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REST API Using BASH Automation


To prepare and regularly refresh a development and/or testing environment for oVirt Engine can be a time-consuming procedure. The REST API can help significantly with the task. This article concentrates on calling oVirt REST API using a BASH scripting from the Linux command line.

It uses:

  • BASH interpreter
  • curl (HTML command line client)
  • xmllint (XPath command line parser)

Supported commands

  • create host server
  • create/import/attach/activate storage domain
  • create virtual machine (VM) and its network, attach image disk and iso disk (CD-ROM)

Basic operations

  • The commands should always check the current state, fetch needed parameters and run the actions only if required, e.g. a host is created from the command, if it doesn’t exist only.
  • The runtime environment is always synchronized with the script state. If the action is asynchronous, it should wait for a given time-out period and periodically check status of the operation by calling the REST API, parsing returned values using XPath processor and checking expected target status value.
  • For HTTPS connection a trusted authority (CA) server certificate is required, else ‘–insecure’ option is to be specified for the curl command.
  • The responses are saved and processed from the specified communication file.

Source code

The script has two parts:

  • general support routines (HTTP method call using curl client, XPath parser)
  • environment synchronization script

For download:


Here: TGZ

GitHub sources:

  • git clone <git://>

The following sections contain snipples of code showing the creation of a host in the Engine.

General support routines

XPath support

  • support for getting a value or count of elements selected by a XPath expression in XML file using xmllint tool
# communication file for request/response

# get number of rows returned by XPath expression
function getXPathCount {
    local xPath="count($1)"
    echo $(xmllint --xpath $xPath $COMM_FILE)

# get string value of node returned by XPath expression
function getXPathValue {
    local xPath="string($1)"
    echo $(xmllint --xpath $xPath $COMM_FILE)

HTTP client support

  • basic support for GET, POST methods using curl client
HEADER_CONTENT_TYPE="Content-Type: application/xml"
HEADER_ACCEPT="Accept: application/xml"

function callGETService {
    local uri=$1
    local certAtt=""

    if [[ -n "$CA_CERT_PATH" ]]; then
        certAtt="--cacert $CA_CERT_PATH"

    echo "Calling URI (GET): " ${uri}
    curl -X GET -H "${HEADER_ACCEPT}" -H "${HEADER_CONTENT_TYPE}" -u "${USER_NAME}:${USER_PASSW}" "$certAtt" "${ENGINE_URL}${uri}" --output "${COMM_FILE}" 2> /dev/null > "${COMM_FILE}"

function callPOSTService {
    local uri=$1
    local xml=$2
    local certAtt=""

    if [[ -n "$CA_CERT_PATH" ]]; then
        certAtt="--cacert $CA_CERT_PATH"

    echo "Calling URI (POST): " ${uri}
    curl -X POST -H "${HEADER_ACCEPT}" -H "${HEADER_CONTENT_TYPE}" -u "${USER_NAME}:${USER_PASSW}" "$certAtt" "${ENGINE_URL}${uri}" -d "${xml}" 2> /dev/null > "${COMM_FILE}"

Waiting for the state with a time-out

  • Asynchronous tasks require a testing of the current state returned by HTTP GET method in cycle.
# wait till XPath returns non-zero number of rows from specified REST API GET service
function waitForStatus {
    local uri=$1
    local xPathStatusTest=$2
    local xPathStatusValue=$3
    local timeoutIntervalSec=$4

    local status="0"
    for i in $(seq 1 10); do
        callGETService "${uri}"
        local c=`getXPathCount "${xPathStatusTest}"`
        local val=`getXPathValue "${xPathStatusValue}"`

        if [[ "$c" > "0" ]]; then
            echo "Target status ${val} reached. Done."
            echo "Waiting for ${timeoutIntervalSec} s...(${i}, value=${val})"
            sleep ${timeoutIntervalSec}

    if [[ "$status" == "0" ]]; then
        echo "Timeout, waiting interrupted."

List hosts and create host actions

# get all hosts
function getHosts {
    callGETService "/api/hosts"
    local c=`getXPathCount "/hosts/host[@id]"`
    echo "Current host count: " ${c}

# create host if it doesn't exist
function createHost {
    local hostName=$1
    local hostAddress=$2
    local hostPassword=$3
    local clusterName=$4

    local hostCount=`getXPathCount "/hosts/host[name='${hostName}']"`
    local idCluster=`getXPathValue "/clusters/cluster[name='${clusterName}']/@id"`

    if [[ "${hostCount}" == "0" ]]; then
        echo "Host doesn't exist, creating: ${hostName}..."
        local xml="<host><name>${hostName}</name><address>${hostAddress}</address><root_password>${hostPassword}</root_password><cluster id='${idCluster}' href='/api/clusters/${idCluster}'/></host>"
        callPOSTService "/api/hosts" "${xml}"
        # show response
        cat $COMM_FILE
        # wait for host creation
        waitForStatus "/api/hosts" "/hosts/host[name='${hostName}']/status[state='up']" "/hosts/host[name='${hostName}']/status/state" 10
        echo "Host created."
        echo "Host exists: ${hostName}"

Listing names of objects

  • Using combination of XPath count and XPath string functions, you can iterate e.g. names.
function showList {
    local xPath=$1

    local c=`getXPathCount "${xPath}"`

    for i in $(seq 1 ${c})
        local val=`getXPathValue "(${xPath})[$i]"`
        echo ${val}

    echo "Count: ${c}"

# show names of configured hosts
function showHostList {
    showList "/hosts/host/name"

# show names of configured VMs
function showVMList {
    showList "/vms/vm/name"

Environment synchronization script

  • The script uses general routines and describes the target state of your environment.
# configuration of the oVirt engine
# CA certificate path

echo "Current hosts..."

echo "Synchronizing configuration..."
createHost "" "" "123456" "Default"
createHost "" "" "123456" "Default"