Gaia-X Participant Use Cases
The goal of this section is to illustrate how the Consumers, Federators and Provider described in the conceptual model can appear. Therefore, different actors are considered in the role of Consumer and Provider. The section focuses on the most typical kinds of actors and the list is not exhaustive.
Provider Use Cases
This section describes typical kinds of actors that obtain the Provider role in Gaia-X. This includes cloud service providers, data providers or providers of Software Assets as well as Interconnection service providers.
Cloud Service Provider
This section focuses on cloud service providers in the Provider role. A possible service model can be an infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS) or software (SaaS) provider. The deployment model explicitly includes private cloud, public cloud, edge and hybrid cloud. As standardization is crucial for achieving interoperability and portability, Gaia-X builds on existing standards. Demanding adherence to certain standards goes along with several challenges for potential Providers.
When offering data via Gaia-X, the Data Sovereignty Services offer the opportunity to provide Data Assets with attached usage control mechanisms. This means that data provisioning and monitoring on the usage of data is given. Furthermore, the Consumer can also define Policies, which present obligations for the Provider. This could, as an example, mean that only data obtained in a certain jurisdiction should be transmitted. The data can be used for different applications and proceedings, including training data for artificial intelligence applications. Data Sovereignty technologies provide transparency for the data providers about where their data has been processed and under which conditions.
Software Asset Provider
Gaia-X offers the opportunity to provide Software Assets that are data-intensive and use advanced technology approaches, such as artificial intelligence and big data. They can be offered via the Federated Catalogues and be provided with certain policies that specify the obligations for the execution of the Service Instance of that Software Asset, e.g. only in a certain jurisdiction or for a restricted period. Software Assets also especially address to Start-Ups or small and medium enterprises. They obtain the opportunity of not only providing their services to a broad mass via Gaia-X under certain Compliance regulations and standards, but also having easy access to other complementary services being provided via Gaia-X.
Interconnection Service Provider
In addition to so-called “Best Effort” services, e.g. basic internet connectivity as part of networking between different Providers, Gaia-X also provides the possibility to offer more elevated Interconnection Services that exhibit special characteristics such as guarantees of bandwidth and latency or security-related settings. Like other Service Offerings, Interconnection Service Offerings will be listed in a Catalogue. Amongst others, Interconnection Services will compromise the existing services of internet service providers, internet exchange points, or cloud service providers such as network as a service (NaaS).
Consumer Use Cases
This section describes different Gaia-X Consumer scenarios, where the Consumer can obtain different roles. Therefore, the typical role of cloud service consumers, data consumers, Consumers of combined services and the End-Users of services are described.
Cloud Service Consumer
The consumption of cloud services via Gaia-X, referring to those who follow the Gaia-X standard and Compliance, increases transparency for the Consumer. It lowers the barrier to adapt different cloud services and reduces the risk of lock-in effects. Gaia-X offers the option for service composition, which also enables the use of cloud-native services. Furthermore, service composition can be used to build a customized service package that covers different aspects and Providers, without binding on one single Provider only. These aspects will facilitate the adoption of cloud services, especially for small and medium enterprises. They will easily obtain a transparent overview about cloud services following Gaia-X Policy Rules and be sure to use trustful services compliant with privacy and security standards. Further, more customized services will appear due to cloud service composition. Consumers will keep control over their Digital Sovereignty and ensure their trade secrets remain undisclosed.
A Consumer of a Data Asset in Gaia-X can be certain that the consumption takes place in a compliant way where transparency about the Provider is given. Therefore, the Self-Description and Certification of the Data Provider creates trust and transparency. Using existing standards for sovereign data sharing enables further trust and builds on established processes. Beyond that, defining search policies enables Consumers to set up specific criteria a potential Provider needs to fulfil. Gaia-X also eases the processing and offering of resulting products or services, so that it accompanies all following steps in the data value chain. Overall, Gaia-X lowers the entry barriers for Consumers of data by creating trust in data offerings. Data-related standards within and across domains make data more accessible and will leverage data sharing also for small and medium enterprises.
