A Reference Architecture for provisioning of Tools as a Service: meta-model, ontologies and design elements

Muhammad Aufeef Chauhan*, Muhammad Ali Babar, Quan Z. Sheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Software Architecture (SA) plays a critical role in designing, developing and evolving cloud-based platforms that can be used to provision different types of services for consumers on demand. In this paper, we present a Reference Architecture (RA) for designing cloud-based Tools as a service SPACE (TSPACE), which can provision a bundled suite of tools following the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. The reference architecture has been designed by leveraging information structuring approaches and by using well-known architecture design principles and patterns. The RA has been documented using view-based approach and has been presented in terms of its context, goals, the RA meta-model, information structuring and relationship models using ontologies and components of the RA. We have demonstrated the feasibility and applicability of the RA with the help of a prototype and have used the prototype to provision software architecting tools. We have also evaluated the RA in terms of effectiveness of the design decisions and the RA's completeness and feasibility using scenario-based architecture evaluation method. The proposed TSPACE RA can provide valuable insights to information structure approaches and guidelines for designing and implementing TSPACE for various domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-65
Number of pages25
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cloud computing
  • Meta-model
  • Ontologies
  • Software reference architecture
  • Tools as a Service (TaaS)


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