Over the weekend, while taking a break from putting together some furniture as it was my time for my daughters nap, I got that the chance to explore and create a new Alexa Skill which integrates with a few of VMware's APIs. This has been something I wanted to try out for some time but have not had any spare time. I had even purchased an Amazon Echo Dot but its just currently being used as a music player for the family. A couple of weeks back I saw an awesome blog post from Cody De Arkland where he demonstrates how to easily integrate the new vCenter Server 6.5 REST APIs into an Alexa Skill which can then be consumed using an Amazon Echo device.
Cody's write-up was fantastic and I was able to get everything up and running in about 20-25minutes with a few minor trial/error. It was great to see how easy it was for a non-developer like Cody to easily consume the new vCenter Server REST APIs which includes basic VM Management as well access to the VMware Management Appliance Interface or VAMI for short. Given Cody already did the hard work to create the initial Alexa integration, I figure it might be cool to extend his work and introduce Alexa to a few more VMware's APIs including the traditional vSphere API (SOAP) and the new vSAN Management API.
UPDATE (06/15/17) - Just added support for PowerCLI, it was a little tricky as Flask app is written in Python and so poor man workaround was to call Powershell/PowerCLI using subprocess.
Since Cody's integration module was written using Python, it was pretty simple to add support for both pyvmomi (vSphere SDK for Python) and vSAN Management SDK. To install pyvmomi, you can simply run
pip3 install pyvmomi
and for installing vSAN Management SDK, have a look at this blog post here.
Here is a quick video that I had recorded which demonstrates the use of both the vSphere API and vSAN Management API using my Amazon Echo.
You can find all my changes in this forked repo lamw/alexavsphereskill and make sure to follow Cody's blog post here for instructions on how to get setup. For those wondering if Cody will be publishing an Alexa Skill for general consumption, I know he is working on some awesome updates to make it even easier to consume. Here is a sneak peak at just some of the recent updates that Cody is working on ...
A little @VMwareClarity UI action going on with the @amazonecho & @VMware skill this weekend in the lab. So easy to work with! @vmwarecode pic.twitter.com/0iXMbU6Acz
— Cody De Arkland (@Codydearkland) June 12, 2017
Stay tuned on this blog and Github repo for future updates!
One thing to note which I was not aware of until Cody mentioned it, is that once your Alexa Skill is built, you can directly access it from your own personal Amazon Echo without needing to publish it. You need to activate the Alexa Skill by saying "Alexa Start [APP-NAME]" where name is the name used in the "Invocation Name" field as shown in the screenshot below when setting up your Alexa Skill. I should also mention that if you decide to change the Alexa Skill name itself, which I had initially done and called it "vGhetto Control", make sure you update the Flask App name in __init__.py to the same name (spaces are converted to underscores) or you will run into issues.