So far in this series we’ve shown you how to connect to iControl REST via cURL, how to list objects on the device (which is probably the most used command for most APIs, including ours), and how to add objects. So you’re currently able to get a system up and running and configure new services on your BIG-IP. What if, however, you want to modify things that are already running? For that, you need a modify command.
Remember that in REST based architectures the API is able to determine what type of action you’re performing, and thereby the arguments and structure it should expect to parse coming in, based on the type of HTTP(S) transaction. For us a GET is a list, a POST is an add, and to modify things, you use PUT. This allows the system to understand that you’re going to reference an object that already exists, and modify some of the contents.
It is important that the API back end can tell the difference. If you just tried to do another POST with only the arguments you wanted to change, it would fail because you wouldn’t meet the minimum requirements. Without a PUT, you’d have to do a list on the object, save all the configuration options already on the system for that object, modify just the one you wanted to change in your memory structure, delete the object on the system, and then POST all of that data, including the one or two modified fields, back to the device. That’s way too much work.
Instead, let’s just learn how to modify, shall we? Fortunately it’s simple. All you need to do is format your cURL request with a PUT and the data you want to modify, and you’re all set.
First let’s list the object we want to modify, so you can see what it looks like as it sits on the box currently. For that we go back to our list command:
So that’s what the object looks like Now what if we want to simply make that existing self IP address available for more than one port? We can use the “allowService” flag to do this. By setting it to “all” we’ll allow that IP to answer on any port, rather than just a specific one, thereby opening up our config a bit.
So we have the object we want to modify as well as the attribute we want to modify for that object. All we need now is to send the command to do the work. Fortunately this is pretty easy, as I mentioned before. You use the same cURL structure as always with the –sk and user:pass supplied. This will look nearly identical to the add command with the changes being that we use the “PUT” method instead of “POST” and we only supply the one item we’re modifying about the object. It looks like this:
Notice that I’m still piping the output to jq here. This is because the response from the API when running most commands such as POST and PUT is actually quite useful. Here’s what I get when I run the above command:
As you can see this returns the entire, new output of the object, including the piece that got modified. In this case it’s the sixth line of output, including the brace lines. What used to be the line defining the vlan is now "allowService": "all", just like we wanted.
So there you have it, modifying objects on the BIG-IP remotely doesn’t get much easier than that. Armed with this knowledge on top of what we’ve covered in previous installments you’ll be able to tackle 90% of the challenges you might encounter. For our next and penultimate edition of this series we’ll cover the delete command, which should round out the methods you’ll need for the general application of the new iControl REST API.