Gaia-X Federation Services: First Round of Specifications Completed

  • Four services provide the technical basis for the launch of Gaia-X
  • Tender phase promptly launched to create an open-source reference implementation

The project partners, coordinated by eco – Association of the Internet Industry, completed the specification of the first four Gaia-X Federation Services. These form the technical basis for the development of a European data infrastructure for the secure digitalisation and networking of different participants. Specifically, the specifications concern sovereign identities, a catalogue for providers and services, assistance for sovereign data exchange and compliance considerations. In the next step, the project office has now promptly started to invite online tenders for the individual lots in order to create a reference implementation based on the specifications. At the end of 2021, the first functional services are to be available so that so-called federators can put them into operation for the respective federation. The project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) with around 13.5 million Euro, will run at least until the end of 2022.

“The Gaia-X Federation Services form the foundation and basis for the operational implementation of Gaia-X,” says Andreas Weiss, Head of Digital Business Models at eco – Association of the Internet Industry. “As a first step, we have defined common standards and frameworks to enable cooperation.” Based on the Federation Services, user groups can organise themselves as part of Gaia-X, as long as they conform to the corresponding rules.

“Gaia-X is a key project for Europe’s competitiveness and digital independence,” adds Thomas Jarzombek, BMWi Commissioner for the Digital Industry and Startups. “With the establishment of the so-called Federation Services, the technical heart or operating system of Gaia-X, the next milestone has been reached. The requirements have now been defined and are now being implemented in open-source source code. In this way, all Gaia-X services are linked to form a transparent and open system according to European standards. I’m excited to see the project continue to gain momentum to get to market as soon as possible.”

Open-source foundation for an open ecosystem

The following four services now form, in the current specification, the technical foundation for building federated and sovereign Gaia-X data infrastructures:  Identity & Trust Services include authentication and authorisation, credential management, decentralised identity management and verification of analogue credentials. The Federated Catalogue bundles all the providers’ offers and enables Gaia-X users to find the best possible offer for them. The Sovereign Data Exchange Services regulate, in particular, the negotiation of data contracts over the Internet and thus enable the enforcement of data usage policies. The Compliance Services define how the onboarding of providers, and subsequently of the services to be offered to Gaia-X, proceeds and additionally offer suitable technical approaches to continuously monitor compliance with the common rules (Policy Rules). In addition to the four federation services, an integration layer was also specified. The Gaia-X portal supports, for example, the onboarding and accreditation of participants as well as the orchestration and provisioning of services. For the implementation of these services, the project partners have defined a total of 17 lots, which are now being awarded in an EU-wide tender.

The aim of the tender phase is to select the best partners who will now convert the specifications into source code and thus create a reference implementation. This will be open-source and thus offer all interested parties the opportunity to become part of the new digital ecosystem themselves. The federation services will link existing data ecosystems and infrastructure ecosystems. Companies thus benefit from full sovereignty and control over their growing data volumes and decide independently on which platforms and cloud resources they collaborate with partners. A federated and interoperable overall ecosystem is created in which participants can use data and services sovereignly across sector-specific data spaces. All data and service offers are transparent and the dependencies on individual providers, so-called lock-in effects, are reduced.

Partnership for the specification work

These partners successfully collaborated on the Federation Services specification: 4Com GmbH & Co. KG, Cloud&Heat Technologies GmbH, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., IDSA e.V., Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, nicos AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, SAP SE, Kompetenznetzwerk Trusted Cloud e.V., XignSys GmbH, 1&1 IONOS SE.

More information under: www.gxfs.de

Gaia-X Federation Services: First round of specifications completed