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Onboarding a deployable architecture to a private catalog

Onboarding a deployable architecture to a private catalog

When you're ready to share your deployable architecture with other members of your organization, you can add it to a private catalog. Additionally, you can use the onboarding flow to validate your architecture.

Before you begin

Before you can onboard your deployable architecture, be sure that you complete the following prerequisites.

  • Verify that you're using a Pay-As-You-Go or Subscription account. See Viewing your account type for more details.
  • Verify that you have the required access to work with private catalogs and deployable architectures.
    • Manager role on the IBM Cloud Schematics service
    • Editor role on the Catalog Management service
    • Viewer role on all resource groups in your account
    • SecretsReader role on the Secrets Manager service if you plan to store your secure values in an instance of Secrets Manager
    • Reader role on the Security and Compliance Center service
    • Other roles that are required for specific resources in your customized deployable architecture.
  • Create a private catalog.
  • Ensure that you have the source code for your deployable architecture stored in a GitHub or GitLab repository. For help with getting your source code into a repository, see Setting up your source code repository.

Want to see how it works but don't have a deployable architecture ready to use? Use our sample deployable architecture.

Packaging your source code

To create the .tgz file that you need to onboard your deployable architecture to a private catalog, you must create a release version of your source code. For help with creating a release, see Managing releases in a repository.

If you're using a private source code repository, be sure that you have a Git personal access token or a secret that is stored in Secrets Manager.

Adding a deployable architecture to a private catalog

To add your deployable architecture to a private catalog, you can use the following steps.

  1. In the IBM Cloud console, go to the Manage > Catalogs > Private catalogs page of the console.

  2. Select the private catalog that you want to add a product to. The catalog details page opens.

  3. Click Add product. A side panel opens.

  4. Select Deployable architecture for Product type.

  5. Select Terraform or Stack as your Delivery method.

  6. Select the type of repository where your source code is located.

    If your source code is located in a private repository, you need to authenticate by using a Git personal access token or a secret from Secrets Manager.

  7. Add a link to your source code in the Source URL field. It should look similar to

    If you are onboarding your deployable architecture for testing purposes, you do not need to have a .tgz file. You can provide the link to the root level of your architecture.

  8. Select a Variation.

    A variation is a type of deployable architecture that applies differing capabilities or complexity to an existing deployable architecture. For example, there might be a Quick start variation to your deployable architecture that has basic capabilities for simple, low-cost deployment to test internally. And, you might have a Standard variation that is a bit more complex that is ready for use in production.

  9. Enter the software version in the format of major version, minor version, and revision. For example, 1.0.0. Typically, this version matches the version number of your release snapshot.

  10. Select the Category that you want your deployable architecture to be grouped with in the catalog.

  11. Click Add product. The product overview page is displayed.

Editing your catalog entry

After you successfully onboard your deployable architecture to your private catalog, you must specify the information that a user sees when they attempt to use the architecture. The information includes descriptions of the product, links to documentation, and keywords that ensure that your product is easily findable.

  1. Go to the Manage > Catalogs > Private catalogs page of the console.

  2. Select the private catalog that you added your product to. The catalog details page opens.

  3. Select the product that you previously onboarded.

  4. Edit the way that your entry is shown in the catalog.

    1. In the catalog entry details section, click Edit.
    2. Review the information that was imported with your deployable architecture and make edits as needed.
    3. Verify that your entry is showing as expected by checking the Catalog entry preview.
    4. When you're finished making your selections, click Save.
  5. Edit the About page for your product. When a user selects your product from the catalog, an About section is shown that allows them to learn more about your product and the features that are available.

    1. In the Actions drop-down, select Edit product page.
    2. Enter a description of your product that explains the product's value and benefits to your users.
    3. To add specific feature information, click Features > Add feature.
    4. Add product-level features that explain the processes, abilities, and results of the product. Users can see the high-level product features at the beginning of the product page that apply to the product as a whole, regardless of version or architecture variation differences. For example, if your product creates Virtual Private Clouds, you can add Creates Virtual Private Clouds as the feature title and Virtual Private Clouds are created for you with the necessary underlying network components. as the feature description. To add features for specific variations or versions, you can do so by Adding highlights.
    5. Click Update.

