June 20, 2011

Tags article sldn

Authenticating to the SoftLayer API

Authenticating to the SoftLayer API


IBMid is how access is managed across IBM’s cloud platform. Basically it is the email and password you use to login to https://cloud.ibm.com . Once IBMid can have access to multiple accounts. For accessing Classic Infrastructure (AKA SoftLayer) services, this IBMid will have a SoftLayer user on each account they have access to.

IAM Documentation:

SoftLayer Username and API key

To authenticate with a SoftLaye username and APIkey, you will first need your accounts username. If you are using IBMid to authenticate, this is usually not your email address. The SoftLayer username will usually be in the form of <ACCOUNT_ID>_<EMAIL_ADDRESS@email.com>.

In the portal, this username will also be your VPN username for this account. You can find this in the cloud console by going to

Manage -> Access (IAM) -> Users -> <select your user> -> VPN section

Next you will need your API key. This is under the “classic infrastructure” dropdown of the apikeys page. You can only have one classic infrastructure API key per user. Once created, it will not be displayed again, so make sure to write it down.


A SOAP representation of the authenticate header looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<SOAP-ENV:Envelope xmlns:SOAP-ENV="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/" xmlns:ns1="http://api.service.softlayer.com/soap/v3.1/">


While it’s XML-RPC counterpart looks like this:



With REST, you can simply use the HTTP Basic Authentication curl -vvv -u $SL_USER:$SL_APIKEY 'https://api.softlayer.com/rest/v3.1/SoftLayer_Account/getObject'

cloud.ibm.com API key

On the apikeys page, simply create a new “IBM Cloud API key”. These are different than the Classic Infrastructure api keys.

NOTE when using a cloud.ibm.com key, your username when authenticating with the SL API will be LITTERALLY ‘apikey’, not your actual username.

If you have the ibmcloud cli installed, you can also easily create a new key.

$> ibmcloud iam api-key-create  TEST-cgallo01 -d "A test api key"
Creating API key TEST-cgallo01 as cgallo@us.ibm.com...
API key TEST-cgallo01 was created

Please preserve the API key! It cannot be retrieved after its created.

Name          TEST-cgallo01
Description   A test api key
Created At    2020-02-07T22:05+0000
API Key       aAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaA
Locked        false
UUID          ApiKey-1c505b6d-9e81-4b87-b929-f9493c2dea63

Once you have the key, you can easily make calls to api.softlayer.com with it as follows. Remember, your username here is litterally apikey, not your actual username.

$>  curl -g -u apikey:$SL_APIKEY  'https://api.softlayer.com/rest/v3.1/SoftLayer_Account/getObject.json?objectMask=mask[id]'

Temporary API Token

It is possible to use the IBMid authentication service to make softlayer API calls. See IAM Token API for more specific details.


For most users, you will need your username and password, send that to https://iam.cloud.ibm.com/identity/token, and you will be given a token that can be used to make SoftLayer(IMS) api calls.

curl -s -u 'bx:bx' -k -X POST --header 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' --header 'Accept: application/json' -d "grant_type=password&response_type=cloud_iam,ims_portal&username=$IBMUSER&password=$IBMPASS" https://iam.cloud.ibm.com/identity/token

For users with an IBM email, you will need to use the SSO endpoint (the above example will also mention this if you try your username/password)

Tokens are retrieved from https://iam.cloud.ibm.com/identity/passcode

curl -s -u 'bx:bx' -k -X POST --header 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' --header 'Accept: application/json' -d "grant_type=urn:ibm:params:oauth:grant-type:passcode&passcode=$TOKEN&response_type=cloud_iam,ims_portal" https://iam.cloud.ibm.com/identity/token

The result will be something like this:

{"access_token":"[PRIVATE DATA HIDDEN]","refresh_token":"[PRIVATE DATA HIDDEN]","token_type":"Bearer","expires_in":3600,"expiration":1608241172,"refresh_token_expiration":1610829572,"scope":"ibm openid"}

The access_token here will give you access to the default account you have selected, but if you have more than one account (or want an account from the non-default account), you will need to get a token for that specific account first. For the below examples, we are going to set this token as the TOKEN_HEADER enviornment variable.

export TOKEN_HEADER="Authorization: Bearer zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssdddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd"

Listing Accounts

You’ll need your account GUID, and IMS id to get that call https://accounts.cloud.ibm.com/v1/accounts .

Below is the example output, with only the important data included.

curl -H "$TOKEN_HEADER" https://accounts.cloud.ibm.com/v1/accounts | python -m json.tool

"total_results": 1,
"resources": [
    "metadata": {
      "guid": "aaaa1fce09180aa9027ec1ad29c20c",  # GUID
      "url": "/v1/accounts/aaaa1fce09180aa9027ec1ad29c20c",
      "linked_accounts": [
          "origin": "IMS",
          "id": "123456",  # IMS ID
          "url": "/v1/accounts/aaaa1fce09180aa9027ec1ad29c20c/IMS/accounts/123456"
  "entity": {
      "name": "My Account",
      "state": "ACTIVE",
      "primary_owner": {
          "ibmid": "me@us.ibm.com",

With that GUID, you can refresh your token for a new one.

curl -s -u 'bx:bx' -k -X POST --header 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' --header 'Accept: application/json' -d "account=$ACCOUNT_GUID&grant_type=refresh_token&ims_account=$IMS_ID&refresh_token=$REFRESH_TOKEN&response_type=cloud_iam" https://iam.cloud.ibm.com/identity/token

That will give you a new access_token, you can then use for making SoftLayer API calls.


Once you have the access token, simply add set it as the "Authorization: Bearer" HTTP header.

curl -H "Authorization: Bearer zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssdddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd" 'https://api.sotlayer.com/rest/v3.1/SoftLayer_Account/getObject'

There will also be a refresh_token which will only work to get you a new token.


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