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Federation as a Service (FaaS) Enabling NRENs to Operate an Identity Federation

As the demand of researchers and research projects increase as international collaboration becomes the norm, so does the need for NRENs to provide effective, secure Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructures (AAI).
By offering AAI, NRENs can provide essential value added services so that users can also take advantage of services and facilities offered by other NRENs. From ubiquitous eduroam® access to advanced cloud computing platforms such as ~Okeanos global, AAI is an essential enabler for collaboration.
Benefits across the community
It is not only individual research users that benefit from AAI. Service Providers can offer their services to a much wider audience making their platforms more cost-effective and Identity Providers can dramatically reduce their workload as they no longer need to maintain identities of temporary or visiting researchers and staff. With Users, Service Providers and Identity Providers all benefiting from AAI, NRENs, Large International Projects and Institutions need to be positioned to support these requirements.
Yet despite the benefits of AAI, nearly half of all GÉANT partners don’t yet have an Identity federation. This is not only restricting the ability of their users to gain access to services but could increase costs within the NREN.
FaaS – enabling NRENs to operate an identity federation
The development of a national Identity federation is not a trivial activity and GÉANT’s Federation as a Service (FaaS) task was created specially to help these NRENs and other groups. FaaS will support NRENs in building their Identity federations by providing and hosting federation management tools on behalf of the NREN. The FaaS provides Identity federation operators with tools to perform the registration of Identity and Service Providers, effective Metadata management and aggregation including integration with eduGAIN, secure Metadata signing and central Discovery Service. By providing these tools to the NRENs, they will be able to focus on building the Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructure in their region by supporting the development of Service Provider and Identity Provider in member institutions.
Quote: “AAI will become one of the key differentiators between NRENs and other network providers and its provision will aid the development of enhanced services to all users”   Valter Nordh.
How you can benefit from FaaS and help
Effective AAI can greatly benefit NRENs and is a unique value added service for NRENs to provide. FaaS is inviting NRENs to be at the forefront of this development by taking part in the workshop FaaS is organizing in October 2014, with more information soon to come. For more information on FaaS, please contact Valter Nordh at, or Marina Vermezović at