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A unified API for infrastructure: Why it matters



James Henry.jpgBy guest blogger James Henry (@jhenry_irl), EMEA Category Manager for Composable Infrastructure Software & Solutions, HPE

This past weekend I was visiting family in the south of Ireland. Driving the car is one of the few opportunities I get to listen to the radio and discover new music. When I hear a song I really like I use Shazam to tell me the song and artist details. Shazam not only tells me the basic song details; it also automatically adds the song to my 'New Music' playlist in Spotify. The integration between Shazam and Spotify, two completely independent apps, is done using an API which allows Shazam to 'inject' the required information (including song title, artist, album, etc.) into my Spotify playlist called New Music. With just one click of a button on my phone, I can add any new song I like to my Spotify playlist. But what exactly is an API, and how does it work?

What is an API?

Quite simply, an API or Application Programming Interface allows a software application to query, interact with, and program another piece of software or hardware. HPE leverages an API to enable a vast ecosystem of developer and partner tools like VMware vCenter, Microsoft Systems Center, Chef, Ansible, Puppet, Docker and many more to talk to HPE hardware solutions using their applications. This accelerates customer’s ability to provision the required infrastructure and applications that their image.jpgbusinesses demand. More importantly, it allows it all to happen at the speed the business demands.

So what is the HPE Unified API?

You have probably heard HPE talk about the Unified API in HPE OneView; you may also have heard talk of the Composable API, the HPE Synergy Composer API and many other HPE infrastructure API references. That sounds like a lot of APIs, but the truth is, they are all the same API.

This single, unified API allows HPE’s Composable Ecosystem partners to interoperate with HPE infrastructure, allowing them to simply write code once to address compute, storage and fabric within HPE Synergy or HPE Converged Systems. Traditionally customers or developers working on infrastructure would have to write code multiple times -- compute from vendor A (1st API), storage from vendor B (2nd API) and Fabrics from vendor C (3rd API). And it gets worse; there are other third party solutions on the market that use 3 or more different APIs for a single solution stack. To illustrate, it’s like having to write the same commands in French, German and Italian to get the information required from your IT stack, as opposed to writing it once in English. HPE uses the most common and widely adopted API standard, the RESTful API. This unified API is what makes HPE ProLiant, Apollo, BladeSystem, 3PAR storage, hyperconverged and composable infrastructure solutions the most programmable infrastructure on the market today and is the main reason behind HPE’s growing partner ecosystem.

So what does the HPE Unified API mean for me and my business?

In a world where hardware commoditization is more prevalent than ever before, value add differentiators such as API support become increasingly important in the infrastructure buying decision criteria. Why? IT Teams are under more and more pressure to support the business in the roll out of new applications and services in order to attract new customers and grow revenues. These same IT teams have most likely already invested in IT infrastructure management and automation tools, and have trained their staff in using those tools. They can now leverage the HPE Unified API integration with these same tools to accelerate the deployment of infrastructure and applications like never before across traditional, developer and cloud native environments. The HPE unified API turns hardware into software-defined infrastructure and is managed by your tools.

Where can I find out more?

As stated, the Composable Infrastructure Ecosystem is growing rapidly and there are more and more examples of how customers, partners, and system integrators are leveraging the HPE unified API. Please visit the new dedicated web page on which lists the members of the Composable Infrastructure Ecosystem, along with demonstrations, whitepapers and other valuable resources to help you get started. Hewlett Packard Enterprise also has a number of active Github repositories which developers can leverage and contribute to – click here to visit HPE on Github.

I’d like to finish this blog post by referring you to a customer use case example with Paddy Power Betfair. This company is a leader in their industry and operate in a world where milliseconds matter. Paddy Power Betfair have designed and built their award winning platform based on open source technologies with embedded automation and have presented this platform at numerous industry events, including the OpenStack Summit and  HPE Discover EMEA. On numerous occasions, they have referenced the importance of the HPE unified API and how it enables them to drive more automation into the HPE ProLiant compute infrastructure that underpins their platform, improving the consistency and accelerating the speed of service delivery. Check out my earlier post on the HPE Community Blog platform titled Automating infrastructure delivery to accelerate application development, which looks at this customer use case in a little more detail.

To learn more about composable infrastructure, download the free e-book: Composable Infrastructure for Dummies.

James (@jhenry_irl)

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