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Swedish Government Agency Provides Business-critical Information Efficiently with Red Hat JBoss EAP
February 14, 2014
In 2013, Bolagsverket made a strategic decision to upgrade its existing Red Hat® JBoss® Enterprise Application Platform infrastructure while it was modernizing its IT applications and services.
“The improved visibility of processes and smoother installation contributes to the stability of our services. While we are already on a pretty good level of system uptime, around 98 percent, we’re always aiming higher.” - Otto Jagebo, systems architect, Bolagsverket
The agency made a strategic decision to upgrade its existing JBoss Enterprise Application Platform infrastructure while it was modernizing its IT applications and services. Bolagsverket also wanted to improve the processes for maintaining and upgrading its IT infrastructure — making it smoother, faster, and easier to manage.
Proliant DL 380 G7 (Intel Xeon X5697), Proliant BL 465c G7 (AMD Opteron 6174), Proliant BL 495c G5 (AMD Opteron 2384), Proliant DL385 G7 (AMD Opteron 6282), Running approximately 100 virtual machines.
Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform efficiently met Bolagsverket’s needs, supporting the creation and deployment of new and upgraded applications and services.
Founded in 2004, Bolagsverket is a Swedish government agency with responsibility for leading e-government development for the Swedish business sector and registering the nation’s new businesses, while maintaining and updating public information on those businesses already in existence. This information includes any changes to a board of directors, details on CPAs (certified public accountants), and company addresses. The agency also receives annual reports and makes decisions regarding liquidation of company assets.
A long-term relationship moving to the next level
In 2008, Bolagsverket determined that the technical limitations of their existing proprietary IT solutions were quickly becoming a hindrance in efforts to meet operational requirements. To solve this problem, Bolagsverket made the decision to migrate their infrastructure to enterprise-class open source technology and implemented Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 4.3. The prospect of cost-efficient scalability was a major factor behind the decision to adopt open source technology. Bolagsverket foresaw increasing demands on its IT infrastructure and continued expansion of the services it offered.
Among the services the agency added was a new website, www.verksamt.se, which Bolagsverket launched in conjunction with the National Tax Agency, RSV, and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Tillväxtverket. The website acts as an information repository and hub for e-services. It helps start-up companies and small businesses with processes and regulations.
Bolagsverket was also about to launch www.företagsfakta.se, a public, searchable database and information tool for finding and researching Swedish businesses looking for potential suppliers, partners, or customers. “As a result of expanding our services, the agency’s IT infrastructure had to grow very fast and we found that Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform was the best choice to support this growth,” said Otto Jagebo, systems architect at Bolagsverket.
Over the course of the next four years, Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform efficiently met Bolagsverket’s needs, supporting the creation and deployment of new and upgraded applications and services. At the end of 2012, an overhaul of Bolagsverket’s IT applications and services infrastructure was planned. As part of this upgrade a decision was made to also upgrade the application platform itself, to ensure long-term enterprise support of the platform. The decision to continue with Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform came naturally as the enterprise-class open source technology has delivered on all expectations.
“We never looked at other solutions, as we were very happy with how the software had worked over the years. In terms of functionality, we were pleased with the existing solution, but with the evolution of the scope and size of our operation we were excited about the new features that enhanced the software’s capabilities. We also want to continue to ensure long-term enterprise-level support. Therefore we decided to upgrade to Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 6.1,” said Otto Jagebo.
A short and smooth implementation process
Ahead of the rollout, a team of technicians conducted a thorough analysis of Bolagsverket’s existing IT infrastructure and the features desired in the new system. Implementation began in mid-2013, with completion of the deployment planned for the end of 2013.
Bolagsverket has more than 100 servers running on Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform using a modified structure packaged by RPM Package Manager (RPM). All of the organization’s IT systems were built using RPM and variations on the Red Hat-compatible version of the control system Apache Subversion, the continuous integration tool Jenkins, and the repository management system Sonatype Nexus.
As part of the implementation, Red Hat Training carried out two on-site training sessions dedicated to Advanced JBoss Enterprise Development (JB325) and the web application framework JBoss Seam. In addition, Red Hat Consulting helped Bolagsverket develop a continuous delivery environment for Nexus, Subversion, and Jenkins tools.
“Red Hat Consulting reviewed the IT environment and looked at what we could do to improve the visibility of different software versions,” said Otto Jagebo. “The services Red Hat provided helped us get started on packaging with RPM. Today we can simply download the original ZIP file from Red Hat and build an RPM that contains any changes in functionality in our own environment, on top of the standard release. When an upgrade is due we just fetch a new ZIP file and check its reverse compatibility in a sandbox. It’s ready to test in four to five hours—a process which used to take several weeks.”
Working with RPM gives Bolagsverket a comprehensive view of the alterations that are made in terms of the applications of version management, and a history of who has accessed specific code. All changes to the IT architecture are made through the command-line interface. An API allows changes to the configuration without edits to the actual XML files, so whenever Bolagsverket conducts an upgrade it always has the correct script.
Thousands of innovators contributing
With deployment of the new system completed, Bolagsverket is looking forward to taking advantage of the benefits of Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 6.1 and its improved features and services.
“The improved visibility and smoother installation process contribute to the stability of our services. While we are already on a pretty good level of systems’ uptime–around 98 percent — we’re always aiming higher,” said Otto Jagebo.
While no further overhaul of the current system has been planned for the near future, Red Hat solutions leave open opportunities for additional community-powered innovation — a way to meet the growing demand for enterprise open source solutions.
“Given the number of individuals contributing ideas for new functionality, products evolve and mature much faster within open source communities. In fact, sometimes it evolves so quickly that it is a real challenge for companies to keep track of developments. With Red Hat, we have a controlled environment firmly in place, empowering us to focus on what else we may want to improve or expand in our infrastructure,” said Otto Jagebo.