CTAB Minutes for Sept. 6, 2022


  • David Bantz, University of Alaska (chair)  
  • Jon Miner, University of Wisc - Madison (co-chair)    
  • Pål Axelsson, SUNET  
  • Richard Frovarp,  North Dakota State  
  • Mike Grady, Liaison from CACTI to CTAB   
  • Eric Goodman, UCOP - InCommon TAC Representative to CTAB  
  • Andy Morgan, Oregon State University   
  • Rick Wagner, UCSD   
  • Robert Zybeck, Portland Community College  
  • Johnny Lasker, Internet2  
  • Albert Wu, Internet2 
  • Emily Eisbruch, Internet2 


  • Sarah Borland, University of Nebraska 
  • Ercan Elibol, Florida Polytechnic University 
  • Dave Robinson, Grinnell College in Iowa, InCommon Steering Rep, ex-officio
  • Meshna Koren, Elsevier 
  • Chris Whalen, Research Data and Communication Technologies 
  • Jule Ziegler,  Leibniz Supercomputing Centre 
  • Tom Barton, Internet2, ex-officio 
  • Kevin Morooney, Internet2 
  • Ann West, Internet2 


Working group updates

  • Entity Categories Working Group (R&S 2.0)
    • Next meeting is Thursday 9/8
  • InCommon TAC - Did not meet
  • SIRTFI Exercise Working Group
    • About 12 institutions will participate in the upcoming exercise
    • Components Architecture Group is working on a new charter.
    • Strategic investments for the future discussion with Steve Z.

Internet2 Technology Exchange   

Federation Challenges and Futures Discussion

Looking ahead in the Federation’s immediate future, what do you, as a “federation insider”, need to solve?

What are the “pain points” of providing scalable trusted access to information resources?  
What are SP, IdP, and Federation Standards exigencies?


  • Services we are proving through InCommon, Federation and Trusted Access Platform are challenged by changes at the institutions
  • Executives are often looking to find a commercially vended solution
  • That excludes InCommon Trusted Access Platform (TAP) software and sidelines the  InCommon Federation 
  •  RFP for Identity Governance and IGA solution is vendor selected at Oregon State University.
    • Goal is to replace homegrown Perl scripts, etc. 
    • Might still run Grouper on top of the chosen solution, thanks to Grouper’s features (set math).
    • Ability to manage groups for which there is not  a data source from HR.   
    • Will switch to Azure SSO, will run Federation adapter format. 
    • Still intend to participate in federation.
    • Does not make sense to run SSO and Shiboleth.
    • Will contract with  Cirrus Identity for gateway.
    • Hope to centralize access policy.
    • Could be accomplished with InCommon Trusted Access Platform (TAP), but that requires staffing and knowledge.  
  •  Unicon has found that some clients are open to the InCommon Trusted Access Platform (TAP)  and others are not. 
    • Unicorn works with  institutions of various sizes. 
    • For many institutions research is not a big driver. 
    • Hard to get all SPs to join InCommon (this would make metadata management easier). 
  • Albert:  regional networks are interested in the federation model. They want to leverage federal funding  to access regional resources ( interschool shared courses). 
  • Comment: hosted and out of box IDM and SSO  and gateway are probably more likely as we look to the future, especially for smaller and non-research institutions.  They want turn-key
  • How to make it simple for institutions to participate in InCommon federation?
    • Smaller institutions and many departments at various institutions have lost staff.
    • IDP as a service can be helpful
  • Challenge in the North Dakota system with multiple colleges.
  • NDSU has adopted InCommon Trusted Access Platform (TAP) since the staff can customize it to meet needs.
  • Comment:  Getting a campus (or group) all under one identity umbrella can encourage a push towards commercial vendors because it allows a single, internally managed transition. There are discussions on a UC system-wide IDM system, but if InCommon federation was more seamless, would we need a single IAM system?
  • Lack of (useful) common profile information is a blocker beyond just the technical integration layer.
    • Different campuses populate “standard” eduperson attributes differently. In the end,  email address, name and an identifier are frequently all that are reliable.
    • (Aside) Makes Azure look like (arguably) as good a solution as InCommon-based fed, since our InCommon-based federation isn’t making good use of InCommon/SAML-style federation’s flexibility.  We need to solve for organizations that are more tightly bound together than a Virtual Organization but less monolithic than a single IDP.  
  • If we had common naming, and we did not have the evolution of the identifiers, then InCommon could curate Shibboleth UI . There is limited use of eduperson attributes. At the edges you run into problems.
  • More baseline expectations may not be the answer for increasing trust. More “you must” will not get broader adoptions
  • Comment:  worked previously at EDUCAUSE.  There was no designated IAM staff. There were struggles with SSO. Partnering with Cirrus Identity was very helpful
  •  there are different ways the federation is used, such as 
  •      1) Multilateral and
  •      2) Convenient way to exchange bilateral metadata. 
  • Pal: cannot use American cloud services in Europe due to legislation
    •   Commercial providers must surrender user info if American authorities demand it
    •   Some are moving out of the cloud.  Denmark example: it’s illegal to use any cloud service in the USA
    •   K12 use case,  Europeans must not use Google productivity applications. A European cloud service would be acceptable.
    •  Movement toward Microsoft solutions
  •     Seeing more and more “killer” services being used

Baseline Expectation v2 update

  • Albert getting ready to send out notices to commercial SPs that no one has “picked up” for additional outreach.

Next CTAB call: Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, (Jon will chair that meeting)



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