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  • Gaia-X was initiated to enable a secure, open, and sovereign use of data. In this way, self-determined decisions can be made on how and where data is stored, processed, and used within the data infrastructure. Gaia-X is characterised by the following core elements:

    • We want to create the next generation of data infrastructure for Europe, its states, its companies, its citizens, and its global partners.
    • This infrastructure needs to meet the highest standards in terms of digital sovereignty and foster innovation. We regard this infrastructure as the cradle of an ecosystem, where data and services can be made available, collected, and shared in an environment of trust.
    • The concept focuses on the precise needs of users and the added benefit as presented by the use cases.
    • The existing concepts will be regarded as a proposal to Europe. We are pursuing this path alongside other European partners and in cooperation with the European Commission.
  • This page shall explore and clarify 6 main questions frequently asked about Gaia-X:

    • What the association shall be and does
    • What is sovereignty and the relationship with institutions
    • What is the relationship between Gaia-X and extra-European Operators, in particular Hyperscalers
    • Role in the context of IPCEI, RRF and of other public funding initiatives
    • Data spaces objectives and deliverables within Gaia-X
    • Role of the Hubs and relationship with Gaia-X

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  • There are three reasons why we need Gaia-X:

    1. Data availability: We need a trustworthy, secure, and transparent data infrastructure to exchange and process data. This is how we can use the economies of scale created by the availability of large data sets in Europe.

    2. Innovation: We need a digital ecosystem that allows developing innovative products and helps European companies and business models scale up and be globally competitive. Gaia-X provides the basis for this.

    3. Data sovereignty: Existing cloud offerings are currently dominated by non-European providers. They are able to rapidly scale their infrastructure and hold significant market power and large amounts of capital. At the same time, we are seeing growing international tensions and trade conflicts globally. Europe needs to ensure that it can establish and maintain digital sovereignty permanently.

  • Gaia-X aims to create standards, foster software communities and facilitate the creation of data spaces. Therefore, Gaia-X focuses on three outcomes:

    • Architecture specifications describe the functionalities of Gaia-X and provide conformity criteria.
    • Open-source software code to ensure an open implementation of federation services and further enable an open-source community.
    • Instruments of certification including methods and tools for conformance testing and certification of services.
  • The Gaia-X organisational structure is built on three pillars: the Gaia-X Association, the national Gaia-X Hubs and the Gaia-X Community. Within these, there are various working groups and committees. The exchange within the pillars, and towards other stakeholders (e.g., EU Commission, international initiatives) is ensured.

  • The Gaia-X Association is an international non-profit association under Belgian Law (French: association internationale sans but lucrative, in short: AISBL). It aims to develop regulatory frameworks, ensure that necessary services are made available, consolidate, and facilitate the work and collaboration within the Gaia-X community, represent the members of Gaia-X and promote international cooperation.

  • The Gaia-X Hubs act as the voices of user ecosystems at a national level. They aim to develop ecosystems, bundle national initiatives, and provide a central contact point to interested parties in their respective countries. All Gaia-X Hubs are in close exchange with each other to ensure international alignment about their activities, defining requirements, and identifying regulatory hurdles. The network of Gaia-X Hubs will support the growth of a dynamic ecosystem from a bottom-up approach, from a national level to a European and international level.

  • Gaia-X will foster and support an open-source software community, whereby all contributors are invited to participate. The Gaia-X Community collaborates on a common platform based on defined work packages. Both members and non-members work together side-by-side, both from the user and provider perspectives.

  • In general, the term ‘data space’ refers to a type of data relationship between trusted partners, with each applying the same high standards and rules to the storage and sharing of their data. However, of key importance to the data space concept is that data are not centrally stored, and are therefore only shared (via semantic interoperability) when necessary. In the Gaia-X context, the data in the data spaces are held exclusively by the members of the Association.

