Today a major milestone has been achieved for vCenter Orchestrator.VMware released not one but two very useful plug-ins adapter:
- SOAP is a protocol used to implement a web service typically used over HTTP and in combination with a service catalog (Web Service Description Language - WSDL pronounced wisdel). Examples of applications using SOAP are vCenter, vCenter Orchestrator, Lab Manager
- REST is the technology behind the World Wide Web, leveraging HTTP verbs and URI to define resources and operations with stateless connections. REST is a popular alternative to SOAP. Examples of applications using REST are vCloud Director, vShield Manager, Yahoo, Google, Facebook.
Why is this important ? Because with having a SOAP and a REST plug-ins adapters you can orchestrate most of the manageable applications out there without waiting that VMware Engineering, PSO or partners write a full-fledged plug-in for you.
For the last four years delivering vCO based solutions to customers the major show stopper for my team were the project where we had to integrate with dozen of external systems. Very often we would just need to start a couple of operation on these but calling the web service would require developing a vCO plug-in in Java and since we are not professional Java developers this was a long and costly operation. With the SOAP and REST plug-ins we can implement in hours small integrations that used to require weeks of development and testing.
For example it takes running one workflow to add a host (here the vCO server) and populate all the WSDL. A right click / Invoke operation in any of these and I get immediately the results.
Same for the REST plug-in, I could add my Twitter account in a few minutes and now I can update my status running a workflow. And the best part are that you can right click on an operation that generates a workflow you can insert in yours.
These plug-ins support different options for authentication (basic, digest, OAuth) and the import of the REST schemas.
You may wonder if these plug-ins can replace all existing plug-ins interfacing with SOAP and REST interfaces ? Regulars vCO plug-in are providing a lot of additional facilities such as:
- Inventory : Present a hierarchy of objects so you can use picker / choosers as workflow inputs
- Session management: vCO create a shared session or pass the vCO credentials to the orchestrated system.
- Cache management: The objects are stored in a local vCO cache so the vCO server does not need to load them from the orchestrated system on every access.
- Scripting API: You can use pass objects at inputs, outputs of your workflow boxes and inspect all the methods available on these objects.
Thus offering a tighter integration, scale possibilities with hiding all the complexity only the plug-in developer should know about.
With that written the REST and SOAP plug-ins are very complementary and add a lot of flexibility to vCenter Orchestrator with permitting the quick development of integrations not having a full-fledged vCO plug-in available.
For more information, check the:
For instructions about installing and configuring the plug-in, see the
- VMware vCenter Orchestrator SOAP Plug-In User's Guide.
- VMware vCenter Orchestrator REST Plug-In User's Guide.
For questions and comments, use the VMware vCenter Orchestrator Plug-ins community forum.