Cisco UCS Director: An Overview of APIs

I just went through a two day training course on Cisco UCS Director APIs that covers both the REST APIs and Open Automation SDK. For people who don’t know UCS Director yet, it’s the orchestration engine Cisco acquired from a start-up company Cloupia more than one year ago. If you know VMware vCenter Orchestrator, UCS Director is something very similar but with more features on various hardware components for converged infrastructure. To fit into its unified data center strategy, Cisco re-branded it as UCS Director.

The UCS Director REST APIs is also known as north bound APIs. It is used for other applications to integrate and manage the UCSD server. The Open Automation SDK is the other direction – it’s for building connectors that would be managed by, or integrated with, UCSD. It’s also called south bound APIs.

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As its name suggests, UCS Director REST APIs is built using REST. The URL pattern is pretty straight forward. Response format wise, it support both XML and Json, which can be changed on the fly with different parameter in the URL. One of the most important features in the REST APIs is the workflow management and execution. That would allow you to integrate UCSD into your automation fabric. If you have a portal or ticketing system, for example, you can use the REST API to execute workflows.

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The Open Automation SDK is used for partners to build modules connecting to other systems, be it a hardware, or software like VMware vSphere, MS Hyper-V. It’s 100% Java, which makes the development a lot easier than the VMware vCenter plugin (maybe it’s not a good comparison but they both involves Flex GUI and Java code). At the same time, the extensibility especially on GUI customization is less flexible. Having said that, the power of creating new tasks is limitless – you can do pretty much anything as long as Java allows. With a new task defined, you can use it in your workflow just as the built-in tasks. The related Open Automation API Guide can be found from Cisco site (PDF, epub).

In the future articles, I’ll detail these two APIs with samples and more tips. At the same time, you can try out UCS Director evaluation from here. As I emphasized many times, APIs for a management product is really a “view” to the product, which is the “model” if you think it in MVC (model-view-controller) concepts.

Stay tuned.

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3 Comments

  1. James Ren
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Dear Steve,

    Would you mind if you could let me know what is the name of the course? I’d be interested in this too.

    I’m sorry to bother you but I ran into a problem with UCSD. It seems the current GUI did not fullfil a proper task to instantiate Cisco Nexus VSG in our environment and I have to make a southbound API call to Cisco PNSC to do that from there.

    However, would you be able to tell me how that can be done by any chance? Especially how I can build the call through open automation?

    I added you on LinkIn if you don’t mind.

    With Kind Regards,

    James Ren

  2. Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Sure James,

    The training is not a public offering but a pilot one. It may be available later. For your work, you may write your own task with Open Automation Framework.

    Good luck!

    Steve

  3. Obul Kambham
    Posted March 17, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    James,

    Send me an e-mail and I will let you know when the next course is announced.

    Regards,

    Obul

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