How do we address the complexities introduced by APIs?

Isn’t it odd how once you hear about something, that’s all you keep hearing about? I find this especially true with IT. I read an article by Jason Edelman about SDN and whether the APIs introduce too much complexity for network/netops engineers. This article led me to an article from Mark Burgess who had the same feelings about APIs and introducing complexity. Then later that day I was listening to a podcast called Network Break that mentioned this same exact issue.

As a former systems admin who hasn’t done a lot of coding since my college days I can totally see how the DevOps/NetOps movement may introduce complexities that system and network engineers just aren’t interested in dealing with. Learning to code is pretty cool, but realistically finding the time to do that while you’re busy putting out fires isn’t always an option.

I think this is where turnkey automation tools come in, such as UCS Director. There are many automation solutions out there, but with many of them you’re basically learning a new, albeit simpler, programming language. Other automation tools remind me of the menu at T. G. I. Fridays…they make a lot of stuff, but don’t make anything particularly delicious. These automation tools can be difficult to set up and then require you to learn how to code or script to do anything more than provision a VM. Though UCS Director doesn’t work with everything out of the box, which is probably why it’s simpler, it offers more out-of-the-box orchestration options than I’ve seen with other tools.

Are there other turnkey automation tools available with which you’ve worked? I’d be very interested in hearing about them and which products they work wtih.

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