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Simpl: cloud-to-edge federations and data spaces made simple

Simpl is the smart middleware that will enable cloud-to-edge federations and support all major data initiatives funded by the European Commission, such as common European data spaces.

Simpl will be:

  • Anchored to specific use cases, covering a broad range of cases from sectoral data spaces (e.g. Agriculture, Genomics, Energy, Mobility) to Destination Earth, and from AI-on-demand to the European Open Science Cloud. Simpl will ensure that data sets and their infrastructures can be seamlessly interconnected and made interoperable.
  • Smart and modular, to allow the replacement or addition of components without affecting the rest of the system, something that we hope to continue developing over time.
  • Open source, allowing insights into all parts of the architecture (without any proprietary claims) and simple deployment.
  • Green, scalable and elastic, by allowing a monitoring of its environmental performance, and the addition of new users without affecting performance.
  • Secure and interoperable, where trust, confidence and compliance with regulations are built into the system. This implies an effortless sharing of resources between participants, regardless of their data processing environment. It creates an abstraction layer that enables data to flow across multiple providers and Member States.

And of course…

  • simple to use and extend! 

See as well the enclosed set of clarifications about Simpl (update November 2022)

Funding

Simpl is funded through the DIGITAL Work Programme, under topics 2.1.1 (Smart middleware for a European cloud federation and for the European data space, receiving €65 million from 2021-2022), 2.1.2 (Large scale pilots for cloud-to-edge-based services), and across Specific Objective 2 (Cloud, data, and Artificial Intelligence), all of which will consider Simpl for their deployment.

The European Commission's role is to:

  • Be the Contracting Authority procuring Simpl.
  • Make Simpl freely available and open source for the benefit of the public and private sectors and ultimately, the European citizens.
  • Deploy its own instances of Simpl as an active stakeholder of forthcoming data spaces.
  • Be the main operator of some public sector-specific data spaces.
  • Make available open testing environments for stakeholders to try out Simpl before deployment, in addition to its own participation in data spaces (a Simpl sandbox).

Preparatory work

With the support of a contractor, we conducted preparatory work which we are publishing as it is finalised. Here are the deliverables:

Future steps (updated October 2022)

The contractor who conducted the preparatory work organised a presentation of its findings on 30 May 2022, where they provided details on the background, vision, and possible implementation of Simpl.

The video presentations are available here:

The Contracting Authority is working on the preparation of a tender to be launched, indicatively, at the beginning of 2023.

The current estimate regarding the scope of the professional services to be procured is:

  1. the development of SIMPL. This will be the open-source software stack as envisaged in the above preliminary study, over which tenderers will be able to elaborate their own proposal.
  2. the provision and management of SIMPL Labs, a pre-installed demonstration/playground environment where third parties (typically sectoral data spaces in their early stages of inception) can experiment the deployment, maintenance, and support of the open-source software stack before deploying it for their own needs.
  3. the provision of several instances of the SIMPL software stack in the form of customised production environments for sectoral data spaces where the European Commission itself plays an active role in their management.

As in the past, we will keep the present page updated with further details on the procurement procedure as they become available.

We envisage the high-level roadmap for the implementation of Simpl as follows:

  • A Minimum Viable Platform released by the end of 2023.
  • In parallel, and starting as early as possible in 2023, the open testing environment will be made available for stakeholders to experiment with.
  • We will progressively on-board and integrate use cases, helping them to adjust Simpl to their specific needs (without compromising its generic nature). Use cases otherwise funded under DIGITAL will take priority.
  • As an open-source project, we will conduct further developments in an open manner, listening to user needs and welcoming external contributions. The roadmap foresees major new releases every 6 months.

(This roadmap is provided for informative purposes only. It is subject to modification and does not represent any commitment regarding the procurement of Simpl.)

More information

You may find further details about the policy context in:

There are many third-party initiatives working in this area and that we follow ourselves with great interest such as Gaia-X, the International Data Space Association, and the Eclipse Foundation, to name a few.

Simpl is an ambitious undertaking. To learn more about Simpl, stay tuned for additional, up-to-date information.

 

For suggestions, please contact cnect-simpl@ec.europa.eu (NB. communications related to ongoing procurements will be redirected to the proper channels).