Skip to content

3. Product Overview

3.1 Product Perspective

The product is divided in several modules, which enable a standardized IAM system integration to operate and exchange identity and identity data within the Gaia-X environment and trust framework.

The modules form altogether the IAM SSI Adoption Shell, which encapsulates the functionality needed for SSI-based interactions and protocols, translating them into flows and data formats understandable by the Standard IAM. The main components of this shell are the SSI OIDC Broker and the SSI IAT Provider which support the SSI based user login and the SSI based dynamic client registration.

To visualize the product’s cooperation, the functionality was drawn in the figure below (Figure 1) as an ArchiMate cooperation view together with the business process of user login and client registration.


Figure 1: Sketch of the Functional Overview of the SSI Adoption Shell

As seen in Figure 2, the target of the product is to adopt an existing IAM by adding SSI based modules to the standard OpenID Connect and OAuth2 compliant IAM. The expected behavior for end users and applications is described as the following:


Figure 2: Sketch of the Behavior of the SSI Adoption Shell

Figure 2 shows that the additional modules have a hard connection to the SSI based application backend which must work as a kind of SSI sidecar for the standard IAM. All actions by the user or by any Back end is triggered in this direction.

The interaction of the product in this direction must be exclusively over standard internet HTTPS protocol calls.

3.2 Product Functions

Authentication and Authorization components are anchored into the big picture of the IAM architecture for Architecture ducument and form together a core Gaia-X IAM building block.


Figure 3: Product Functions

The core functions are:

  • SSI based Issuing of Initial Access Tokens (IAT)
  • SSI based Login

Both functions are realized with a backchannel authentication which is triggered over the trust services API. This API provides a stateless policy evaluation API which connects the relevant back-channel authentication points over HTTP in the background. The API delivers all information which has to be proofed on the client side over the backchannel. This is inspired by the principle of OpenID Connect Client Initiated Backchannel Authentication OIDC.CIBA[^1]. The user agents have in this case to poll to evaluate the login state of their action by a kind of ticket ID. Pull and Ping flows are out of scope. In both cases the users have to trigger the proof over the backchannel, or the proof is timed out.

  • Other functions like DID SIOP [^2] can follow in the future if the specification is done by the OpenID foundation. [^1]:N. Sakimura, J. Bradley, M. Jones, B. de Medeiros, C. Mortimore. (2014), OpenID Connect Core 1.0 incorporating errata set 1. <( )> [^2]:K. Yasuda, M. Jones, T. Lodderstedt. (2022), Self-Issued OpenID Provider v2. <(>

3.3 Product Constraints

⏩ IDM.AA.00001 The document IDM.AO is the common basis for this functional specification

The architecture document IDM.AO is an essential part of this specification and a prerequisite for understanding the context. The specifications and requirements from the Architecture Document MUST be considered during implementation. ⏪

3.4 User Classes and Characteristics

User Class Description Frequency Expertise Privilege Level Product Usage
Administrator The administrator installs the product and configures it in the existing IAM system. Low High High Maintenance
External Users External users are using the product for login. High Low Low SSI Based Login
External APIs External APIs can use the product to authenticate via SSI to obtain an IAT for client registration. Low High Low SSI Based Client Registration

Table 2: User Classes and Characterstics

3.5 Operating Environment

⏩ IDM.AA.00002 TLS Protected Endpoints

To protect the product endpoint(s), it’s necessary to support a network infrastructure e.g., load balancers/proxies which MUST support TLS encryption. The encryption MUST meet the requirements listed in the chapter for security requirements. ⏪

⏩ IDM.AA.00003 NTP Server on Stratum Level

The product MUST be operated within an environment connected to a trusted stratum level 2/3 NTP Server. ⏪

3.6 Assumptions and Dependencies

The main assumptions behind this SSI adoption shell are that the shell is running in the same security domain as the standard OIDC compatible IAM system. All components MUST be built on top of the OAuth2 RFC67491 and OIDC standard OIDC.Core.

An understanding of the overall Gaia-X architecture and philosophy is necessary. Please refer to the Architecture ducument.

3.7 Apportioning of Requirements

All Features have to be delivered in the first version.

  1. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) (2012), The OAuth 2.0 Authorization Framework. <(>