Specifying details through the console

Your users see the version-level information that you define as part of the catalog entry for your product. The information provided as part of this flow can help your users to understand the functionality of the individual components that are associated with it.

To ensure that your selections are carried over into your next release, you can generate a manifest file. The manifest file, ibm_catalog.json, is the source of truth for your catalog entry. It contains all of the information about your product and the selections that you've made. After you generate the file, you must add it to the root level of your source code repository. If you prefer to work in the code, the following sections can be configured directly through the mainfest file. For more information about how to structure the file, see Locally editing your manifest file.

Getting to the details

After you add your deployable architecture to a private catalog, you're able to use a step-by-step walkthrough in the console to update the general information about your product. To get to the console page, you can use the following steps.

  1. Go to the Manage > Catalogs > Private catalogs page of the console.
  2. Select the private catalog where you added your product. The catalog details page opens.
  3. Select the product that previously onboarded.
  4. On the Versions tab, select the version of your product that you want to provide information for.
  5. Use the following information as a guide to configure your deployable architecture details.

Configuring your version details

On the Configure version tab, you can review and update information about the specific version of your architecture. You configure deployment details, define the required IAM access, and detail change notices that you want your users to be aware of.

If your deployable architecture requires a specific Terraform runtime version, you can override the default version. If you included TF_VERSION as an input variable within your source code repository, it should have automatically been updated when you created your catalog entry.

Input variables are the parameters that users specify when they use your product. You can review and modify the input and output variables that were imported with your source code, or you can add variables to your deployable architecture as part of this step. When variables are added, you can update whether they're required, visible, or the format in which they need to be provided.

When you release a new version of your product, there might be changes that you want to notify your users of before they get started with the new version. You can separate the information into three categories - breaking changes, new features, and general updates.

  • Breaking changes: Detail any changes to the code of the new version that can cause a disruptive experience to your users who are working with a previous version.
  • New features: Highlight any new functionality provided in the new version that a user might want to take advantage of.
  • Updates: Describe any general updates that were made to the new version. For example, bug fixes or improvements to existing features.

Including pre- and post-scripts

You can have a pre-script or post-script run for your deployable architectures before or after validating, deploying, and undeploying. Scripts are configured to a specific version of your deployable architecture as specified in the catalog manifest file, and must be run and validated through projects.

Scripts are optional for an offering but if they are used they are required to be in the repository in a directory named scripts. The script files themselves must conform to the following naming convention <action>-<stage>-ansible-playbook.yaml. Options for action include deploy, validate, and undeploy. Options for stage include pre and post. Only ansible scripts in the playbook format are supported at this time.

All scripts must be able to run more than once without failing. For example, a pre-deployment or post-deployment script must operate correctly, even if it is run several times. Post-deployment scripts might add resources to a catalog management database and must be sure not to add duplicate resources if run more than once.

For more information, including examples, see Creating scripts for a deployable architecture.

Adding deployable architecture details

When you make a deployable architecture available to other users in the cloud, you must provide the following information:

  • Any prerequisites or dependencies that a user might need to know before attempting to work with your deployable architecture. For example, whether this deployable architecture depends on another being installed first.
  • An architecture diagram that details how the components in your deployable architecture work together.
  • Any highlights that can help users to differentiate between which version or variation of your architecture might be best suited to their needs.

Adding license agreements

If users are required to accept any license agreements beyond the IBM Cloud Services Agreement, provide the URL to each agreement.

Editing your readme file

Document the instructions for installing your deployable architecture in the readme file.

Validating the version

Select the target for validation. When a product is validated, the resources are deployed. For a stand-alone deployable architecture, the target can be either a Schematics workspace in your current account or a specific project. For a deployable architcture stack, you must use a project. Depending on the option that you select, more configuration information might be required. After your target is configured, you must provide the values for the input and output variables that are required for your architecture to successfully deploy to the target. After your variables are configured, you can validate the version.

Do not clean up the resources in your account until after you run the compliance evaluation in the managing security and compliance section.

