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


  1. What is TOSCA?

    TOSCA is an OASIS open standard that defines the interoperable description of services and applications hosted on the cloud and elsewhere; including their components, relationships, dependencies, requirements, and capabilities, thereby enabling portability and automated management across cloud providers regardless of underlying platform or infrastructure; thus expanding customer choice, improving reliability, and reducing cost and time-to-value. These characteristics also facilitate the portable, continuous delivery of applications (DevOps) across their entire lifecycle. In short, they empower a much higher level of agility and accuracy for business in the cloud.

    TOSCA enables business to capture and automate the use of expert knowledge so that service and application requirements could be automatically matched to corresponding cloud service provider capabilities, thus enabling a truly competitive ecosystem where cloud platform and service providers can leap beyond commoditization in order to compete, innovate, and better serve the accelerating needs of cloud-based businesses.

  2. Given the name of the standard (Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications), is TOSCA an orchestration standard like BPMN? Does it require BPMN or any other orchestration language?

    TOSCA models are intended to work with and enable a wide-range of process or task-oriented standards and technologies, but it does not mandate the use of any specific implementations such as BPMN.

  3. The TOSCA Technical Committee is one of the largest in OASIS history, with over 150 representatives from over 40 organizations. Why are all these vendors, service providers, and research organizations involved?

    TOSCA has broad applicability to the topic of cloud computing. The specification touches a wide range of specialty areas - from the actual cloud services and applications to the underlying cloud infrastructure, and from cloud service providers to cloud service and application developers.

  4. What do you mean by TOSCA ecosystem? Why is that important for service providers and the customers that depend upon them?

    TOSCA supports the automatic matching of cloud service provider capabilities, with application/service requirements, thus enabling a competitive ecosystem. Therefore, the TOSCA ecosystem is defined by any company or organization that supports the TOSCA open standard format in support of any role in support of the DevOps lifecycle, from planning, architecture, development, and testing to operations. Thus, TOSCA utilization and support is appropriate for a wide range of businesses, such as application providers, tooling providers, service providers, cloud brokers, and so on.

  5. How “real” is TOSCA? Can I buy a TOSCA-enabled product or use a TOSCA-supporting cloud service provider today?

    TOSCA is already “real.” The TOSCA Technical Committee, one of the largest and fastest growing in OASIS history, consists of over 40 industry-leading vendors, service providers, research organizations, and so on. Over a dozen of these members organizations have already publically demonstrated or publicized implementations for TOSCA. Leading open source organizations have also embraced TOSCA with numerous projects already active.

  6. How can I get started with TOSCA now?

    For companies developing and providing applications for deployment on service providers or internal clouds, the process should begin by discussing TOSCA principles and tools, as well as other solutions such as TOSCA-application repositories with your trusted technology partners in the context of your business and technical requirements, as well as your conceptual and logical architecture.

    For companies providing hosting environments and services, begin by planning for portable TOSCA application model support in order to meet application requirements in an optimized, automated fashion for your customers.

  7. Is TOSCA needed if you are already using Docker?

    Solutions based on the TOSCA open standard and container technologies like Docker are two different and complementary technologies. TOSCA’s application centricity provides a means to express the interrelationships and resource requirements of application components across n-tier topologies. TOSCA portably orchestrates application topologies comprised of hierarchies of components hosted in various types of containers including Virtual Machines, Docker/LXC and other popular application component containers.

    If you have Docker images (Docker provides content/components), consider TOSCA for your Docker topologies and application lifecycle management (TOSCA enables portable topologies and reuse of heterogeneous containers and components).

    Docker provides a set of application building blocks in the form of Docker images. TOSCA provides the ability to describe the topologies and interconnectivity between Docker containers, VM and server hosted components, and existing endpoints and services enabling the deployment and scaling of sophisticated application services making Docker topologies more portable and scalable.

  8. How does TOSCA intend to handle security in terms of passwords, tokens, etc.?

    TOSCA is designed to be extensible. This means that it is able to support a wide range of standards and policies, as needed, including those related to security and privacy.

  9. What kind of value does TOSCA provide service providers?

    The TOSCA open standard enables service providers to win new business and support higher margins much more easily, quickly, and at lower cost. TOSCA empowers service providers to fulfill application requirements and to differentiate themselves by concisely and objectively demonstrating how the unique capabilities of their platform provide unique business and/or technical benefits for the prospective customer.

  10. Does TOSCA undermine service-provider stickiness?

    TOSCA opens the door for service providers to significantly improve and expand customer stickiness by enabling concise and objective demonstration and support for their own unique capabilities and customer value proposition.

  11. How does critical information in nodes get propagated to other nodes that need that information for deployment and other lifecycle applications?

    TOSCA supports the dynamic, automated utilization of the application topology so that relevant information and actions are available at the appropriate time during deployment and other lifecycle operations.