Page tree
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Trust and Identity Program Advisory Group Meeting - May 6, 2018

2 pm PT  Face-to-Face at Internet2 Global Summit


Action Items

  • Time/funding ramp (Kevin, Ann, Steve)

  • Identify funding sources, mix of InCommon and Internet2 membership fees

  • Figure out how to get the message out to those that aren’t in the room

  • Pose question to TIER Investors at meeting on 5/7: Was your investment worth it?

  • Decide what needs to be done to get through the next 5 yrs

  • Develop the Story

Attending: Michael Gettes, Ted Hanss, Klara Jelinkova, Mark Johnson, Mark Scheible, Ron Kraemer, Chris Phillips, Sean Reynolds, Melissa Woo

With: Ann West, Steve Zoppi, Kevin Morooney, Howard Pfeffer, Mike Zawacki

Internet2 CEO Howard Pfeffer joined the meeting for a discussion. In discussing the overall PAG structure, he said the Internet2 is challenged with different business models for different functions. Questions to ask for Trust and Identity - what is the community dependant on and what is the cost to maintain it?

Kevin said that the we have worked on a scatter plot of what it takes to do these things, but it is limited in scope to community-developed software. Two ways to look at it: Internet2 members that use the software, and non-members that also use the software. Currently considering adding program fees rather than membership fees (such as InCommon participation/member fees). What the software development program does and what the federation does are very different.


There was a general discussion about InCommon and some of the TIER components. Coments included:

  • Is it limiting to have engagement related to InCommon only at the Internet2 meetings? Would InCommon “build a bigger tent” with a different meeting strategy?

  • We should table the discussion of InCommon’s separate LLC structure. This may not be resolvable outside of a change in membership structure, and things are OK the way it is.

  • Grouper - there is nothing else like it, but more work is needed to educate the community on abilities and nuances of software

  • For all of the TIER components there are issues to address of support, engagement, and adoption

    • What is the story of value and integration supportability?

    • Right now, the value proposition is segmented. We could do a better job of explaining the different between commercial solutions and community solutions. It can’t just be about the technology, though, but differentiating, governance, integration

    • Support - people need to realize that if they need help, they will need to pay for it.

    • The value proposition should emphasize this is all about higher ed

  • The trust/identity framework provides significant value. It is built for and governed by higher ed and that is unique in the IAM space. We now need to put in place a supportable model. It is about delivering a platform, not individual products

Gap Analysis Revisited

Question: What happens if we do nothing post-TIER? What would give? We would have an allocation of $1.65 million from Internet2 membership fee allocations

The Model - Gap Analysis

  • Look at activities needed, resources required, and resources allocated

  • Spell out assumptions of quality, quantity, speed, and cost of labor.

  • For the TIER project, we predicted 60-95 FTEs, 176 hrs/month. Final analysis was 24-36 FTEs (currently about about 27 - most are community members). When TIER investment runs out what will those 27 people do? Most will be retasked. 20-30% of the 27 FTEs are contractors

What is the service gap of losing the TIER investment?

  • Kevin - mostly it will slow down development capacity.

  • What will happen to Grouper development?

    • Development will be “opportunistic,” with occasional discretionary spending but no ongoing revisions.

  • What percentage of the InCommon community is using Grouper and COmanage?

    • It is hard to say without doing a survey.

    • For Grouper, the last survey was more than five years ago. Based on a non-scientific snapshot of the email list membership and participation, we’ve had an increase of 50% or so, which would put Grouper at more than 170 institutions.

    • COmanage is still evolving, but have maybe 100 institutions that are either considering or deploying. Activity and interest in COmanage has increased since the TIER program started.

    • There is a high degree of intersection on Grouper and COManage usage. Both are also used in the EU, which is another consideration (particularly for funding purposes)

  • With $1.6 million, we would have 18-22 FTE  just doing maintenance). We would lose about 30% on “in kind” contributors. And we’d lose agency support. We also risk losing specific in-kind subject-matter experts

  • Federation services - Federation services need widespread community buy-in, but there is also a need to serve schools that don’t have the resources and/or expertise to deploy the services. What is InCommon’s role in this?

What is the acceptable point of resources/skills of workforce?

  • Rarity of needed skill sets means we need a long ramp-up time for hiring and/or developing expertise. To approach 90 FTEs, for example, we would need to onboard about 50 people, which would take about two-and-a-half years.

  • It would be helpful to build this time function into the larger analysis.

  • From an architectural point of view, what are the core pieces that need to be maintained? There are a number of variables. The needs of the community is changing and the candidate pool is aging out. The knowledge base in this area is rare. Losing architects means you lose their voice, which makes it easier for commercial providers to move in, many times with partial solutions or those that don’t meet the needs of R&S.

  • In general, Internet2 stakeholders don’t understand what it would cost if Internet2 didn't exist. In addition, smaller institutions mostly care about their RENs. Without Internet2 funding and managing resources, Grouper, COmanage and Shibboleth would all struggle to stay alive.

  • How do we get the message out? How do you build a story that resonates with others? How do we sell the value of Trust and Identity and related components? We need a common message. Marketing/sales - we’ve chosen to spend all available resources on development and sustainment. If we increase emphasis on selling we’ll also need to have strong support structures in place

  • Service providers are important but don’t evangelize or promote the value of federation and federating. We need to show them how to do it.

  • What other sources of funding might be out there?

    • We need to document the parameters for a funding request - how soon, how much money, a graph over a set number, and a corresponding story, about what is in it for those that provide funding. List of potential funders-

    • Need to create an outreach plan to get to the next outreach

    • Building sales capacity means adding more FTEs, or a shift in allocation of FTEs. In such a case, we may encourage greater community participation to keep development moving.

    • Need to understand the ramp and the funding sources

      • Funding sources- International, inCommon, Internet2 fees, charge for services, domestic contributions, philanthropy

      • Establish a new Internet2 membership fee

      • International sources probably won’t offer funding but could offer skills/labor

      • Grants?-  a lot of effort for not a lot of $$

      • If we increase fees need to be aware of FY19 budget deadlines

      • Options for additional revenue and fee increases:

        • Raise InCommon fees (potentially for the billing done in November 2018 for the 2019 calendar year). FYI, we received one complaint when fees were raised in 2016.

      • Raise Internet2 higher education fees to make up the gap

      • What are the revenue needs to reach 55 FTE? What would it take from InCommon and Internet2 members? We must develop and tell the value proposition before we ask for anything. Figure out what the number is, start socializing among community. Politics will likely determine the ratio of fee increases

      • Maybe bring up at the Internet2 board meeting in July. Have a funding/timing ramp over multiple years, explanation of which fees to raise and by how much, and details on any other funding sources.

      • We need to be open with the community that we’re building a program that will take us to the next level and beyond (5-year plan)

      • Possibly ask the question at TIER investor meeting tomorrow - was your TIER investment worth it?  

Other questions

      • What do smaller campuses need to know to get on board? What is the communication gap and what do they need to see?

      • Giving people the push to get away from the status quo

      • Still want to understand where additional funding will come from, and any communications needs around that might be (e.g. if we raise InCommon fees or institute new fees when/how do we start socialising that?)

Next Meeting - May 14

  • No labels