Two applications and 150 to come in the next five years.


The call came unexpectedly. The Paris-based Osones team had jumped the pond to participate in the 2014 OpenStack Atlanta Summit.  On the line was a partner for France’s Interior Ministry, who said the government was looking to use OpenStack and sought an experienced team. They’d made the right call: the cloud experts at Osones had been evangelists, contributors, Summit attendees and active members of the OpenStack French-speaking User Group since 2013.

Osones’ main mission was to transfer knowledge to Ministry IT engineers, to advocate OpenStack best practices and to help in choosing tools and deployment strategies. The Osones team took part in building the OpenStack platform itself as well, until it was up and running and ready to host the first applications, Jean Francois Taltavull and Adrien Cunin, both cloud engineers at Osones told Superuser.

Some of the current applications using OpenStack are part of the larger push for bureaucratic reforms started by president Emmanuel Macron back when he was finance minister. These uses of OpenStack include processing requests from asylum seekers — for an idea of scale, there were 75,000 first-time asylum applicants in France in 2016,  over 6 percent of the European Union total — and fast-tracking the notoriously slow driver’s license process.

Superuser talked to Nicolas Duffour at the Interior Ministry about what they’re doing now and planning on for the future.

How are you using OpenStack? What kinds of applications or workloads
are you currently running on OpenStack?

OpenStack was chosen by the French government and promoted by DINSIC (the national IT shop and open data initiative formed in 2015) because it’s open source and efficient as a cloud stack.

At the moment, we’re running two applications in production: ASILE to process asylum requests and ET GOA to process the Macron law initiative for privatizing the written driver’s license test and making it available thanks to a web server in public places such as the post office.

About 20 projects are under consideration to go to our cloud, PI (Produits de l’Interieur), and we plan to migrate 150 applications in the next three to five years.

What have been the biggest benefits to your organization as a result of using OpenStack? How are you measuring the impact?

The main benefit for our organization is to offer a real digital platform to accompany the digital transformation and modernization of the administration: secure (meeting the national standard for providers, SecNum cloud ANSSI), robust, efficient for our clients of the Interior Ministry and the other administrations. Being able to develop in agile/dev ops mode and gain in continuous delivery and in integration; concentrate infrastructure resources available for the applications and make resources available interactively.

We are defining the dashboard with our clients to measure more precisely the impact. A 30-person transformation team has been created to help and accompany our clients to manage and use our cloud.

What future plans can you share with us?

Our short-term plan is to open our platform to the other administrations at the beginning of 2018 and to deploy our cloud on two sites to be fully resilient and take steps with our clients to evolve our services catalog.


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