December 20, 2022

Eclipse Dataspace Components and IDSA: Let’s build our data-driven future together!

Data spaces are built in partnerships. Between the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA) and everyone who wants to use, benefit from, and help shape the data ecosystem.
Markus Spiekermann & Sebastian Steinbuss

The IDS protocol forms the technological basis for a standardized communication in data spaces to establish trust for data sharing based on data connectors. Through this foundation of a standardized protocol, the IDS Reference Architecture Model (IDS-RAM) acts as a blueprint for building data spaces. It contains a comprehensive set of concepts and standards for data sharing while maintaining data sovereignty.

This includes APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for data sharing, a structure for semantic interoperability and a certification scheme. As part of the certification process, independent evaluators verify the components’ compliance with specifications of the IDS protocol and the rules and agreements of the IDS-RAM.

Protocol development, IDS-RAM, and the certification scheme are managed and maintained by IDSA and its members, allowing everyone to develop IDS components and build millions of data spaces. To promote and accelerate this effort, IDSA recently introduced a broad open-source landscape.

Eclipse Foundation provides a framework to develop data spaces

The Eclipse Dataspace Components (EDC) project is an open-source project under the governance of the Eclipse Foundation. It provides a comprehensive set of components to implement data spaces in full compliance with IDSA requirements on IDS protocol, rules and agreements of the RAM and compliance with the IDSA certification scheme.

The IDS protocol guarantees technical interoperability with all other connector projects that follow the IDS protocol standard. All components in the EDC are designed to enable the development of data spaces that comply with the RAM.

The EDC is part of the IDS open-source graduation scheme and supported by Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST, Mercedes-Benz Tech Innovation, BMW Group, Deutsche Telekom, Amadeus, Microsoft, Google, AWS, SAP, ZF Friedrichshafen and many others.

The Eclipse Dataspace Components project enables the use of the Gaia-X Trust Framework to base data spaces in the Gaia-X Trust Anchor.

EDC capabilities

The EDC is a set of components to build data spaces. Its main component, the Eclipse Dataspace Connector, is designed for sovereign, inter-organizational data exchange based on IDS. The connector framework contains modules for performing data query, data exchange, policy enforcement, monitoring and auditing.

The Eclipse Dataspace Components is an extensible, portable, platform independent multi-cloud framework. This framework supports not only the IDS standard but also relevant protocols associated with the GAIA-X project to create a system for trusted data sharing where each organization autonomously decides who to share their data with. Furthermore, any data space participant leveraging the Eclipse Dataspace Connector can define the exact conditions under which data is shared and exert control over how shared data is being used by the recipient.

Through its decentralized design and the support for many popular data transfer protocols, the Eclipse Dataspace Connector provides enterprise-ready scalability and performance even for the largest and most demanding organizations.

Interplay for innovation

Many of the participants in this EDC project are members in the IDSA and part of the working groups that shape the IDS standard and concepts together with the developers and maintainers of other data connectors and data space components. That means that learnings from the open-source developers will be immediately incorporated in IDS, and knowledge and experience is shared among the partners in the IDSA ecosystem. As a result, an improved protocol and RAM will enhance the data connectors. Making it a perfect example for seamless and efficient knowledge transfer in a dynamic innovation cycle.

All together for data sovereignty

All stakeholders across the industry, academia and government are encouraged to join and contribute to this open and IPR-free project. The EDC project is governed by the Eclipse Foundation and the source depot of the Eclipse Dataspace Components can be found here.

If you are interested in using components from the EDC or contributing to the projects, please follow the guidelines on the EDC GitHub.

If you are interested in being involved in the decision-making process and shaping the IDS RAM, please become a member of IDSA and join the Architecture Working Group.

Feel free to use the IDS concepts and the EDC – nobody needs to start from scratch. You are welcome to use what is already there and working; be part of the OSS (Open-Source Software) landscape and actively drive the development forward.

Let’s build our data-driven future together now!

Author: Markus Spiekermann & Sebastian Steinbuss
Markus Spiekermann is Head of Department Data Business at Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering (ISST) and Project Lead for Eclipse Dataspace Connector. Sebastian Steinbuss is Lead Architect and CTO at IDSA.

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