Dataspaces and the Connector Component
Since the concept of dataspaces is emerging and promise new capabilities to the data exchange between participants (organizations) in terms of data sovereignty, many may ask the question “when and why to use a connector component”.
In order to build up and participate in a dataspace it’s not enough to consider existing data transfer protocols. A common standard is needed for the ‘control plane’, i.e. for discovering, connecting, automated contract negotiation, policy enforcement, auditing. Dataspace connectors act as logical gatekeepers that sit within each participant’s infrastructure and communicate with each other.
When to use a Dataspace Connector
A connector should be used each time the controlling (legal) entity of the data changes. A Connector provides a generic way to express, negotiate, and document the rules under which data is shared, and also with whom. Not just in plain text but machine readable and enforceable.
Existing open-source projects address the technical challenges of cataloguing and transferring data for a wide range of use cases. However, there is no open-source effort aimed at providing an interoperable, cross-organization framework for data sharing that is built on a common identity model and uniform policy enforcement. This project will integrate with existing data exchange technologies and provide these missing pieces to create a system for data sharing where each organization is able to exert control over how its shared data is used.
About the Eclipse Dataspace Connector
A data-sharing system requires a protocol implementation for policy enforcement among participants. The Eclipse Dataspace Connector will implement the International Data Spaces standard (IDS) as well as relevant protocols and requirements associated with the Gaia-X and thereby provide implementation and feedback to these initatives. However, the connector will be extensible so that it can support alternative protocols.
Whatever the individual setup is — on-premises bare-metal, different cloud vendors, hybrid, even single end-user machines — the EDC can be customized to work within any environment at scale.
The connector’s added value is achieved through the separation of control and data plane, which enables a modular and thereby customizable way to build dataspaces. Due to common interfaces and mapping of existing standards, the connector adds capabilities of contract negotiating and policy handling in an interoperable manner.
Open, Community-driven and extensible
As an open source project hosted by the Eclipse Foundation, the Eclipse Dataspace Connector provides a growing list of modules for many widely-deployed cloud environments (AWS, Azure, GCP, OTC etc.) “out-of-the-box” and can easily be extended for more customized environments, while avoiding any intellectual property rights (IPR) headaches.
The most important facts about the Eclipse Dataspace Connector
- The EDC is completely FOSS supported by various companies
- The EDC (through Eclipse Foundation) has clear and accepted governance structure and community processes
- The EDC is more than connecting a database
- The EDC manages data transfer and flow inclusive management of contract and policy management in cloud-native environments
- The EDC follows a modular system to serve as facilitator
- Running code available on Github (s. Developer Resources)
- We welcome everyone to join the community, drive the idea of dataspaces, discuss requirements, and contribute
For more information, also check out the recordings of the EDC conference held on January 31, 2022. All sessions are available on the EDC YT channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw-f_YoTxWJU_quLpk9fGpq37gzvVZGc4