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

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

Paul Lipton, paul.lipton@ca.com, Chair
John Crandall, Chair

Table of Contents

Latest Technical Committee Publications and Milestones

2016 June 12: The TOSCA Simple Profile in YAML Version 1.0 Committee Specification 01, an implementable, OASIS Final Deliverable work product, was approved by the the TOSCA Technical Commitee (TC). The TC plans to progress to full OASIS Standardization in 2016!

2016-06-09: The TOSCA TC accepted the resignation of Simon Moser as Co-Chair. Simon resigns due to conflicts with his new responsibilities, but will retain TC membership. The TC expressed gratitude for his outstanding past leadership. Paul Lipton will continue as TC Chair, and John Crandall was approved as a new Co-Chair, primarily functioning in a supportive role to Mr. Lipton.

2016 April: The TOSCA Technical Committee has approved the TOSCA Simple Profile for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Version 1.0 Committee Specification Draft 03! See the TC plans for 2016 below for more details on this important TOSCA Profile!

Learn more! TOSCA News, Community, and Other Resources

TOSCA in 2016

By the end of 2015, the TOSCA Technical Committee (TC) had successfully accelerated and finalized the development of the next generation of the TOSCA standard in the form of the first of our new TOSCA Simple Profile for YAML v1.0, which concluded its second Public Review in March 2016. Also in March 2016, working closely with many leaders in the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) community, the TC approved an important Work-in-Progress milestone, the 3rd Committee Specification Draft of the TOSCA Simple Profile for Network Function Virtualization. The TC is currently planning for similar success in cooperation with the SDN community.

For 2016, leveraging the valuable feedback and our close relationships with the rapidly growing TOSCA ecosystem of vendors, solution providers, researchers, as well as leading open source communities, such as OpenStack, Aria, and Alien4Cloud, the TC is now working to meet their real-world, 2nd generation TOSCA requirements through our new initiatives on complete state representation, testing/conformance, containers and clustering, policy, monitoring, and much more.

The TOSCA TC’s open approach, organized by agile, use case driven, ad hoc workgroups working in parallel, will continue in 2016. The TC has also formally constituted an Interoperability Subcommittee focused on testing and conformance. Additional details on all TC activities can be found below.

Interoperability Subcommittee

The TOSC TC’s Interoperability Subcommittee (Interop SC) focus is create a conformance document 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, and using 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. They plan to host and reference the actual test cases on an OASIS-approved Github repository.

Simple Profile (YAML)

The TOSCA TC’s YAML Simple Profile ad hoc workgroup has been directed to produce a v1.1 candidate specification by 3Q 2016 that would include enhanced operational policy and Event-Condition-Action model so that it can be tied to TOSCA events and monitoring work. In addition, a task-based TOSCA workflow schema will be considered that will allow TOSCA orchestrators to hand off complex operations such as installation, configuration and startup to imperative scripts and return when completed. Lastly, the use of Groups will be expanded to allow for describing clusters (with load balancing) of various applications with placement and scaling policies.


The TOSCA TC’s NFV ad hoc workgroup, recently empowered to consider SDN, as well, is working to verify how TOSCA NFV models can describe Network Services composed of Virtual Network Functions and, in turn, composed of Virtualized Deployment Units using network traffic flow descriptors, called Forwarding Graphs. In order to do this, we are working closely with the ETSI NFV standards Working Group and related NFV communities. For example, the open source OpenStack Tacker (NFV Orchestration) project is working to use actual TOSCA Service Templates as input to deploy virtual Network Routers, Switches and Multi-Function devices.

Instance Model

The TOSCA TC’s Instance Model ad hoc workgroup is tasked with providing a complete representation of the state of a TOSCA service template deployment so that it can be understood and appreciated by the owner, a workflow can change it, the state or topology changes can be understood over time, lifecycle operations can be manually applied to parts of it, and relationship operations can be defined on specific instances. Addition effort will be taken to enable testing and validation of TOSCA interpreters and orchestrators.

Containers and Clustering

The TOSCA TC’s Container and Clustering ad hoc workgroup has been empowered to expand its focus to include how to define clusters of homogeneous and heterogeneous containers and provide standard capabilities that allow containers to describe abstract Compute, Network, and Storage requirements, as well as provide overall load balancing and scaling of both individual containers and the clusters themselves. The group is also exploring the description of clusters of other types of software, the description of clusters of software that uses various master-slave patterns and databases that are “sharded.”


The TOSCA TC’s Monitoring ad hoc workgroup has been directed to continue its work on monitoring and hopes to finish the work in June, 2016. It has been suggested that this spec’s addendum include full examples to be published in the above-mentioned, proposed OASIS-approved GitHub repo or the TC’s Wiki. The examples will also try to propose potential implementation hints with different monitoring systems and approaches to demonstrate one possible usage.


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 Source 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.

Latest Technical Committee Interop Demo under OASIS

The below item is the last official OASIS Interop Demonstration. Interoperability testing or demonstrations by other organizations, communities, vendors, or solution provides is not listed.

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.