No one wants to be marooned on an IT management island. Management tools need to be extensible so you can integrate ongoing administrative operations into your existing IT management environment. I wanted to introduce the Hitachi’s Configuration Manager REST API that provides a common, REST-based application programmer’s interface (API) for creating programmable services to connect and interact with Hitachi storage platforms and software. This can help you build an interactive bridge with your existing IT environment by leveraging standard API commands that can be integrated into management programs, interfaces or scripts.
To help readers learn more about what they can build and extend using the Configuration Manager REST API, I’ve wanted to share a recent conversation I had with my colleague, Craig Chan, Hitachi Data Systems Director of Product Management, who manages our REST API efforts.
Richard: Craig, what is the best way to manage Hitachi storage platforms if users want to use their own programmatic interfaces?
Craig: Using the Configuration Manager REST API is the easiest and most complete way to programmatically configure and manage Hitachi platforms. It is as simple as incorporating REST API commands directly in your existing management scripts. With this API, you can provision storage, get an inventory of your resources or even automate the setup of your Hitachi storage system. For system setup, it covers a wide range of administrative operations such as creating and managing RAID groups, storage pools, logical storage volumes or configuring system settings such as date/time, user passwords, licenses, email notifications through SMTP or SNMP traps bound to specific communities.
Richard: What are the advantages of using the API compared with other Hitachi programming interfaces, such as the Command Line Interface (CLI)?
Craig: The Configuration Manager REST API is easier to use compared to the CLI because it uses standard HTTP commands (GET, PUT, POST, DELETE). Plus, the API uses a new API architecture that provides faster operations. You can get quicker system responses so the API operations can be up to 20x faster than using the standard CLI.
Richard: What is the architecture of the Configuration Manager REST API?
Craig: Here is a graphical representation of the REST API architecture. It sits across an extensive set of micro services that span common management functions to system operations. You can utilize the API to access and integrate any of these services into your management programs or scripts.
Richard: What else about the REST API is better?
Craig: Well, we have heard from customers that they see much better performance for operating our storage systems through the in-band (via Fibre Channel connection) interface. We took a look at that interface and built the same interface out-of-band (via TCP connection) so you get the enhance security of encryption and avoid using the API over your Host I/O path. The operations are almost as fast as in-band and you’ll barely notice the difference. Then we took a look at all the information customers are clamoring for and built some custom views to deliver relationships you could not see before in our storage arrays. These correlations make it much easier to code to and developers will be thrilled with being able to issue just one command to get their information instead of 3 or 4. Best of all, no more refreshing.
Richard: Wait! You mean the dreaded refresh button is gone?
Craig: Correct. We figured out a new mechanism to automatically keep the Configuration Manager REST API’s database up to date without the need for a manual refresh. We call this a notification service and we currently use this service to check for changes on the storage array. Then we send out notifications to the REST API that a specific object has changed and you need to update that object’s information.
Richard: Sounds great! What are other useful management operations that the REST API could help to enable?
Craig: One thing that comes to mind is the use of storage resource labeling or logical device (LDEV) labeling. We are scripting or coding machine languages, but us humans need to understand it too. With the REST API, you can segment and label all the storage resource LDEVs for a particular application such as for Oracle database files versus Oracle log files. With properly labeled Oracle LDEVs, it is a lot easier to know the purpose of an Oracle application volume and create the appropriate administrative scripts or integrate it into your management orchestration tool of choice.
Richard: How does someone get started using the Configuration Manager REST API?
Craig: The REST API comes with the Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System that is bundled with each Hitachi VSP F or Hitachi VSP G storage system. The API can be downloaded directly from the REST API Developer Site on the Hitachi Data Systems Community or from your very own login to the HDS Customer Support Connect web site. Once you have it installed on a server, it’s easy to get started by discovering your first Hitachi storage array. If you need more detailed API information, the REST API documentation is available on the HDS Customer Support Connect portal or you can visit our REST API Developer Site on the HDS Community.
Use the Hitachi Configuration Manager REST API to easily cross that divide when integrating Hitachi storage platform management into your existing IT environment.