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Getting Started with vSphere’s API Explorer

Every time I talk to users, there’s always one consistent theme: learning to use vSphere’s APIs is difficult. With the new release of vSphere 6.5, we’ve taken aim at improving that experience with the API Explorer. The API Explorer allows users to connect to the API endpoint and then browse and interact with available REST based APIs and their calls. This includes available parameters, expected responses, what response status codes may mean, and much more. If you’ve happened to use the Managed Object Browser, or MOB, think of that… but on steroids!

Accessing the API Explorer

Accessing the API Explorer is incredibly easy. It’s available on any API endpoint whether that be a vCenter server (appliance or Windows based) or external PSC appliance. Browse to: https://vcenter.fqdn/apiexplorer

API Explorer Main Screen

First Look

After having loaded the API Explorer’s interface, it’s time to start looking around and seeing what’s available. There are two items that should jump out immediately, the login option and the “Select API” dropdown.

If you want to really interact with the API itself, you should log in. The login prompt accepts SSO based credentials, similar to what would be used to log into the vSphere client itself.

The “Select API” dropdown box allows the selection of available API. The APIs available on the endpoint are dependent upon the role the endpoint has.
Example: an External PSC appliance won’t have the same APIs and calls available to it as does the vCenter Server appliance.

Common APIs:

  • Appliance – handles calls to the underlying VMware appliance
  • CIS – Common Infrastructure Services, handles calls involving tagging
  • Content – handles calls involves the Content Library
  • vAPI – vSphere API, handles calls regarding the API endpoint
  • vCenter – handles calls to involving the vCenter

Browsing the API Explorer

Let’s take a look around the API Explorer now that we have our bearings.

With the vcenter API selected, expand the “GET /vcenter/cluster” operation.

API Explorer - Cluster Operations

On the above screen, we can see the path to make the call and the method. However, the API Explorer also gives some other information such as the expected response class, parameters and potential response messages. Clicking on those items expands and collapses additional information. Here’s some examples:

API Explorer Example - Response Class

API Explorer Example – Response Class

API Explorer Example - Cluster Filter Parameters

API Explorer Example – Cluster Filter Parameters

API Explorer Example - Response Messages

API Explorer Example – Response Messages

My favorite part is right below those areas, the “Try It Out!” button. Clicking on that button performs the operation directly within the browser. It then provides a bunch of information such as an example cURL statement, the request’s URL, as well as the request’s body, status code, and headers.

API Explorer Example - Try It Out

Conclusion

The API Explorer is a great way to orient to and discover vSphere’s REST based APIs. Not only does it provide lots of information and additional context around the API calls, it even helps users start making those calls.

What’s New with Developer and Automation Interfaces for vSphere 6.5?

VMworld Europe 2016 wrapped up last week and there’s been a lot of new and exciting products and features announced. One of the more exciting things that have been announced have been around the automation and development space.

As seen from the keynote in Barcelona (see about 35 minutes in), VMware is taking the developer and automation specialists seriously. In the new vSphere 6.5 release we are providing simplified and modern API interfaces and giving customers their choice of access with language bindings and automation tools to a fresh new modern set of APIs.

What’s New

VMware vCenter has received some new extensions to its REST based API. In vSphere 6.0, this API set provides the ability to manage the Content Library and Tagging but now also includes the ability to manage and configure the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) based functionality and basic VM management.

REST API Documentation

VCSA API

The VCSA’s new and simplified REST based API will consistently be able to manage things like how to access the appliance, managing user accounts, checking on the health of the appliance or even the services of the appliance itself, networking configurations like firewall rules or proxy settings, being able to provide a file based backup or restore of appliance and even managing system settings like NTP or just checking the uptime or version.
 

Virtual Machine API

Additional functionality has been added for handling the management of VMs, using the range of interfaces (including REST) you will be able to read information, create, update and even delete VMs, as well as setting their power state and working with the hardware. Some example hardware tasks would be connecting the CD-ROM, updating the RAM allotment, adding a network adapter, removing a hard disk, and so forth.

All of this not just available via the developer and automation tooling but also simplified to make sure they are easily discoverable and the use of strong defaults means you only specify the information that is needed, a simple example of this means that to create a VM is now as easy as 12 lines of JSON and a single API call.