If the version fails validation because of a CRA scan, an administrator for the account can choose to override the failure and deploy anyway. If the validation fails for any other reason, it is highly recommended that you fix any issues that are found before publishing your offering.

Reviewing cost

Ensure that you fully understand the costs that are associated with deploying your architecture. The version must be validated before you can generate an estimated cost.

Managing compliance

When you make a deployable architecture available to others in your organization, you can specify the specific compliance controls that your architecture meets by using the default installation. Compliance with regulatory controls is evaluated by IBM Cloud Security and Compliance Center. For more information, see Running an evaluation for IBM Cloud®.

  1. Click Add claims.

  2. Select a profile. The profile is pulled from the Security and Compliance Center service. You can choose to select a predefined profile or go to Security and Compliance Center and create one of your own.

  3. Specify whether your deployable architecture meets all of the controls in the profile or whether it can satisfy the control requirements for a subset of the controls.

  4. If your architecture can meet only a subset of the controls, then you must select the controls that can be satisfied and add them as claims.

  5. Use Security and Compliance Center to confirm the claims that you've identified.

    1. In the IBM Cloud console, click the menu icon Menu icon > Security and Compliance to access Security and Compliance Center.
    2. Create an attachment by using the profile that you selected.

    The scope that you define as part of creating an attachment must contain the resources that were deployed when you validated your product.

    1. Run a scan and wait for the results to be available.
  6. In the Manage compliance tab of the catalog UI, click Add scan.

  7. Select an Instance, Profile, and the specific scan that you want to add.

  8. Click Add

Reviewing requirements

When you've completed the walkthrough, you must review your selections and confirm that you are ready to share your product to your catalog. When you're ready, click Ready to share.

Downloading the manifest

Whenever changes are made to your product configuration through the console, it is a best practice to generate and download your manifest file to ensure that your changes are picked up in future releases of your product.

To download a manifest, you can use the following steps.

  1. Go to the Manage > Catalogs > Private catalogs page of the console.
  2. Select the product that was previously onboarded. A details page opens.
  3. On the Versions tab, select the version that you want to generate a manifest for.
  4. From the Actions drop-down menu, select Export as code.
  5. Add the file into the root folder of your source code repository as ibm_catalog.json.

Downloading your catalog configuration

If you are working with a deployable architecture stack, there are additional files that are generated in addition to your manifest file. If you have made updates to your catalog configuration by using the console, it is a best practices to download the files and add them to your source code repository so that your changes carry over into your next release.

  1. Go to the Manage > Catalogs > Private catalogs page of the console.
  2. Select the product that was previously onboarded. A details page opens.
  3. On the Versions tab, select the version that you want to generate a manifest for.
  4. From the Actions drop-down menu, select Export as code.
  5. Add the files into the root folder of your source code repository.

Adding a variation

You can add more variations that are a new version of your architecture that is designed to build upon the funtions of the base deployable architecture. If you created multiple variations in separate working directories in your source repo and specified them in the flavors array in your ibm_catalog.json manifest file, you must onboard each variation separately.

At this point, you've already onboarded your first variation. Now, you can start back at Adding a deployable architecture to onboard your next variation. Here are a few tips for onboarding your next variation:

  • The source URL of the repo release will be the same for all of the variations within that release and they should be imported with the same version number. The product name and version number are how the variations are linked together and then result as options on the same catalog tile.
  • On the Add deployable architecture details page, step 3 includes adding highlights. These are known as features in the ibm_catalog.json manifest file. You might have already added these in the manifest, so you can review them here. If not, go ahead and add some highlights. These should be short ability, process, capacity, or other features of this specific architecture. You will use the same highlight "Name" across all variations. The description is where there should be differences. This enables users to evaluate the differences in the architectures by using the text highlights on the catalog details page.

Next steps: Sharing and publishing

Now that your deployable architecture is added to a private catalog and the details are set, you're ready to share the product with other members of your organization. For help with sharing, see Sharing your product.

If you want to publish your deployable architecture to the IBM Cloud catalog, you can use Partner Center to get approval and publish for all users to take advantage of the solution that you built. For more information, see Preparing to onboard deployable architectures.