    A data space is comprised of the sum of all its participants, composed of data providers, users, and intermediaries. Data spaces can be nested and overlapping, so that a data provider, for example, can participate in several data spaces all at once. Data sovereignty and trust are essential for the working of data spaces and the relationships between participants. To ensure these, the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA), a founding member of the Gaia-X Association, has proposed a reference architecture model for participants. Each data space provides specific data that forms a solid ground for each ecosystem. The software required to implement data spaces runs on cloud/edge cloud infrastructures. 

  • An international team of more than 1800 participants from over 350 institutions are working together to make Gaia-X possible. Established large companies rub shoulders with young start-ups. Numerous cloud solution providers collaborate with representatives from a wide range of industries, from the manufacturing sector, finance and transport and mobility alike. Moreover, participation is broad: state institutions, associations and research institutes are also taking part in this large-scale project, alongside the private sector. This helps to avoid the possibility that only very specific problems are solved, or that solutions are developed in isolation.

    Gaia-X is open to new interested parties to develop it further. Everyone can get involved in a way that best suits their needs. For instance, they can contribute with their technical expertise, suggest new use cases or actively and continuously participate in open working groups.

  • Gaia-X is defined by openness and transparency. Henceforth, Gaia-X remains open for new European interested parties to join and contribute. Participation in Gaia-X is also possible for market participants outside Europe who share our goals of data sovereignty and data availability. The latest comfort letter provides further information in this direction.

  • In general, there are three ways to get involved:

    1. Represent the project as an AISBL member.

    2. Contribute to the national Gaia-X Hubs.

    3. Participate in Gaia-X Community.

  • Europe and its member states already operate many initiatives that create relevant foundations for Gaia-X. These include for example codes of conduct, rules, standards or community building. Gaia-X is not a greenfield project – it will build on such existing results and activities. This openness to national and European initiatives with similar objectives as Gaia-X gives the project a strong momentum for joint European cooperation. Building upon existing solutions and their further development, we want to launch competitive offers from Europe out onto the world market.

  • The project can be seen as a proposal addressed to Europe. The system is designed to be open and not bound by national borders. We want to pursue this path with partners from Europe and are in communication with other countries, the EU Commission and international companies and organisations. Against this background, efforts are already underway and an intensive dialogue with the Commission is taking place to align the European cloud federation and Gaia-X and make these a success as part of the European data strategy. In its data strategy, the Commission announced that it ‘will foster synergies between the work on European cloud federation and Member States’ initiatives such as Gaia-X’. In addition, a large number of countries have already joined Gaia-X and established a national Gaia-X Hubs. In parallel, the AISBL is in very close exchange with further countries in order to develop a thriving Gaia-X network across Europe.

  • The Gaia-X Compliance is the set of automatable rules that enforce, for a given entity of the Gaia-X Conceptual model, mainly Participants or Service Offering, the same level of verified descriptive information. From a technical point of view, the Gaia-X Compliance result is a Verifiable Credential.

  • GXFS stands for Gaia-X Federations Services, and this is the Gaia-X toolbox to create interoperable ecosystems following Gaia-X Reference Architecture. GXFS is a Gaia-X deliverable.

  • The GXFS specifications are being developed in the Federation Services Working Group.

  • No. Please check the ‘What is Gaia-X Compliance?’ and ‘What are GXFS?’ questions.

  • The Gaia-X compliance can be obtained for a Self-Description file by submitting the file to an instance of the Gaia-X Compliance Service.

  • The first Gaia-X Compliance Service instance is planned for Q4 2021.

  • An Ecosystem is an independent group of Participants that directly or indirectly consume, produce, or provide services, such as data, storage, computing, network services, including combinations of them. Further details can be checked in the Gaia-X Architecture Document glossary.

  • To be regularly kept up-to-date about Gaia-X activities, please subscribe to the Gaia-X newsletter here. In addition, regular Information Web Seminars are offered to future and potential new members. Please register for one of the upcoming events here. Further information can be found on the Gaia-X website. The publications section provides an overview of published papers.

  • If you have further questions, please use our contact form.