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This page is about SURF Research Access Management (SRAM), a service to manage access to research resources, intended for Dutch led research collaborations. It takes away the hassle to create and manage user accounts in services. On the left side of this page, you can find an index of the contents of this wiki.

SRAM in 2 minutes

This animation explains the basic concept of SRAM:

So we make creating and managing accounts in services researchers want to use, a lot easier, faster and more secure.

Where to start/go

SRAM can be of value for several parties. Below we describe per involved party some of the problems they face, which SRAM solves. You can click a role to go to a role specific page about SRAM:

  • Researchers:
    • often need to wait far too long and/or need to jump through many hoops before being able to access the infrastructure they need to access to conduct their research. The time they need to spend on arranging access, means less time is left over for actual research.
  • Research collaborations:
    • spend a lot of project time and resources on infrastructure- and access management
    • have to work with limited assurance about identities and whether they are (still) working for the institution that grants them access to data and resources
    • need to reinvent the wheel of secure access management on a per project basis
    • struggle with complying to the GDPR and to supply sufficient logging, strong authentication etc
  • Research resources/services (either offered by institutions or more generic services like the national supercomputer, commercial cloud offerings etc):
    • spend a considerable amount of time and resources on setting up and managing access
    • have to do with less assurance about the identity of collaborating researchers than they would like
    • have limited possibilities to know when access should be revoked, leading to situations where people keep having access while they shouldn't ("does person X still work at institution Y and therefor should still have access?")
  • Institutions
    • struggle to monitor whom of their researchers are involved in what projects, have access to what resources and is processing data on what infrastructure
    • lots of people are involved in granting and managing access, and in case the institution is supplying a resource that needs access, often new local (zero hour) accounts are created, which are rather expensive, cumbersome, often count towards normal office licenses that are now being paid for multiple times as the researchs home organisation has already paid for office licenses etc
  • Research financing bodies:
    • since quite a lot of energy and time is spend on setting up and managing secure access to resources, every project again, less money is spent on actual research, so research projects deliver less results than possible.

By offering a standards based 'building block', 'access-as-a-service-for-researchers', all of the above is improved, enabling more time and money spent on research, delivering more research results per euro/dollar/...

Click on one of the links above to read how you can get involved and start using SRAM for better and more secure access!

Conceptual overview of SRAM

SRAM is building upon lots of well established and proven building blocks for identity management and research, is using international (open) standards where possible (like the ones from AARC), and consists of SURF-developed parts as well as a flavor of GEANT eduTEAMS, in the following way:

Keep informed about developments

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Support/contact us

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SRAM background

Research facilities, research collaborations and researchers have voiced challenges managing easy and secure access for researcher collaborations to research services for many years. Basically: creating and managing accounts and enabling researchers to login to services takes way to much time and effort. The FIM4R-initiative, Federated Identity Management for Research, has published reports about it. Many well intended solutions have been proposed over many years, but for many reasons, all efforts did no solve the problems.

Around 2018, a new effort was launched with the EU AARC-project: Authentication and Authorisation for Research Collaborations. The AARC project came up with many results, one of them being a blueprint architecture for a solution to easy secure access for research collaboration. The blueprint was meant to make it so that solutions would stand a change of being interoperable.

SRAM is based on international insight in how to solve access problems research collaborations face:

  • it is based on the above mentioned AARC-blueprint architecture
  • SURF collaborates in and with GÉANT. GÉANT has launched the eduTEAMS service, which shares parts of the software stack with what SURF needs to deliver SRAM. SURF has contracted GÉANT as sub contractor, where GÉANT operates part of the software needed for the SRAM service
  • GÉANT takes care of ongoing efforts to advance the AARC results, and is involved in the EOSC project
  • the collaboration of SURF with GÉANT means Dutch institutions using SRAM use a state of the art access management system which is poised to become the international standard solution and is positioned well for the EOSC cloud

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