You Could Use A Rest!

So you have a far flung enterprise network that requires care and feeding to keep things up and running. You know you can’t do it alone and your personnel resources are stretched thin already. You need to start working smarter and not harder. During the last meeting with your HP networking team you find out about a great new network management solution called IMC, Intelligent Management Center.

You like what you see. A network management application that not only let’s you monitor and manage network products from HP, but many other vendors as well. You also discover how IMC can help with network services like AAA, its ability to do compliance checking, and position you to take advantage of Software Defined Networking (SDN) all from a single pane of glass.

After getting IMC up and running, things start to get a little simpler. You like simple. Need to push out a new set of SNMP community strings to 500 switches and routers; you easily finish the task in fifteen minutes. Need to verify you didn’t miss any default community strings? You can set up a compliance check and run it against all the devices in your network with very little effort.

Now that you have IMC doing the heavy lifting for you, taking care of the day to day tasks of backing up all the configurations on your network, base lining software revisions, and keeping an eye on everything else, you deserve a Rest. Not like a siesta, but more like a new innovation to take you to the next level.

RESTful API’s are what I am talking about. With the release of IMC 5.0, HP opened up the eAPI’s for third party applications to integrate with IMC. This results in the ability to have scripts that run outside of IMC get information stored in IMC and push changes into IMC. That’s a lot of IMC! The first time I heard of this I thought, “Hey, I have a new use for my Python chops” and I started to think about the possibilities.

RESTful API’s are basically HTTP calls in the form of PUT, GET and POST. You have probably seen them a thousand times in the top of your web browser and never even noticed them. By using the RESTful API’s you can use a POST to the IMC server to make a change. Perhaps you want to move a single device from one vlan to the next by simply entering the device’s MAC address and a vlan number. Wrap it up in RESTful API script and the job is done. There are multiple client languages that are supported.  Java and Python are my personal favorite.