers, is due to be released publicly very shortly. The development of the API is a crucial element of the whole vCloud initiative and aims to bridge the gap between the private and public cloud said Dan Chu, vice president of VMware's emerging business division.

Chu said that one of the drivers for the API was the lack of standardisation for cloud computing interoperability. He said that the company was looking to build on its work with Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) on the open virtualisation format (OVF). "The industry needs to take a big step towards interoperability. We hope to work with the appropriate bodies to move forward to establish a common standard."

VMware has already submitted a draft of its VMware vCloud API to enable consistent mobility, provisioning, management, and service assurance of applications running in internal and external clouds.

Simon Hansford, vice president products and marketing for UK service provider Attenda, said that the company was one of those that had taken the API from VMware although he stressed that Attenda was not yet offering services based on it. He said that the availability of the API would be a way of speeding up service delivery.

As an instance, he cited the example of one of its customers, the airline BMI. He described that one of the ways in worked with the airline was by offering greater capacity in exceptional circumstances, for example, when a new block of tickets has been released.

"We can provision more capacity to cope with this, with just a 24-hour turnaround - something that would have weeks when we worked physically but with the new API we will be able to move even quicker. In time, we will be able to deploy more resources automatically rather than manually, as we do now."