Discover the APIs with the new API Explorer

What’s the best way to learn about these awesome new APIs? How about checking out the API Explorer that lives on the vCenter. It’s available on the vCenter server at the following URL: http://*vCenter URL*/apiexplorer Once connected, the API Explorer will display information about the numerous endpoints available in order to easily understand the API models. The API Explorer also allows users to expand each API call and check out the required fields, understand the request body, see the available filter information, as well as a list of response messages. One of my favorite capabilities, the ability to click a button and trying out the calls live!

vSphere API Explorer

Process Improvements

Process Improvements for Developer and Automation Interfaces
Due to how the above APIs are defined, we also have the ability to greatly improve our turnaround time on providing resources! This process allows us to provide a number of developer and automation based tool integrations out of the box.

The SDK with new improved, simplified samples will include Java, .NET, Python, Ruby, and Perl.

This also allows our automation tools to be provided on day 0 as well. The associated PowerCLI cmdlets, Datacenter CLI commands (new in 6.5), vRealize Orchestrator workflows, and so forth are all part of the process. Lastly, and probably the best part, the documentation is created as well. The documentation will be fully featured and much easier to understand!

Summary

vSphere 6.5 brings all the features and improvements from above and many more. One thing is certain though, the future is bright when it comes to VMware’s developer and automation interfaces. This blog post shows a summary of a lot of new features that each deserve their own blog posts, watch this blog over the next couple of months as there will be several more blog posts diving further into each of these areas!

All-Flash Virtual SAN for VDI with Brocade vTM

We are pleased to announce we’ve published an update to the All-Flash Virtual SAN for VDI reference architecture to highlight optimization of this solution with Brocade Virtual Traffic Manager (vTM), an application delivery controller designed for any virtual or cloud environment.

Brocade_vTM_VDI-2

Image courtesy of Brocade

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New Reference Architecture: All-Flash Virtual SAN for VDI

Last week, we hinted at the release of a new reference architecture detailing an all-flash virtual SAN for VDI environments. Today we’re pleased to announce the reference architecture has been published and is ready for you to download here:

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/VMware-Horizon-View-And-All-Flash-Virtual-SAN-Reference-Architecture.pdf

The Power of Partnership: All-Flash Virtual SAN for VDI

VMware Virtual SAN™ is a software-defined storage platform that aggregates locally attached disks of hosts to create distributed shared storage solution, and the new Virtual SAN 6.0 gives you the power to design and deploy solutions with 100 percent flash-based storage. To demonstrate the technology and integration points, VMware and our ecosystem partners—Avago, Brocade, Dell, and SanDisk—recently created a reference architecture for implementing Virtual SAN in a VDI environment with all SSDs instead of traditional hybrid configuration.

VMware_All_Flash_Blog_VSAN_VDI_img1

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API Tutorial – Downloading Files from a Content Library Item

This blog post is a part of the blog series published by the Content Library team. Please find all the blog posts by the team at this link.

In Uploading an OVF Template to a Content Library tutorial, we went through the UpdateSession API to upload files to a library item with an example for uploading an OVF template. In this tutorial, we explain the concept of DownloadSession API and show how to use it to download files from a library item.

At the end of this tutorial you should be able to:

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API Tutorial – Uploading an OVF Template to a Content Library

This blog post is a part of the blog series published by the Content Library team. Please find all the blog posts by the team at this link.

Previously, the Basic Life Cycle of a Content Library tutorial explained how to use Content Library APIs to create, update and delete libraries and library items. In this tutorial, we will further explore the APIs to upload content to a library item.

At the end of this tutorial you should be able to:

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API Tutorial – Basic Life Cycle of a Content Library

This blog post is a part of the blog series published by the Content Library team. Please find all the blog posts by the team at this link.

We discussed the requirements and how to prepare the environment to use the Content Library APIs in the Getting Started with the Content Library APIs tutorial. Now we should have an environment ready to make API calls against the Content Library Service in a vCenter Server instance. In this tutorial, we will go through the basic life cycle of a library and library items. The basic operations we will cover are:

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API Tutorial – Getting Started with the Content Library APIs

This blog post is a part of the blog series published by the Content Library team. Please find all the blog posts by the team at this link.

This tutorial will go through the steps required to setup a development environment that uses the Content Library APIs.  At the end of this post you should be able to:

  • quickly run a Content Library API sample
  • setup a development environment to facilitate development and exploration using the Content Library APIs

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Content Library – Blog Series!

Introduction

VMware vSphere® Content Library empowers vSphere Admins to effectively manage VM templates, vApps, ISO images and scripts with ease.  It is a new addition in the vSphere 6.0 release.

This blog series authored by the Content Library Team is aimed at explaining concepts and APIs exposed by the Content Library feature.

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