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Identity federation in France : the Fédération Éducation-Recherche

The Fédération Éducation-Recherche is a national technical infrastructure designed to meet the identity federation needs of the french higher education and research community.

This infrastructure is based on a SAML2 data exchange standard and allows the interconnection of dedicated technical components installed within the information systems of the participating institutions:

  • Identity providers connected to the institutions' user repositories;
  • Service providers that protect web resources/applications;
  • An additional component called Discovery Service or WAYF that allows users to be redirected to their home institution identity provider.

The identity and service provider components are registered by the organisations themselves through the federation registry managed by RENATER. The information related to these components are then technically collected and aggregated in an XML file describing them: the metadata file of the federation. It is an XML file build and signed electronically by RENATER.

It is a distributed architecture: participants install the technical components within their information system. These components then exchange directly with each other without any implication of RENATER's technical components. RENATER is responsible for the distribution of metadata and certain configuration files (like attribute filters) that may be used by the institutions identity providers.

This infrastructure is, as suggested by its name, limited to the education and research community:

  • Institutions having an agreement with RENATER or in the area of education or research may operate an identity provider;
  • Any institutions operating in this same area can offer educational or collaborations resources, this also includes private for-profit institutions.

The Fédération Éducation-Recherche is managed by RENATER. As federation operator, RENATER collects (through the federation registry) the technical data of the various providers (identity and service) and then generates and signs the federation metadata file describing these same providers. At the same time, the federation operator ensures compliance with the federation trust framework (materialized by federation charters and technical framework), regularly updates the recommendations and adds technical documents to support the institutions.

The Fédération Éducation-Recherche is governed by two documents defining a set of common rules. These two documents are separate but nevertheless complementary:

These two documents therefore establish the common rules and practices that the participating institutions of the Fédération Éducation-Recherche undertake to respect. It is therefore a common foundation that any participating institution must apply and can expect in return its application.

  • federation/en/introduction/la-federation-education-recherche/index.txt
  • Dernière modification : 2023/12/22 17:45
  • de olivier.lumineau@renater.fr