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 agile, 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.
Simpl is funded through the DIGITAL Europe 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), and more generally across Specific Objective 2 (Cloud, data, and Artificial Intelligence which considers Simpl for their deployment.
The European Commission's role is to:
- Be the Contracting Authority procuring Simpl.
- Offer Simpl freely as an open-source tool, benefiting both public and private sectors, and ultimately serving European citizens.
- Deploy its own instances of Simpl as an active stakeholder of some 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.
Procurement (Updated October 2023)
Simpl will be procured through two framework contracts.
In short, the first concerns the development of Simpl itself. Following a Call for Tenders in spring 2023, this (main) framework contract was awarded to two consortia in October 2023. This award is structured as a framework contract with the possibility of re-opening competition. In practice, while the awarded consortia have not been allocated any specific tasks immediately, they now have exclusive rights to participate in future specific contract requests. The first specific contract, whose participation will be limited to these contractors is expected to cover:
- Three years of Simpl-Open development.
- The preliminary studies for the development of Simpl-Labs and six instances of Simpl-Live.
The second framework contract concerns the provision of services to the Programme Support Office (PSO) that will most notably conduct the quality assessment of the specific tenders of the first framework contract. The call for tenders for this second framework closed in September 2023 and the Commission is currently evaluating the tenders.
Any request for additional information about the PSO Call for Tenders must be made in writing only through the TED eTendering website in the "Questions & Answers" tab, by clicking "Create a question" (registration on TED eTendering is required to be able to create and submit a question).
Next steps (Updated October 2023)
Over time, we will develop / make available the following:
- SIMPL-Open. This will be the open-source software stack that will power data spaces and other cloud-to-edge federations initiatives.
- SIMPL-Labs, a ready-to-use demonstration/playground environment where third parties can engage in two main activities: First, sectoral data spaces in their early stages of inception will be able to experiment with the deployment, maintenance, and support of the open-source software stack before deploying it for their own needs. Second, more mature data spaces will be able to use Simpl-Labs to assess their level of interoperability with Simpl-Open.
- Simpl-Live, which are distinct instances of the SIMPL-Open 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, such as the Public Procurement Data Space, the European eHealth Data Space and Language Data Space.
We envisage the high-level roadmap for the implementation of Simpl as follows:
- A proof-of-concept released by summer 2024.
- A Minimum Viable Platform released no later than end of 2024.
- As an open-source project, we will conduct all developments in an open manner, listening to user needs and welcoming external contributions. This implies frequent and incremental updates.
With the support of a contractor, we completed the preparatory work and are releasing the finalised results. Here are the deliverables:
- The business use case model;
- Draft requirements and final business requirements;
- The architecture vision;
- The market analysis report;
- The service level requirements;
- The information system and technology architecture requirements;
- The product delivery lifecycle requirements and the Simpl governance model;
- The implementation roadmap;
- The cost model manual and the configurable cost model;
- The recommendation report;
- The handover plan and the handover report.
Moreover, 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 state of cloud in the European Union
- Keynote: the rationale behind Simpl
- Simpl: Requirements and architecture
- Q&A – 1: Simpl vision, requirements, and architecture
- Simpl: Existing solutions, roadmap, and governance
- Q&A – 2: Existing solutions, roadmap, and governance
- Looking ahead and closing remarks
You may find further details about the policy context in:
- The data strategy, which lays down the Commission strategy to make the most of the data economy, and which introduces the notion of cloud federation.
- The staff working document reporting on the stage of development of the data spaces
- The DIGITAL Europe Work Programme for 2021-2022, which describes a detailed vision for Simpl (Section 2.1) and data spaces (Section 2.2).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (NB. communications related to ongoing procurements will be redirected to the proper channels).