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Microsoft Gets Behind Eclipse Data Connector for B2B Collaborations

Microsoft on Tuesday described Eclipse Data Connector (EDC) progress, along with its efforts to align cross-organizational data-sharing needs with Europe-based privacy and security laws.

The "first operational implementation of EDC" was demonstrated late last month at the Gaia-X Hackathon in Munich, according to the announcement. EDC is an emerging open source data-sharing framework for organizations that promises to give them control over how data gets shared.

Technically, EDC is just "a plain Java application built with Gradle" that can be embedded in applications, according to its GitHub page description.

EDC is described by the Eclipse Foundation as conforming with International Data Spaces standards and Gaia-X project protocols. Gaia-X is an effort to create a "federated and secure data infrastructure" for sharing data and services in a decentralized way. Gaia-X consists of federation services, decentralized data spaces for data sharing, architectural standards for data usage and rules for governing services.

The Eclipse Foundation overseeing EDC is a European-based open source software development specifications body. It also oversees projects such as enterprise Java and the Eclipse integrated development environment. Last month, Microsoft signaled closer relations with The Eclipse Foundation by becoming a "Strategic Member."

EDC for Supply-Chain Data Sharing
EDC could make it easier for different organizations to share data, such as manufacturers working with supply-chain partners, explained Ulrich Homann, Microsoft's corporate vice president and Distinguished Architect for cloud and AI, in the announcement.

Homann offered two scenarios that EDC attempts to address:

Each company may want to share data, but how to do that across multiple clouds and on-premises systems while remaining respectful of data sharing policies as well as privacy and security laws? In addition, what identity management system can support data sovereignty and federation requirements?

EDC appears to be the solution Microsoft is backing toward that end. Homann also touted EDC's European origins as a plus.

"The fact that it [EDC] is a European solution, governed by a European open-source software foundation, and led by organizations committed to protecting European values is critical to its acceptance in the GAIA-X process," he wrote.

As for Gaia-X, it first kicked off in 2019 and expects to see version 1 of its Federation Services platform emerge in 2022, according to a timeline.

Decentralized Identities
On top of such business-to-business (B2B) data-sharing scenarios, Microsoft has a separate standards-based decentralized identities effort that aims to improve privacy. It was last mentioned in April with the preview of Azure Active Directory Verifiable Credentials.

The decentralized identity approach was highlighted this week by Joy Chik, corporate vice president for Microsoft Identity, in this post.

Chik outlined Microsoft's overall future goals of enabling zero-trust security with its identity efforts. She also envisioned a multicloud world that would embrace cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) principles, which helps with lifecycle and governance aspects. Lastly, she advocated for a decentralized identities model, making identities portable while also bestowing privacy controls.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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