Consumer of Combined Service
Gaia-X offers the opportunity to combine different services and create bundles. Consumers of these bundles can be sure that all elements are Gaia-X compliant and that there is transparency about each involved actor. Consumers can also create service combinations themselves, by selecting suitable building blocks from a Catalogue. Here, the Catalogue and the Compliance levels offer the opportunity to make different building blocks comparable and visible.
Consumer of High-Performance Computing Services
As Gaia-X is open for a broad range of various Providers while at the same time being bound to strict Compliance rules, it provides the opportunity to address the area of high-performance computing. Especially the Federation Service of Identity Management provides benefits for this area: high-performance computing is often used in the academic sector with independent Identity federations on a national and international level. These are often not suitable for industrial applications, e.g. in form of consortia. Gaia-X could support such use cases by providing standards for service definitions as well as solutions to ensure interoperable service compositions which fit across sectors. Further, Gaia-X strives for easy access and the general fostering of a collaborative Ecosystem, which also benefits all stakeholders of the high-performance computing use cases. The Federated Catalogues make the availability of high-performance computing transparent and can enable even small businesses to have low access barriers.
End-User of Data and Cloud Services
The underlying Compliance and policy mechanisms enable the trust of End-Users in Gaia-X-based end-products or -services. This increases the willingness to use a new service or to expand its application. As Gaia-X refers to the infrastructure and underlying B2B-relations between different actors, the End-User will not necessarily recognize that a Service Instance is based on Gaia-X. The End-User also has not to be a Gaia-X Participant or undergo any Certification processes.
Federator Use Cases
Federator of a (domain-)specific Gaia-X Ecosystem
A Federator focusing on a domain-specific Ecosystem provides the Federation Services according to the specific needs of this domain. The Compliance to Gaia-X must be fulfilled and Federation Services should comply or even base on the open source Federation Service software. The domain-specific Ecosystem may comprise, for example, domain-specific Catalogues, additional trust mechanisms or requirements for data sharing.
Federator of a Gaia-X Ecosystem
A Ecosystem is given if all Federators comply to Gaia-X and the Federation Services fulfil certain criteria (e.g. interoperability verified by a testbed). In this case, any entity has the option to become a Participant and participate in such Ecosystem activities if they adhere to the Policy Rules.
Federator of an Ecosystem not federated by Gaia-X AISBL
Federators have the option to facilitate an ecosystem by using the available open source Federation Service software but being not officially compliant to Gaia-X. An Ecosystem may, for example, provide only a private Catalogue and set up own criteria for having access to the Ecosystem. Despite this kind of Ecosystem bases on Gaia-X technology, it cannot be called an official Gaia-X Ecosystem.
Gaia-X AISBL in the Federator role
The Gaia-X AISBL may enable and synchronize an Ecosystem. As it is not a separate entity in the conceptual model, it takes on the role as Federator in this case and has to comply with the Policy Rules and other Compliance mechanisms as well as any other Federator.
Basic Interactions of Participants
This section describes the basic interaction of the different Participants as described in the conceptual model (see section 2).
Providers and Consumers within a Ecosystem are identified and well described through their valid Self-Description, which is initially created before or during the onboarding process. Providers define their Service Offerings consisting of Assets and Resources by Self-Descriptions and publish them in a Catalogue. In turn, Consumers search for Service Offerings in Gaia-X Catalogues that are coordinated by Federators. Once the Consumer finds a matching Service Offering in a Gaia-X Catalogue, the Contract negotiation between Provider and Consumer determine further conditions under which the Service Instance will be provided. The AISBL does not play an intermediary role during the Contract negotiations but ensures the trustworthiness of Participants and Service Offerings.
The following diagram presents the general workflow for a Gaia-X service provisioning and consumption process. Note that this overview represents the current standings and may be subject to changes according to the Federation Services specification. The specification will provide more details about the different elements that are part of the concrete processes.
The Federation Services are visible in following objects: Data Sovereignty Services appear in the mutual agreement and execution of (Usage) Policies that are defined in a Contract and stick to the Data Asset.
Identity and Trust appears in the onboarding and ensures the unique identification of all Participants.
Compliance is also assured during the onboarding and appears as underlying continuous automated monitoring throughout the whole process.
The Federated Catalogue and the Self-Descriptions are the element that matches the Consumer with the Provider.
10 Basic Provisioning and Consumption Process