Ville de Liège - City of Liege (Belgium)

City of Liege is a local government, which has about 1800 administrative users, and a computer science department (DSI for “Information System Department”) who maintains the network, the workstations and the servers. The Company also develops applications for the needs of its 20+ departments, and has a “Processes and Procedures Service” who interacts with the departments to analyse their needs and write business specifications. The whole team is composed of 50 people.

I am the manager of the software development service. We are developing applications, supporting the business when third-party software is bought and managing consultants and sub-contracted developments. We also produce ad-hoc reports and statistics directly from the database when requested. My team is composed of 15 computer specialists, 10 baccalaureates and 5 computer science masters. We have about 80 applications running, most being developed as Java Web Applications and running under Tomcat.

Even though we are using GLPI to manage the incidents and change request from the various end-users, we do not use it for the inventory of our infrastructures and applications. We wanted a "real" CMDB system. After some benchmarking, we short-listed iTop and CMDBuild, and finally chose CMDBuild.

As Phase 1 of our project, we first needed an inventory of our home-made applications, in order to be able to rapidly identify the impacted applications when an infrastructure or server environment issue occurs (the "incident" scenario), to be able to rapidly give accurate information (property or graph), and to be able to figure the impact of a configuration change (the "change" scenario). We defined our own model, and after modelling the classes, we successfully implemented it in CMDBuild and encoded the entities, either manually of by importing csv files from various sources (wiki, Excel file, etc.). Apart from configuring the classes and encoding the entities, we did additional extensions, like linking it with our LDAP server (for a fine-tune the access rights), creating some reports (which appear as widgets in the CMDBuild tool: a global report, summarizing the entities that were modified, and a class reports, showing each entity change in a diff-like view) and implementing the already great relations graph feature with also a tree view.

As Phase 2 of the project, we also wanted an inventory of all the tools and applications that we are using, including non-Java applications, third-party software hosting internally and externally. We extended the model in that direction and started to encode the various entities and relations. At the moment we are finalizing this Phase 2, and I expect my department's colleagues to be comfortable enough with CMDBuild in order to themselves encode entities in the tool and maintain up-to-date information.

Since our current model is mostly software-oriented, the infrastructure part is limited to Operating System and Server (Host). As Phase 3 of the project, we want to extend the model to give a much more detailed description of the infrastructure part, including VMs, controllers, docks, hardware devices, network devices, etc. At the moment we are also evaluating these aspects, and considering the adoption of CMDBuild READY2USE, which should more easily help us to meet our needs, being the pre-configured version of CMDBuild for the IT Governance.

There will be also a Phase 4 of the project: our “Processes and Projects Service” has a need to formalize the missions and processes for the whole entity in a uniform way. As most of those missions end up with an application and possibly some infrastructure change, CMDBuild should be the answer to that need as well, also because they need as well a sustainable way of modelling the end-users’ processes and procedures relating to the use of the applications. As their missions are formalized in various documents, and as we are currently setting up an EDM environment with Alfresco, we would like also to link Alfresco with CMDBuild, to have those documents stored and referenced.

Liège, 8th September 2017

Dimitri Monie

Département des Systèmes d’Information,  Chef du pôle Développement

Ville de Liège

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