Your Resource for All Things Apps, Ops, and Infrastructure

Extending UCS Director with the Northbound API

Cloud management portals have to organize several disparate systems to give users a no-touch feel for the solutions that are being deployed. For instance, after UCS Director deploys a virtual machine, it might need to call a change management system to update a ticket through the Southbound API call. But what if you’re using another mechanism as your system of record instead of your automation solution? In this case, the Northbound API becomes incredibly important.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with this concept, the Northbound API allows us to access UCS Director programmatically, while the Southbound API allows us to call other services programatically. In this example, we might think of something like ServiceNow or a home-built solution as your main inventory repository. UCS Director comes with a pretty intuitive solution to get you going with its API so that you can easily call reports from other systems. 

In the report below, UCS Director is showing a list of some of the clusters available from AHEAD Aviation. AHEAD Aviation is a fictional construct we created within the AHEAD Lab and Briefing Center; it allows us to simulate workloads in a real-world environment. If we needed to retrieve this information from a web service, we’d need to have an API to connect and grab this information. Usually this requires meticulous browsing through some not-so-exciting-to-read documentation, but for UCS Director, we’ve got an easier fix.


When logged in as the administrator, we’ll go to the user information and click on the advanced tab. From here, we check the box next to “Enable Developer Menu” where we’ll make special note of the REST API Access Key that will be used for authentication.


As we navigate through the user interface, you’ll notice a new box that says “Report Metadata” that will give us a new set of goodies to use.


The Report Metadata screen will show us how the REST call can be made to display what you’re currently viewing in the browser and even give you a REST URL that can be copied and pasted into a browser to test it out.


Our result is a JSON string that can be used by other web services. 

To sum, we are now able to leverage third party systems to programmatically use our cloud management platform. Whether we need to grab server information, or initiate server builds, we can do this through a common programming language.

To see this in action, or for more great solutions from AHEAD or AHEAD Aviation, schedule a time to meet with us in our Lab and Briefing Center. 

AHEAD Lab and Briefing Center

Watch On-Demand Sessions from our Spring Summit, Automation @Scale!

Subscribe to the AHEAD i/o Newsletter