Purpose of the Federation
The federation serves the common interests of Home Organisations and Resource / Service Providers. It takes on the following tasks:
- Drawing up contracts
- Establishment and maintenance of guidelines (policies)
- Operating a central Discovery Service
- Metadata management
- Support in case of technical problems
- Training for its members
Contracts guarantee the federation members that only organisations are admitted that comply with certain criteria. There are two different types of contracts:
- For Home Institutions / Identity Providers
- For Resource / Service Providers
Establishment and Maintenance of Guidelines
Another task of the federation is the definition of guidelines (policies) and compliance checks. The guidelines and contracts establish a trust relationship between the members of the federation and allow for a common position towards potential new partners.
Metadata is the technical representation of the federation. All (technical) entities operated by the members of the federation are registered with the metadata, which the federation validates and maintains. A local copy of this metadata is kept with every entity and has to be updated at least once a day.
Central Discovery Service
The federation gathers all operation-critical information (URLs of authentication and authorisation servers, certificates, ...) within a central registry. This registry provides the basis for the central Discovery Service, which enables the users to select their Home Organisation.
The federation provides support with installation and configuration of the necessary software components.
Training is necessary to familiarise the members with the underlying technologies, concepts and standards, and to introduce new developments. Since the introduction of SAML-based Single Sign On technologies also implies changes in working routine (e.g. user management), the training also covers these issues and offers solution approaches.