Welcome back to the next installment of our weekly update in which we do something a bit odd for a vendor: expose holes in our product! Let’s be honest: nothing is perfect — and by discussing problems netTerrain users have encountered, we want to foster a collaborative environment, share some workarounds around common issues and — why not, poke a little fun at ourselves.

If you were one of the lucky attendees at our users summit, which we held here in beautiful Maryland a few weeks back, you probably noticed a pattern in many of the talks and presentations — APIs.

That’s right: at the netTerrain Users Summit 2019, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) were the talk of the town (and the bar).

What is so great about APIs for our users?

We’ve discussed it in past blogs, so we won’t rehash the details here, but generally speaking: APIs open a new world of possibilities when it comes to integrations and automation.

netTerrain users have been reaping the benefits of our expanded API.

Take Acciona Energía from Spain, for example. At the summit, we learned they are using netTerrain’s APIs to automatically generate DCIM diagrams of logical and physical representations of their networks and data centers. Acciona takes advantage of netTerrain’s connectors to populate data from 3rd party data sources (and these connectors use plenty of APIs). They also developed their own API clients to automatically trigger and display power and cooling data in netTerrain as well as push it back in to their systems.

Javier Herrán Iriarte of Acciona Energía presents at the netTerrain Users Summit, 2019

At the summit, we also discovered that a partner took advantage of our extremely flexible API to set to create a mobile app for netTerrain…and that a customer from Canada uses our REST API interface to automatically generate topology views for network documentation purposes. For the customer in Canada, the network mapping function starts with an external system that contains their inventory and translates into IT diagrams and network views of circuits, customers and systems.

As one famous comic character said, “with great power comes great responsibility”….we are now at the juncture in our company at which APIs need to be constantly refreshed and kept up-to-date to allow for any operation via API that the user can currently accomplish through netTerrain’s graphical user interface.

netTerrain is extremely powerful and feature-rich and, as a result, there are specific operations which, when trying to perform them automatically through our APIs, may not be accounted for right now. Because of this, we have been getting quite a few requests lately about certain API calls that should be included in our solution. As our API is becoming quite ubiquitous, there are some more obscure functions still not available and those are the ones that are being requested by users — hence the title of this week’s complaint, “I want my API Call!”

If you are a customer who uses our API, it is actually easier and faster to request the expansion of the API functionalities than to ask for a regular feature request.

This is true for a number of reasons:

  • It is easier to add a new API call then to add a new feature (mainly because the API call doesn’t have any sort of graphical user interface associated to it).
  • We have a dedicated resource just to work on our rest API as well as our SOAP API and, because APIs are becoming central to our product strategy, we actually like getting feature requests around this and pretty much place them automatically in a fast queue for inclusion in a subsequent release.
  • Customers currently taking advantage of our REST and SOAP API include customers integrating and automating functions around the whole gamut of DCIM functions, such as cabling, rack elevations, cooling and power and work order management as well as customers using netTerrain for fiber plant documentation, outside plant and network diagramming. So, if you are a customer taking advantage of our APIs and you are currently waiting for a specific call, it may already be part of the next release 8.2 (which is a release that is largely focused on new API calls and fixes). Stay tuned for an announcement of netTerrain 8.2 over the next couple of weeks (as we are giving it the final touches now).

Until next time, happy (automated) documenting!

About Jan Durnhofer

As CEO / Product and Engineering Manager, Jan joined Graphical Networks with the purpose of creating the most advanced DCIM and IT visualization company in the market.