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TOSCA for Full-Stack Cloud Design

Powerful Modeling Framework for the Future

Design for the Cloud. Sounds cool and sexy. But how do you design and build a cloud-based system ? Especially if you want it to be full-stack, not just for the cloud-layer ? What tools do you use, if you can find any at all ?

As one of the world’s top Cloud Managed Service Providers (MSPs), ChinaNetCloud deals with this every day, and we are proud to bring our next-generation Cloud Design System to OpsStack, our Unified Cloud Operations Platform.

So we are building our new system based on TOSCA, the standardized Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications, managed by the OASIS standards body. Approved since 2014, but little-known, this is the new way to define and describe clouds and how they are built.

Similar to AWS Cloud Formation, but far more powerful and including Orchestration support, TOSCA is being adopted by many industry players such as OpsStack’s Heat, Red Hat, Aria, Ubicity, and more. The Cloudify system (and Mist.io) are TOSCA-based, as are a few other tools, especially in the Telco space.

The challenge is that TOSCA is still relatively undefined for real use, and focuses very much on the cloud layer, even though it can support full-stack systems. There are a few academic projects out there but still very few working systems in production use, nearly none.

So, we are building and will publish a full-stack, full-cloud working definition of TOSCA for AWS and beyond. Bi-directionally compatible with Cloud Formation, it supports ROUND-TRIP forward and reverse-engineering of AWS-based systems. We will then extend to other clouds and environments, as we’ve already built in all the necessary concepts and elements.

It also supports full-stack operations including the OS, MySQL, Nginx, Redis, and much more so you can define and build your entire system in TOSCA, top-to-bottom, end-to-end.

To all this we are adding system architecture viewer, and a full graphical editing suite for TOSCA, and thus any full-stack cloud system, anywhere. So you can create, view, edit, and update your system visually, saving in TOSCA and implementing on your favorite cloud.

We are also adding AWS Cloud Formation import, export, and conversion as we use this as our AWS intermediary to help support testing, change control, and the wide range of CF-oriented tools out there. Plus Change Control, versioning, and update analysis for the changes all too common in cloud-based systems.

As part of our OpsStack Cloud Operations Platform, this full-stack TOSCA-based design, build, and change system will be an exciting new development and capability in global cloud operations. It will finally enable customers, MSPs, and operations teams to build a single integrated full-stack model of their entire system, at any scale.

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