September 29, 2022

Coverbild für das Inside 3


As a Europe-wide initiative, Gaia-X attracts a lot of attention. However, the structure of Gaia-X, its aspects and related sub-projects often pose a challenge for interested parties. With the format “Inside Gaia-X”, Plattform Industrie 4.0 and Gaia-X Hub Austria help Austrian companies and organizations to get or keep an overview. The follow-up reports can be found here and here respectively.

At the 3rd Inside Gaia-X event, the focus was on the “Gaia-X Federation Services” (GXFS). To explain what these services are and how to use them, Andreas Weiss and Vivien Witt from the German eco Association of the Internet Industry were guests in Vienna and in the virtual room.


Gaia-X is a European idea initiated from Germany and France in 2019. Central to Gaia-X is its technical architecture. This is constantly being worked on in the Gaia-X AISBL, and in April 2022 the sixth and currently current version of the architecture was published. The Gaia-X architecture also describes the “Gaia-X Federation Services”, abbreviated as GXFS.

The GXFS are jointly defined software building blocks that are required for collaboration in line with the Gaia-X idea. In a first step, the GXFS are to ensure four functionalities which, taken together, are to enable Gaia-X-compliant data exchange:

  • Identity & Trust: The GXFS are to ensure the identity of cooperating organizations and companies.
  • Federated Catalogue: The GXFS are intended to make the offerings of cooperating partners (within a “federation”, see below) discoverable and interoperable.
  • Sovereign Data Exchange: The GXFS are to ensure control over the exchange of data and the implementation of rules in the case of cooperation.
  • Compliance: the GXFS should ensure access and rights during data exchange and compliance with commonly agreed rules and regulatory requirements.

The Gaia-X AISBL working groups define the basic specifications and rules of collaboration in federated ecosystems. Thus, the AISBL influences the functionalities and requirements that the individual software building blocks must adhere to.


Financial and human resources are required for software development. Part of the GXFS are developed directly in the Gaia-X AISBL (e.g. compliance). Another part of the GXFS is developed since 2020 through grants in Germany and France.

In Germany (GXFS-DE), the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) has commissioned the eco association to coordinate the development of specifications and open source code. Within the scope of this commissioning, a basic set of software building blocks has been developed that are needed to put a Gaia-X federation into operation (i.e., for Gaia-X-compliant data exchange).


Since January 2021, the various project partners have been developing the required software modules. The current status of development can be accessed via the GitLab platform. The already developed GXFS software building blocks can now be used by companies and organizations to pilot a Gaia-X compliant data exchange. A description of the available software building blocks can be found in the “GXFS Toolbox”.

Among others, the following software building blocks have been developed as part of the German GXFS project:

  • an authentication & authorization service: this service enables the request of credentials and identity attributes as well as the control over data sharing within a cooperating group of organizations (“federation”)
  • a credential manager for individuals and for organizations: this “wallet” for individuals or organizations in a federation enables the deposit and management of credentials and their issuers.
  • Tools for the creation, visualization and validation of the self-descriptions of services: these can be searched, selected and observed through a “federated catalog”.
  • Services for data exchange: for obtaining consent for the respective data exchange as well as for the conclusion of contracts, and for logging data use and transfer
  • Tools for compliance within a federation: these include validation and documentation of the inclusion and accreditation of participants, resources and services, as well as continuous automatic monitoring (ENISA EUCS Cloud Services Scheme, verification level “High”) and a notarization service

Austrian companies can also use the software developed so far to set up a Gaia-X federation. The described software building blocks can be implemented for this purpose via Kubernetes at different cloud computing providers. The portal and the orchestration service should be emphasized. These are provided to give participants in a federation user-friendly access to the potential software offerings within a federation with the aid of a web client.


The development of the GXFS software building blocks is not yet complete. Gitlab allows interested parties to stay informed and participate in the development themselves. Subsequently, the transfer of the code to the Eclipse Foundation is planned. In addition, eco and its project partners offer different ways to stay informed about the project progress: the GXFS website, the GXFS blog or the GXFS newsletter help.

The Gaia-X YouTube channel provides further information. Especially the “Deep Dives” allow very detailed insights into the GXFS work packages:


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A general overview of the various components of the entire Gaia-X project has recently been provided by the “Gaia-X Framework”. This shows all relevant documents and their relationship to each other. The GXFS toolbox is also represented in it. The Gaia-X Framework also makes it possible to find out when individual components of the project were published or which working groups were or are involved.


We would like to thank Andreas Weiss and Vivien Witt for the insights!

The Industrie 4.0 platform is continuously working on further activities and events on Gaia-X. If you would like to stay informed about this, please feel free to contact

© Text by Plattform 4.0