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

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Chair: Chris Lauwers

Secretary: Damian Tamburri

OASIS Staff Contact: Kelly Cullinane


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

Table of Contents

TOSCA News and LinkedIN Group

Join the TOSCA LinkedIN Group for the latest news and announcements from our growing eco-system and community!


  • The TOSCA TC Wiki with informal, incomplete lists of known implementations, academic papers, etc. No endorsements are made.

TOSCA in 2024 and Beyond

The most successful standards are developed transparently and with clear, well-developed aspirational goals. In that spirit, the TOSCA Technical Committee (TC) provides this update and statement of aspirations, while making it clear that this statement undoubtedly will change over time.

The TOSCA TC has made great progress over the past couple of years. Versions 1.1 and 1.2 of the Simple Profile in YAML specification were completed in 2017. These releases introduced significant new features including:

  • Abstract Base Types

  • Custom Workflows and Lifecycle Events

  • Substitution mapping properties expanded

  • Artifact processing directives

  • Policy triggers for event-condition-action

  • Target node filtering (abstract, concrete) to facilitate orchestrator implementation

Taking into account discussion and comments from diverse sources, including standards developing organizations (SDOs) and Open Source projects, the TC has seen growing optimism and understanding of the opportunities (and challenges) that lie ahead for TOSCA and its growing ecosystem.

In order to further expand that ecosystem, the TOSCA TC has launched a new Ad Hoc Workgroup focused on IoT/Edge/Fog to explore opportunities for TOSCA applications within these new domains. Preliminary work on the TOSCA Instance Model is currently being socialized, with the intent to further evolve work on the Instance Model in the future.

That said; the core of TOSCA continues to focus on our continuing improvements of the TOSCA Simple Profile in YAML. The aspirational goals for future development TOSCA Simple Profile in YAML for fall loosely into three broad areas: Adoption, Usability, and Ecosystem.
Adoption refers to the uptake, across a variety of industry domains, of the models and best practices defined by the Simple Profile in YAML and other TOSCA TC deliverables.
Usability is the key driver for adoption - an unusable standard is destined to be incompatibly altered, creating confusion rather than aligning industry.
Ecosystem is both the result of growing adoption and the crucible within which the standard can evolve dynamically to meet changing technology and market conditions.
These aspirational areas lead to a "virtuous cycle" - Usability drives Adoption, Adoption creates the conditions needed for an Ecosystem to flourish, the Ecosystem helps increase visibility and participation, which lead to refinements and greater Usability.


  • Engage with commercial/OSS runtime developers to drive evolution of consistent orchestration tooling; clarify semantics and expected behavior

  • Grow membership across industry/academic communities

  • Expand domains of applicability by fostering development of new profiles (NFV, IoT, etc.)

  • Align standard base types/models with Cloud-Native standards and best practices

  • Clarify integration with existing deployment and lifecycle management tooling; enabling straightforward adaptation to development and CI environments and toolchains


  • Refactor language specification by separating Grammar, Concepts, and Examples

  • Organize across distinct application domains in order to illustrate key concepts and patterns

  • Verify consistency between core language and existing domain-specific profiles

  • Develop prescriptive guidelines for development of runtime orchestrators, including required/optional behavior and best practices for interoperability and portability

  • Expand the current test assertions into a comprehensive test suite, in sync with current profile release, whose assertions are keyed to specification elements in order to ease comparison across implementations


  • Maintain alignments with relevant SDOs and open source projects, identifying active users of each TOSCA version and profile

  • Formalize delivery and review of domain-specific profiles, providing an open registry to ensure that they are discoverable and readily accessible

  • Investigate/facilitate contribution of "reference implementation" orchestration tools

  • Continue evaluating cross-orchestrator portability via published case studies and events or plugfests (perhaps shared with other groups) that leverage OASIS marketing tools

  • Transparent self-certification process, based on social-coding tools for easy publication and open access to conformance test results


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.


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

  • tosca-specs - Contains drafts of the TOSCA TC’s specifications and committee notes.

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.

Public Resources


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