Kadaster Celebrates 10 Years of Automating Its Professional Linux Platform
A collaboration with Xebia in 2012 catalyzed a change process that reverberates a positive impact across the organization, and on its clients, to this day.
Recognizing the Impact of the Project
On June 28, 2022, Kadaster celebrated the anniversary of a pioneering project led by Xebia that impacted its entire organization: a state-of-the-art, self-service platform that its teams could use to deploy their Java applications. Since its initial implementation, the innovative solution has evolved into a full-fledged, self-service Linux platform.
Solving Challenges Through Innovation
When Kadaster initiated the project in 2012, Cloud Computing was cutting-edge, new technology. But as a governmental organization, Kadaster could not use a public cloud provider. It needed to create a private platform-as-a-service, based on open source and commodity technology, which required, the team to use a few unfamiliar tools
Mark van Holsteijn, CTO at Binx/part of Xebia explained: “Working with unfamiliar tools and services was definitely the biggest barrier we faced. One of these tools was Puppet for provisioning VMNs and the other was JBoss Operations Network to provide central logging and monitoring.”
The team started began by creating VMs on the existing hardware and then moved this platform to the new hardware, once it was installed. Before the platform was in place, the process for deploying software followed a classic IT organization. There were hand-offs and manual deployment configurations. The new platform automated the provisioning of virtual machines, JBoss application servers, and database schemas in its entirety. A novelty was that development, test, acceptance, and production all had exactly the same configuration and service levels.
Creating a Catalyst for Change
The team successfully automated a system that allowed Kadaster to deploy applications in various environments (test, live) without errors and without any manual steps. This meant that the organization could transition to a more DevOps style of software development.
Van Holsteijn remarked, “I am happy that we managed to deliver a workable platform within the required three months.”
The platform became a catalyst for changing the organization’s entire way of working. Not only did it immediately speed up the company’s software delivery process, but it was also essential for outsourcing IT and cap/Gemini years later.
“Soon after we delivered the platform, other engineers within Kadaster started coming in and asking hey, can we use this too?’ Because now they could actually deploy applications automatically,” added Van Holsteijn.
The outcome was visible: from 30 to 500+ deployments per month. In addition, Kadaster’s success rate went from 25% to 95%. The deviation went from 24 hours to 0 minutes, making the newly created platform much faster and more reliable.
When asked what the biggest success of this project was a decade later, Van Holsteijn said, “Providing a self-service platform using open source and commodity software brought an incredible increase in the speed and quality in the software delivery process.”
About the Company
Kadaster is the Land Registry in the Netherlands. It records all rights-owners for all real estate in the country, including land, ships, aircraft, networks, and buildings. For example, Kadaster manages the WOZ Landelijke Ruimte and the Key Register of Addresses and Buildings (BAG), a database of addresses and buildings in the Netherlands which includes the year of construction, surface area, the purpose of use, and location on a map. The data helps individuals, companies, and (semi) government organizations to make important choices.