OASIS Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) TC

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Enhancing the portability and operational management of cloud and other types of applications and services across their entire lifecycle

Chris Lauwers, lauwers@ubicity.com, Chair
Paul Lipton, paul.lipton@ca.com, Chair

Table of Contents

Learn more! TOSCA News, Community, and Other Resources

  • Join the TOSCA LinkedIN Group for the latest news and announcements from our growing eco-system and community!
  • OASIS TOSCA YouTube Video Playlist
  • The TOSCA TC Wiki, an informal collection of resources (provided as as service without endorsement) containing no-doubt incomplete lists of known implementations, academic papers, and other items of interest.

TOSCA in 2017

By the end of 2016, the TOSCA Technical Committee (TC) had successfully leveraged the valuable feedback and close relationships that we enjoy with the rapidly growing TOSCA ecosystem of open source communities, solution vendors, cloud service providers, and researchers in order to release the second generation of the TOSCA standard. The TOSCA Simple Profile in YAML v1.0, officially approved as an OASIS Standard in December of 2016, represents a step forward in many areas such as containers and clustering, operational policy such as scaling and affinity, and more.

During the first quarter of 2017, the TOSCA TC has continued to respond with agility to the growing number of TOSCA TC members, implementers, and users. In early March, the TOSCA TC completed a second public review of the TOSCA Simple Profile in YAML Version 1.1 (Committee Specification Draft 02 / Public Review Draft 02), which adds a powerful, declarative workflow capability to TOSCA.

Similarly, the TOSCA TC continues to work closely with leaders in the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) community and with leading standards developing organizations, such as ETSI with the goal of producing an approved OASIS Standard TOSCA Simple Profile for NFV this year. The TC will also complete work on the TOSCA Instance Model, leverage key recommendations from our Monitoring ad hoc workgroup, and continue expanding the suite interoperability conformance test assertions that were first published as Committee Note 01 in late 2016.

Looking forward, the TOSCA TC is determined to continue with its open approach, organized by agile, use case driven, ad hoc workgroups working in parallel. This will continue and drive our work during the rest of 2017 into 2018, as well. Some additional details on the TC’s various initiatives are:

Simple Profile in YAML

The TOSCA TC’s YAML Simple Profile ad-hoc workgroup has been directed to produce a v1.2 candidate specification by 4Q 2017, with 2 interim Committee Specification Drafts (CSDs) planned:

  • A CSD 01 candidate (target ~May 2017) will feature work that describes Artifact Processors as "first-class" entities in TOSCA Service Templates and describe how TOSCA Orchestrators work with them when encountering Artifacts within a Topology. This work will include several examples showing how well-known Artifact types would be processed including existing Bash and Python (scripts) types, as well as popular deployment types such as traditional Virtual Machines (VMs) or container images, e.g., Docker. Orchestrator integration with more advanced workflow languages, e.g., BPEL and BPMN, as new Artifact types will also be covered.
  • A CSD 02 candidate (target ~July 2017) would include defining concrete Capability Types and Event Types that would define 'built-in" support for a portable Event-Condition-Action (EAC) model, and show how basic operational monitoring can be described against a topology. In addition, it would provide enhanced schema and examples for "layered" substitution of service topologies, and show how TOSCA Orchestrators can perform "matching" using Capabilities and Requirements along with property (configuration) values.

Simple Profile for NFV

The NFV and SDN ad hoc workgroup has been directed by the TOSCA TC to develop a candidate TOSCA Simple Profile to align with the ETSI NFV standard and the open source communities implementing ETSI NFV. This work will primarily involve, but is not necessarily limited to designing the NFV descriptors based on TOSCA. The work will also include defining a TOSCA model for VNF descriptors and NS descriptors. The NFV ad hoc workgroup will coordinate with other TOSCA TC ad hoc workgroups, e.g., the YAML ad hoc workgroup, in order in order to help assure that future releases of the TOSCA Simple Profile for YAML will be able to meet the requirements of the TOSCA Simple Profile for NFV.

Instance Model

The TOSCA TC is working to significantly extend TOSCA’s support for on-going, automated management of TOSCA topologies, and is currently developing a TOSCA Instance Model that will define the information model, behavioral semantics, and access methods for a dynamic object model representation of TOSCA Service Template deployments. The Instance Model will enable the representation of the current state of a TOSCA deployment including all inputs, concrete node fulfillments, property settings, cardinalities, relationships, applied policies, and correlation with external resources and entities.

The intent is to enable Service Template deployments to be queried, navigated, reasoned over, and updated, e.g., by imperative workflows or policy actions. Thus, it would be possible to observe and act upon TOSCA deployed services and applications as they evolve over time. The Instance Model will be extensible, potentially enabling the integration of information from other domains, and across a range of deployments, orchestrators, auditing, and testing environments.

Interoperability and Conformance

The TOSCA TC’s Interoperability Subcommittee (Interop SC) continues to expand the work done in its first release of a conformance document in late 2016 that describes a set of tests for both validating TOSCA template schema against the specification as well as the successful results of a TOSCA Orchestrator in deploying an application's topology. It leverages the OASIS Test Assertion Markup Language standard to describe the tests, their inputs, expected outputs and their linkage to the actual specification sections they can be used to validate. The actual test cases are hosted on an OASIS-approved Github repository.


The OASIS TOSCA TC works to enhance the portability of cloud applications and services across their entire lifecycle. TOSCA will enable the interoperable description of application and infrastructure cloud services, the relationships between parts of the service, and the operational behavior of these services (e.g., deploy, patch, shutdown)--independent of the supplier creating the service, and any particular cloud provider or hosting technology. TOSCA will also make it possible for higher-level operational behavior to be associated with cloud infrastructure management.

By increasing service and application portability in a vendor-neutral ecosystem, TOSCA will enable:

  • Portable deployment to any compliant cloud
  • Smoother migration of existing applications to the cloud
  • Flexible bursting (consumer choice)
  • Dynamic, multi-cloud provider applications

For more information, see the TC Charter.

OASIS Open TC Repositories Sponsored by the Committee

  • tosca-test-assertions: Manages TOSCA Simple Profile in YAML templates and definitions that can be used to test TOSCA compliance using metadata (primarily the OASIS Test Assertion Markup Language) that describes the test and the expected behavior of the TOSCA tool or orchestrator

Older Technical Work Produced by the Committee

IMPORTANT: See also the Latest Announcements and Technical Milestones produced by the TOSCA Technical Committee.

November 2013: Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) Version 1.0 is now an OASIS Standard. The Standard is available in PDF (authoritative), HTML, and editable source formats. The complete specification including the schema can also be downloaded in this ZIP file

2013 February: A non-normative Primer for TOSCA Version 1.0 is now available.


The following subcommittee is active.

TC Liaisons

TC liaison to ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC38 WG3 - Mike Edwards

TC liaison to ETSI NFV - Shitao Li

TC Tools and Approved Publications

Mailing Lists and Comments

tosca: the list used by TC members to conduct Committee work. TC membership is required to post. TC members are automatically subscribed; the public may view archives, also mirrored by MarkLogic at MarkMail.org.

tosca-comment: a public mail list for providing input to the OASIS TOSCA TC members. Send a comment or view archives, also mirrored by MarkLogic at MarkMail.org.


Additional Information

Although not produced by the OASIS TOSCA TC, the Open DataCenter Alliance also conducted a proof-of-concept based on TOSCA v1.0. See the press release of January 8, 2014 with links for more information.

Providing Feedback: OASIS welcomes feedback on its technical activities from potential users, developers, and others to better assure the interoperability and quality of OASIS work.