Technical Agreements

This section of the Rulebook describes the technical arrangements required to implement an IDS-based data room. The IDS Rulebook specifies what is mandatory and what is optional to implement but keep some freedom how to realize these concepts (see also the section on the goals of IDS in the IDS RAM).

IDSA Magic Triangle

The technical agreements of the IDS-framework consist of the Reference Architecture Model (RAM) that provides a technology-independent perspective and the technology-specific specification on IDS-G. The two provide guidance to create the required components. The certification scheme including the certification criteria and the IDS-testbed helps validate compliance with the RAM and the specification. This is IDSA's so-called magic triangle, which is extended with the portfolio of open-source building blocks, such as commercial solutions that are certified but not mandatorily available as FOSS. The Rulebook itself provides a frame for the magic triangle by describing the overarching concept of data spaces.

The mentioned IDSA assets have a defined release time to ensure consistency between them. In general, an IDS asset can be released after approval by the IDSA working groups and final approval by the technical steering committee. To achieve reliability for industrial use of the IDS assets, major releases that contain fundamental changes may be conducted once per year. For more details see the table below.

AssetMajor releasesApproving body


Second quarter of a year

Working group architecture

IDS-G specifications

Fourth quarter of a year

Working group architecture

Certification scheme

Second quarter of a year

Working group certification

IDS-reference testbed

Fourth quarter of a year

Working group certification

IDSA Rulebook

Third quarter of a year

Working group Rulebook

IDS Reference Architecture Model (RAM)

Data sharing is essential for data-driven business ecosystems, as is the need for data sovereignty. The IDS Reference Architecture Model (IDS-RAM) defines fundamental concepts for sovereign data sharing. The IDS-RAM focuses on the general concepts, functions, and processes involved in creating a secure network of trusted data. It resides at a higher abstraction level than common architecture models of concrete software solutions. The document provides an overview supplemented by dedicated architecture specifications that define the individual components of the IDS.

The model consists of five layers: The business layer specifies the different roles that the participants can assume, and it specifies the main activities and interactions connected with each of these roles. The functional layer defines the functional requirements of the IDS, plus the concrete features to be derived from them. The process layer specifies the interactions between the different components of the IDS. It provides a dynamic view of the RAM. The information layer defines a conceptual model that describes both the static and the dynamic aspects of the IDS constituents using data linkage principles. The system layer addresses the decomposition of the logical software components, considering aspects such as integration, configuration, deployment, and extensibility of these components.

Across all five layers, three perspectives need to be implemented: security, certification, and governance. The security perspective defines the common security measures for the IDS and the concepts for data usage control. The certification perspective describes the IDS Certification scheme as a foundation in the IDS. The governance perspective describes the responsibilities of roles in the IDS.

The current version of the IDS-RAM that forms the basis for this Rulebook is V4.

IDS specifications on IDS-G

IDS-G provides specifications and further documentation from IDSA to the public. While the RAM is technology independent, the specifications on IDS-G describe the binding of the RAM to technological concepts and focus on documentation and specifications for IDS based solutions. IDS-G's main branch is stable and therefore the reliable foundation for the development and maintenance of IDS-based solutions. It is maintained under the umbrella of the IDSA technical steering committee.

Additionally, IDS-G provides access to the IDSA open source projects. Currently, the following open source projects are available:

  • IDS information model

More open source projects will be set up by the IDSA technical steering committee in the future.

The specifications in IDS-G distinguish between four different aspects:

  • Components: The framework for implementing IDS components as derived from the business layer in the RAM and described in the system layer, including the use of certain technologies and standards.

  • Communication: The interaction and communication of the IDS components requires a clear specification to achieve interoperability. The communication section distinguishes between messages and message types and the interaction sequences between the components and related state machines to keep the interaction synchronized. Based on these two aspects bindings to technologies are derived.

  • Information model: The IDS information model provides fundamental concepts to describe data products based on the IDS core concepts and fundamental standards DCAT for data assets and ODRL for contract policies.

  • Usage control: Usage control is a fundamental mechanism in IDS. This section describes the usage contracts and how they can be realized in IDS Connectors.

The IDS-G specifications are available via GitHub.

IDS Certification

The IDS Certification is a perspective in the IDS-RAM and its approach is described in detail in the IDS Certification scheme (general structure, operational structure, and maintenance of the certification criteria).

While the certification scheme and the documents listed above describe the formal aspects of IDS Certifications, the IDS testbed provides the tools and technological basis for evaluating the IDS core components.

IDS testbed (interoperability test)

Evaluation facilities for components conduct the evaluations that ensure a correct implementation of the IDS specifications and an adequate level of security in the components. Ensuring a comparable quality of all evaluations is necessary to make the certification reliable with its different security and assurance levels.

This includes:

  • All evaluation facilities conduct transparent conformance tests in the „IDS reference testbed" based on the regulations from the certification working group and approved by the IDSA technical steering committee.

  • All evaluation facilities assess compliance with the security requirements listed in the IDS criteria catalog based on tests derived from the criteria. Tests that can be conducted automatically are part of the test suite of the IDS-testbed.

  • The evaluation facilities issue a certificate when conformance and security tests are passed.

  • To ensure that the evaluation facilities conduct the evaluations according to the specifications, the certification body must assess their competence.

Ensuring interoperability between the components is one important aspect of the evaluation and covered by the test suite provided.

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