Sunday Jul 24, 2011

UCSand - You See Sand

UCSand is an Android application I recently developed to monitor a Cisco UCS blade system. The UCS Manager running on the Fabric Interconnects is based on an API using XML over HTTP. It is relatively easy to write shell or Perl scripts to collect data from the UCS system. Or to control it, like booting blades or turning the blue locator LED on or off.

A while back someone else developed a client GUI for the iPhone/iPad. With the Cius being released, a similar app for the Android platform is needed. Being a proud owner of an original "Google Developer Phone", it was time to get to work. Android code has to be developed in Java, so "talking XML over HTTP" isn't that difficult. It all comes down to old style socket programming.

UCSand 1    UCSand 2    UCSand 3

I opted for keeping the app relatively simple. It's mainly a monitoring tool that allows you to check on the status of your system when you're remote. It shows the configuration of your blades and you can go through the alarms and warnings for the various components in your system. On purpose I didn't include more complex actions like (dis)associating a service profile. Those things are better done from the fully featured UCS Manager.

Get the UCSand app by searching the Android Market / Google Play for "Cisco UCS". Update July 2012: The version you will find there is a little different from the one described here, because I migrated the app to a cross-platform development environment based on jQueryMobile. The original app was renamed to "UCSone" and can be downloaded by right-clicking here. The new UCSand is more suitable for tablets, while UCSone is great for older phones. However, I won't do any updates anymore on UCSone.

UCSand / UCSone will show more or less information about the blades depending on the size of the screen. On a phone, you've to click on a blade to see details, on a tablet you see some details and the status of the blade next to the image.

UCSand on a Tablet

Finally, if you want to see the app in full action, check out the Mobility in the Datacenter blog of one of our customers at the City of Melrose.