Use > Topology Designs > Topology designer

Topology designer

In the Designer tab, you create a layout of components, their relationships, and groups. A single design can contain components of multiple provider types, such as VMware vCenter and SiteScope components.

Designs have their resource provider (and resource pool, when appropriate) selected at provisioning time.

Concrete Components and Capabilities

A component represents one service design element required to realize a service subscription. Components added to the design can be either concrete components, such as VMware vCenter server, or capabilities, such as Web Server.

When only concrete components are included in a design, those specific components are provisioned. When a design contains a capability, the design can be neither published nor provisioned on its own and requires a separate design, often called a microservice design. A microservice design contains concrete components that satisfy each capability expressed in a design. For example, if a design contains a My App component that has relationships to Application Server, Database Server, and Web Server (each of which is a capability), a suitable microservice design might contain PHP, MySQL, and Apache components. Designs containing a capability cannot be published but can be provisioned by clicking the Test Run button and then selecting from one or more candidate microservice designs.

Requirements (Required Characteristics)

In the topology Designer tab, requirements can be specified on capability components. A requirement allows you to refine which concrete designs should be selected when a partial design is provisioned. For example, Apache Web Server can be a required characteristic that is specified on a Web Server capability. In this use case, only designs that contain a component that supports the Web Server capability and has Apache Web Server as a supported characteristic of the component will be selected when a design is provisioned.


Designs can be created from the set of topology components that are defined in the Components area of the Cloud Service Management Console. Many components are included with CSA. If necessary, import any additional components that you need prior to creating a design. See Import Topology Components.

Note: Designs are automatically saved every few seconds after a change or immediately after a significant and meaningful change is made to the design.
  • Add components to your design - From the set of components (based on the palette you selected for the design) in the left pane of the Designer, drag-and-drop or double-click the component you want to add. The components you select can be concrete components or capabilities. Capability components are indicated in the Designer by two less-than characters (<<) preceding the display name and two greater-than characters (>>) following the display name.

    You can also click a component in the design to access a slide-out menu where you can:
    • Click the Add icon to select and add a component that supports relationships to or from the selected component.
    • Click the Edit icon to edit the selected component. You can edit the Display Name, or you can select a Group to which the selected component will be added. See Groups (Topology Designs).
    • Click the Delete icon to delete the selected component and its relationships.
  • Add and delete relationships between components - Click a component in the design and select the Add icon to see a list of compatible component relationships, or hover over the orange dot on a component, and then click and drag the arrow to the component with which you want to create a relationship. Relationships that are not compatible with the component appear grayed-out in the Designer.
    • You can create relationships only between components that have been configured to allow such relationships. In addition, the direction of the relationship (outgoing or incoming) and the number of allowable relationships are configured per component. See Component relationships. After the connection is made, the arrow automatically points in the proper direction, as defined by the component relationship configuration. Capabilities support only incoming relationships. Capabilities do not support outgoing relationships when included in a design.
    • You can also click a relationship arrow or label in the design to open a menu where you can click the Delete icon to delete the selected relationship.
    • Set property values for components - In the Properties tab, in the right pane of the Designer, you can set property values by typing in the corresponding input field.
      • Click Save to save property changes.
    • Select characteristics for capability components- In the Requirements tab, in the right pane of the Designer, click Select to select characteristics for a capability component. In the dialog box, you can :
      • Select one or more characteristics from the Available Characteristics list, and click Add. You can filter the list by Applicable Characteristics or by All Characteristics. The Applicable Characteristics list shows all characteristics supported by all concrete types that have the selected capability as a supported capability. For example, if there are concrete components Apache 2.2 Web Server and Apache 2.4 Web Server that support the Web Server capability, all characteristics supported by those 2 concrete types will be displayed when Applicable Characteristics is selected for a Web Server capability.
      • View the list of Selected Characteristics, or select one or more characteristics and click Remove.
  • Manage Groups - You can create, edit, and delete groups. See Groups (Topology Designs).
  • Assign Components to Groups - See Groups (Topology Designs).
  • View Validation Errors - Validation is a continuing process during design creation, configuration, and editing. Designs with validation errors can be saved but not published. Red error icons and red borders display on components, relationships, and groups in the Designer, allowing you to identify validation errors as you work with designs. Hover over an error icon to see more information about the validation error. Common sources of validation errors include required properties on components, relationships, or groups not being defined, required relationships not being configured, or the cardinality rule of relationships being violated.

Best Practices

  • Partial designs contain capabilities and require composition with a compatible concrete design before they can be published and deployed. These designs are indicated in the Designer tab by a Requires Composition icon in the upper right of the window.
  • Use the icons at the bottom center of the Designer tab to make use of the automatic layout feature or to zoom in and out in the design.
  • You can slide the component drawer open or closed to allow more room in the Designer window.
  • Published designs are displayed in read-only mode. Some features are not available for published designs.