When a topology adapter is run, it creates topology from the OSSs for the Topology Server. Topology information contains both physical and logical inventory. Physical inventory can include the devices themselves, the network element, the equipment installed in those network elements, and the ports and interfaces contained in the equipment, and the physical connections. Logical inventory includes the applications, protocols, and logical connections.

During discovery, the adapter information creates the Topology Server repository by creating instances of the objects specified in the model, and by creating relationships between the objects. When discovery is complete, the repository contains a representation of the components of the network and how they are connected.

For technical or administrative reasons, some devices cannot be discovered. If needed, unmanaged entities can be introduced into the topology by means of a specially designed inventory adapter that uses an API, a flat file, XML or a database to create a “black box” object. A black box may consist of one or more contiguous devices or entities, sometimes called a “black box cloud”.