Drag-and-drop Tosca support for Apache Brooklyn with ALIEN 4 Cloud

The OASIS TOSCA (Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications) standard enables services and applications to be portable across cloud providers – regardless of their underlying platform or infrastructure – by describing their components, relationships, dependencies, requirements, and capabilities for automated management platforms such asApache Brooklyn.

Alien4Cloud is a web UI that allows components to be dragged-and-dropped to produce TOSCA compatible blueprints.  These blueprints are then delegated to an orchestrator, such as Apache Brooklyn, to deploy to a cloud location.

In this post, we describe the Brooklyn-Tosca project which enables Brooklyn to consume TOSCA blueprints; we describe how the Brooklyn plugin for Alien4Cloud enables Brooklyn to be used as an orchestrator with Alien4Cloud and deploy blueprints composed from TOSCA components.

Getting set up

First, get the brooklyn-tosca project from github

$ git clone git@github.com:cloudsoft/brooklyn-tosca.git

Then, so we can refer to it in future, store this location in a variable

$ cd brooklyn-tosca
$ export BROOKLYN_TOSCA=$(pwd)

and finally, build the project.

$ mvn clean install -DskipTests

Running ALIEN 4 Cloud

Now change to the directory that contains the built artifacts

$ cd  $BROOKLYN_TOSCA/brooklyn-tosca-dist/target/brooklyn-tosca-dist-0.9.0-SNAPSHOT-dist/brooklyn-tosca-dist-0.9.0-SNAPSHOT/

This directory contains a standalone version of Alien4Cloud, which in turn contains a startup script, so run this script:

$ alien4cloud-standalone/alien4cloud.sh

which starts the web UI on http://localhost:8091

Once started, login with the credentials admin:admin.

Adding the Brooklyn Plugin

Now go to the plugins page found under Administration (http://localhost:8091/#/admin/plugins)

Notice it is asking for a plugin file to upload. 

In your file browser, drag the$BROOKLYN_TOSCA/a4c-brooklyn-plugin/target/a4c-brooklyn-plugin-0.9.0-SNAPSHOT.zipfile into the section marked “Drop plugin files to upload here”.

Starting Brooklyn-Tosca

At this point we can start the Brooklyn server: in another terminal change to the directory containing the arfifacts

$ cd $BROOKLYN_TOSCA/brooklyn-tosca-dist/target/brooklyn-tosca-dist-0.9.0-SNAPSHOT-dist/brooklyn-tosca-dist-0.9.0-SNAPSHOT/

This directory also contains a script to launch Brooklyn and we parameterize it with the location of a config file

$ ./brooklyn.sh launch -Dalien4cloud-config.file=conf/alien4cloud-config.client-to-localhost.yml

Once started the brooklyn web console can be found at http://localhost:8081/

Adding Brooklyn as an Orchestrator

Now that Brooklyn is running and the plugin has been registered with alien4cloud the orchestrator can be added.  In the alien4cloud ui, under Administration select Orchestrators (http://localhost:8091/#/admin/orchestrators/list) and add a new orchestrator.

Then click on the newly created orchestrator and enable it.

It is now ready to use.

Creating a web app hosted on Tomcat, backed by MySql

With the plugin installed and the orchestrator registered, we now have access to all the components that Brooklyn supports.  We can now turn our attention to using the dragand drop facility that alien4cloud provides.  First, create an application (http://localhost:8091/#/applications/list).

Then on the left hand side menu select topology.  Drag two compute node templates from the right hand side into the workspace and on top of the first drag a TomcatServer nodetemplate and on top of the second a MySqlNode.  When it prompts for the relationship type select the HostedOn relationship, it should be the only one available.

Next, configure the Tomcat server so that the wars.root property is set to the location of a webapp for example:


Then configure MySqlNode with the datastore.creation.script.url for example:


Finally, create a relationship between TomcatServer and MySqlNode by dragging from the database_endpoint on the right hand side of TomcatServer to the equivalent on the left hand side of MySqlNode.  This relationship needs a bit of configuring, so on the Tomcat properties, scroll down to Relationships and add the following values to prop.name, prop.value, andprop.collection, respectively:

  • brooklyn.example.db.url
  • $brooklyn:formatString("jdbc:%s%s?user=%s%spassword=%s", $brooklyn:component("MySqlNode").attributeWhenReady("datastore.url"), "visitors", "brooklyn", "&", "br00k11n")
  • java.sysprops

Deploy the Webapp

On the left hand side click deployments.  At this point you can select the location to which you would like to deploy the webapp, e.g localhost.  Next move to the deploy tab and click deploy, this will create the topology in the specified location.

Looking at the Brooklyn server you can see that the topology has indeed been created.  And if you look at the TomcatServer entity you can find the URL of the running application.

Alien4Cloud also offers a runtime view.



Alien4Cloud provides a nice drag and drop interface on top of orchestrators such as Apache Brooklyn, allowing blueprints to be composed visually using components.  Alient4Cloud and the associated Brooklyn plugin will be included in the forthcoming release of Cloudsoft AMP making TOSCA support available out-of-the-box in Cloudsoft AMP.