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TIER 2015 Recap from the TIER Community Investor Council

Dec 10, 2015, by Elizabeth Boten
Tags: TIER, Trust & Identity, Trust and Identity in Education and Research

Written by: Klara Jelinkova, CIO, Rice University

What a year it has been. As we approach our first TIER release in April 2016 and prepare for new dedicated Trust and Identity leadership within Internet2, we on the TIER Community Investor Council (TCIC) thought it would be good to look back on 2015. 2015 was a big year for Trust and Identity.

We started 2015 with a series of workshops to set requirements for the TIER program. All TIER investors participated in the workshops and informed TIER requirements. The top 5 requirements were:

  • API Development - The program must assert and enforce: Published / Stable APIs for ALL core components
  • Interfederation - Inter-Federation and Federation needs must be held high in considerations when building core solutions and artifacts related to TIER.
  • Person registry -  Identity Matching Logic must be a part of the Person Registry Service (Directory)
  • One pager for general stakeholders (elevator speech) 
  • De/provisioning – The solutions must enable individuals to have multiple roles/affiliations/relationships/whatever with the institution, each with its own lifecycle and overlapping set of access privileges needed to undertake each role. Statefulness (persistence and preservation of state) must permeate the design goals of all solution components in order to correctly and efficiently manage their access over the course of these multiple lifecycles.

In the spring we worked with Internet2 and a group of legal counsels to draft a MOU that to date 47 TIER investors have signed. The signing of the MOUs and the commitment that it implied allowed Internet2 to staff the effort and add development resources and better leverage its existing commitment. To date, three additional development and related resources have been added to the project. Five additional hires are forecast over the next three months to round out the resource team.

We were also able to better integrate InCommon as the federation component to enable global research collaborations. Within InCommon we were able to pass participation in eduGAIN (GEANT1 sponsored effort to enable intergeneration of participating national federations). We also validated which services InCommon fees support and which services TIER is supporting.

InCommon Services

  • Federation
  • International Federation coordination
  • Identity Assurance
  • Certificate Service (seperate cost center)4
  • Community Working Group Support and Engagement, Community federation-interop practices and standards, Communication and education

TIER Services

  • Shibboleth - US participation in Shibboleth Consortium
  • Grouper
  • COmanage
  • eduPerson schema
  • CommIT
  • New software development addressing TIER community needs
  • Community Working Group Support and Engagement, Communication and education, International coordination across all of Trust and Identity

During the fall as the Internet2 team was busily working with architects across campuses to ready for the first release, we met at EDUCAUSE with both the TIER CIOs and the larger TIER community to get feedback. Tracy Futhey on behalf of the Internet2 board led a search committee for the Trust and Identity Internet2 Vice President reporting to Internet2 CEO Dave Lambert.

The calendar year 2016 is certain to bring a number of developments for TIER, marked by the first TIER release and the lessons we will gain from the resulting campus deployments. These developments to date and the ones upcoming would not be possible without the dedication of both Internet2 staff and all of you. We want to thank you for all you have done to support the effort thus far and for your engagement in shaping it. However one person in particular has been crucial in getting all of us to this point – Shel Waggener, Internet2, senior vice president.

The TCIC would like to thank Shel for all of his work to get TIER started, shepherding it through Internet2 governance and ultimately its Board. Shel worked tirelessly and assured success of the effort. He championed trust and identity within Internet2 and positioned it for success. Thank you, Shel!

Looking forward to an exciting and progress filled 2016,

Klara Jelinkova on behalf of TIER Community Investor Council

Klara Jelinkova

TIER Community Investor Council Members:

  • Chris Holmes – Baylor University
  • Dennis Cromwell – Indiana University
  • Eric Denna – University of Maryland
  • Kelli Trosvig – University of Washington
  • Kevin Morooney – Pennsylvania State University 
  • Melissa Woo – University of Oregon
  • John O’Keefe – Lafayette College
  • Ron Kraemer – University of Notre Dame
  • Tracy Futhey – Duke University
  • Tom Barton – University of Chicago


1 GÉANT is the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs)

2 Provided within the $1M InCommon Federation budget (excludes certificate service income)

3 TIER Budget in calendar 2016 is expected to be $2.85M with $1.2M from TIER investment, $900k from Internet2 existing contribution and $750K in new membership fees

4 Separate from InCommon Federation budget.