- Global consolidation project designed to guarantee performance and openness
- The proven robustness of state-of-the-art Open Source technology, capable of managing a critical application workload
- Migration to a PostgreSQL Open Source database, operating on a uniquely large scale
The Caisse Nationale d’Allocations Familiales (CNAF) – the family branch of the French social security system, which provided some €69 billion of benefits to 11 million claimants in 2009 – has turned to Bull to migrate its Interel-RFM2 database running under gcos8 to PostgreSQL. The decision is a reaffirmation of CNAF’s commitment to move towards Open Source solutions. As a result of this, every month PostgreSQL is involved in the payment of €3 billion in benefits to CNAF claimants. The project, which is now fully up and running, is an integral part of the program to transform the information systems of this highly sensitive organization, which will soon have to bring on board new initiatives such as the RSA (Revenu de Solidarité Active), the French government’s minimum income guarantee for low-income households.
Meeting the needs for performance and scalability
To improve the quality of its services, against a backdrop of cost constraints, CNAF has put the emphasis on the search for better performance and more powerful systems. To achieve this, it decided to modernize two of its strategic and rapidly evolving applications, CRISTAL and SDP, which together account for 20 million lines of application software code and are central to its core business of calculating people’s entitlements and paying benefits. The choice of a new database that meets CNAF’s criteria in terms of performance and openness was an obvious step, with PostgreSQL proving to be the best option.
As Marc Pavie, Deputy Director of Information Systems at CNAF, explained: “The choice of PostgreSQL reiterates our commitment to Open Source. With Bull as prime contractor, we migrated without any difficulty. With PostgreSQL we are now benefitting from new functionality which is contributing to the optimization of our information system. But most importantly the solution offers levels of robustness and performance largely in line with our production imperatives and challenges at a national level relating to the quality of our services.”
Over a billion SQL queries run every day
The migration project started in October 2008, following a feasibility study carried out by Bull and a prototype built in collaboration with CNAF’s teams. An extensive testing phase established a sound basis for the implementation, which took place over the nine months to April 2010.
Bull contributed to this project by providing:
- Project management support
- All the technical expertise needed to design and scope the system architectures
- Training for the various teams on the new RDBMS
- Development of the data migration tool
- Assistance with adapting the code and testing
- The novascale platform, including PostgreSQL
- Overall support for the solution, with the option to escalate any problems to level 3 via the Bull center of expertise in Phoenix, USA.
In total, it took just 18 months to migrate the 168 databases involved, representing a total of 4 Terabytes of data. Since then, almost a billion SQL queries are being run every day. Regular administrative tasks have been automated and system supervision is carried out using an open software solution, Nagios. In addition, the architecture that has been implemented features dual high-availability, with a remote business recovery site and locally based service continuity facilities.
Several months after the implementation was completed, the PostgreSQL database is clearly proving its robustness and levels of performance. As a result, the reduction in batch processing times and transaction response times has led to improvements in the quality of the service provided.
Jean-Pierre Barbéris, CEO of Bull France, commented: “We are very proud to have supported CNAF in this project, which is unprecedented in Europe. The resulting benefits bear witness not only to the extraordinary power and robustness of Open Source tools, but also to their ability to support organizations’ most innovative projects while at the same time helping them to achieve greater room for maneuver financially.”
A novascale gcos 9010 server to run the production infrastructure
In parallel, during the first six months of 2010 CNAF has also been consolidating its various production resources running under gcos and Linux into a single Data Center equipped with a novascale gcos 9010 server, the new generation of mainframe-class Bull servers offering the best of mainframe technology combined with the benefits of the open world, especially PostgreSQL.