Gaia-X Participant Use Cases
The goal of this section is to illustrate how the Consumers, Federators and Providers described in the conceptual model can appear. Therefore, different actors are considered in the role of Consumer and Provider. This 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 have 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 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) providers. The deployment model explicitly includes private clouds, public clouds, edge and hybrid clouds. As standardization is crucial to achieve 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, Data Sovereignty Services offer the capacity to provide Data Assets with attached usage control mechanisms. This means that data service provisioning and data usage monitoring are enabled. Furthermore, the Consumer can also define Policies, which present obligations for the Provider. This could, as an example, mean that only data obtained within 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 to provide their services to a broad mass of Gaia-X stakeholders following certain Compliance regulations and standards, but also provide 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. Among 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 Gaia-X standards 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 to a single Provider. 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. Furthermore, other customized services may appear, based upon cloud service composition. Consumers will keep control over their Digital Sovereignty and ensure that 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 which 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. Specifically, Federation Services with Identity Management provide tangible benefits in this area: high-performance computing is often used in the academic sector with independent Identity federations on national and/or international levels. These are not often suitable for industrial applications, e.g., in the 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 span sectors. Furthermore, Gaia-X strives to facilitate 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 lower barriers to entry.
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 does not have 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 with, or be based upon, open source Federation Services software. The domain-specific Ecosystem may include, for example, domain-specific Catalogues, additional trust mechanisms or requirements for data sharing.
Federator of a Gaia-X Ecosystem
A GAIA-X Ecosystem is approved if all Federators comply to GAIA-X Policy Rules, and 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 Services software but may not be officially compliant with Gaia-X Policy Rules. An Ecosystem may, for example, provide only a private Catalogue and set up its own criteria for having access to the Ecosystem. Despite this kind of Ecosystem based on Gaia-X Policy Rules and Services, it cannot be called an official Gaia-X Ecosystem.
Gaia-X Association AISBL in the Federator role
The Gaia-X Association 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 must comply with the Policy Rules and other Compliance mechanisms, just as any other Federator is required to do.
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 Gaia-X association AISBL does not play an intermediary role during the Contract negotiations but ensures the trustworthiness of all relevant Participants and Service Offerings.
The following diagram presents the general workflow for Gaia-X service provisioning and consumption processes. Please note that this overview represents the current situation 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 the following objects:
Data Sovereignty Services appear in the mutual agreement and execution of (Usage) Policies that are defined in a Contract and concern the Data Asset.
Identity and Trust appears in the onboarding process and ensures the unique identification of all Participants.
Compliance is also assured during the onboarding and is subject to the underlying continuous automated monitoring throughout the lifecycle.
The Federated Catalogue and the Self-Descriptions details the elements that match Consumers with Providers.
10 Basic Provisioning and Consumption Process