Deployment and lifecycle management of a set of interrelated software, hereinafter referred to as a solution, is a predominantly manual operation because there is currently no standardized way to express installation packaging for a multi-platform environment. Each hosting platform or operating system has its own format for expressing packaging of a single installable unit but, even on these homogeneous platforms, there is no standardized way to combine packages into a single aggregated unit without significant re-creation of the dependency and installation instructions. The problem is compounded when the solution is to be deployed across multiple, heterogeneous, platforms. A standard for describing the packaging and mechanisms to express dependencies and various lifecycle management operations within the package would alleviate these problems and subsequently enable automation of these highly manual and error-prone tasks.
The purpose of this Technical Committee is to define XML schema to describe the characteristics of an installable unit (IU) of software that are relevant for core aspects of its deployment, configuration, and maintenance. This document will be referred to as the Solution Deployment Descriptor (SDD). SDDs, previously described as IUDDs, also are described in http://www.w3.org/Submission/2004/04/.
SDDs will benefit member companies and the industry in general by providing a consistent model and semantics to address the needs of all aspects of the IT industry dealing with software deployment, configuration, and lifecycle management. The benefits of this work include the ability to:
describe software solution packages for both single and multi-platform heterogeneous environments;
describe software solution packages independent of the software installation technology or supplier; and
provide information necessary to permit full lifecycle maintenance of software solutions.
Scope of the TC
The Technical Committee will define XML schema for SDDs, as well as a package format to associate SDDs, resource content, and software artifacts.
SDDs are intended to describe the aggregation of installable units at all levels of the software stack. The resulting XML schema shall be partitioned to allow for layered implementations covering the range of applications from the definition of atomic units of software to complex, multi-platform, heterogeneous solutions.
A solution is any combination of products, components or application artifacts addressing a particular user requirement. This includes what would traditionally be referred to as a product offering (for example, a database product), as well as a solution offering (for example, a business integration platform composed of multiple integrated products), or a user application (for example, a set of application artifacts such as J2EE applications and database definitions). All the software constituents of a solution can be represented by a single SDD as a hierarchy of installable unit aggregates. In addition to the installable units that comprise a solution, the SDD also describes the requirements of targets onto which the solution can be deployed.
There are a number of aspects of software deployment, configuration, and life-cycle management that are expressly outside of the scope of this technical committee. Specifically this committee will not specify host platform models, host platform management interfaces, or the design or implementations of deployment or life-cycle managers. Other standards efforts in other parts of the industry cover these aspects and other related standards activities may emerge. This technical committee may develop recommendations regarding these aspects but will publish such recommendations as non-normative material and/or work with other standards committees.
The TC's deliverables are:
Requirements and Use Cases to guide development of specifications.
A set of specifications that include XML schemas for SDDs and addresses at least:
Extensions for multi-platform solutions
A software package format specification for SDDs and associated resources.
A Primer with real-life examples and best practices to aid developers of SDDs and those who develop SDD tooling.
One or more Profiles to aid in achieving interoperability.
This TC will operate under the RF on Limited Terms mode.
Audience for the work
The anticipated audience includes:
ISVs and independent developers who wish to create software packages for managed or unmanaged environments.
Internal corporate software development organizations.
IT staff who need to manage deployment and software lifecycle within their infrastructure.
Software consumers who want reliable and predictable software installation and lifecycle management.
Other domain specific standards bodies, such as GGF, who need a standardized way to express SDDs within their domain.
Developers of tooling that is used either for packaging of software for installation or in the process of software lifecycle management.