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French Ministry of Defense chooses Bull to industrialize its application development processes

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Pierre Picard

In order to have end-to-end control over its installed base of applications and cut its total cost of ownership, the Ministry of Defense has decided to standardize its software production.

The French Ministry of Defense has turned to Bull to help industrialize the design-development chain for its information systems produced both internally and externally, and contribute to the rationalization of the information, administration and management system, known as SIAG run by the Ministry. “Our tender document included over 400 requirements. Bull produced the most open offer of the bids and demonstrated its willingness to develop a made-to-measure ‘industrial’ solution, which was a key determining factor for us,” explains Colonel Breuille, Director of the Defense Information Systems Management Center (CPSIAT[1]).

The result is SAFR@N[2] (translated as the Rationalized Analysis and Fabrication System for Standardized Applications), a management, analysis and development tool for prime contractors and program managers: in other words, a veritable ‘software factory’. It covers the implementation and use of subsets of various kinds, most notably Bull’s Open Source software forge NovaForge™. This forge enables collaborative working, providing a management tool that features quality indicators and test results reporting, especially for behavioral aspects.

Controlled versions of application architectures can now be reproduced and managed using specific code generation models and scripts. “The Industrialized Software Architecture Catalogue (CALI[3]), jointly developed by the Ministry and Bull, represents the technical heart of our industrialized development process and is the main tool we use to standardize our software production,” stresses Software Analysis and Development Engineer Erwan Garel from the Defense Ministry’s IT Infrastructure Department (SID[4]), who is heading up the CALI project. As the prime contractor, Bull has joined forces with Logica to ensure consistency with the PHARE project methodology – an iterative, incremental and agile methodology – and with Obeo, a firm specializing in modeling and code generation tools, to put together an analysis and development Studio, which meets CALI specifications. “We are very pleased with the commitment and high level of expertise shown by Bull’s teams,” says Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Fest, who is responsible for the SAFR@N system within CPSIAT. “The services provided by the architects and engineers from Bull’s centers at Grenoble and Massy proved to be a key success factor for the project.”

3rd row: Lieutenant Matthieu Diawara (CPSIAT), Captain Loïc Peissonier (CPSIAT), Lieutenant Simon Poirier (CPSIAT)
2nd row: Frédéric Brun (SID), Didier Féret (SID), Philippe Pratmarty (Bull)
1st row: Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud LeGriel (CPSIAT), Thomas Giles (CPSIAT), Erwan Garel (CPSIAT), Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Fest (CPSIAT), André Gouadon (Bull)

Thanks to SAFR@N – which is resolutely Open Source-oriented – the Ministry of Defense counts on economies of scale, as developers are increasingly freed from repetitive tasks so they can concentrate on value-added elements. An Open Source library of software components has been developed so underlying technical functionality can be shared and to extend the possibilities for automation as a result of code generation by producing unit tests and their associated data ‘on the fly’. This in turn makes applications more reliable and increases the certainty of non-regression.  

Modeling and automatic generation of components relating to application security for example, and the implementation of traceability and versioning of application requirements ensure that all applications behave in the same way and make updates more straightforward and easier to manage. 

“We are very proud to have delivered this project for the Ministry of Defense, which is putting best practice in application development into action. Implementing a system like this is a truly industrial-scale project; our experience in industrializing development and managing complex projects was a decisive factor for the customer,” concludes Thierry Siouffi, Executive VP of Bull Business Integration Solutions. 

“Officially approved in early November, NovaForge 3.1 will be implemented from January 2013 onwards,” explains Divisional Analysis and Software Fabrication Didier Feret, who heads up the Forge project which – along with Bull – has managed the various stages of implementing this latest version, which offers functionality including requirements management and agile project management.

The pilot project – known as COSI[5] (Defense infrastructure operations approach) – has already enabled the viability of this software development industrialization initiative to be demonstrated. “With the experience we have acquired in how to use the PHARE methodology and the SAFR@N tools, we can now make firm commitments to the Defense Infrastructure Department on the delivery timescales and quality of the COSI product,” affirmed COSI’s project manager, Analysis and Software Fabrication Engineer Frédéric Brun, at a project steering committee meeting.

More information : Business applications & Defense


[1] CPSIAT: Centre de Pilotage des Systèmes d’Information de la Défense
[2] SAFR@N: Système pour l’Analyse et la Fabrication Rationalisées d’@pplications normalisées
[3] CALI: Catalogue des Architectures Logicielles Industrialisées
[4] SID: Service d’infrastructure de la Défense
[5] COSI: Conduite des opérations d’infrastructure de Défense

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