Success with Caché
When new laws resulted in sweeping reforms of Belgium's police forces, the federal police were tasked with creating a single computing hardware and software architecture that they, and agents in all 195 of Belgium's local police zones, would share. For the core data management and application infrastructure, the federal police chose Caché.
"As a result of a European open public tender procedure, Caché was chosen because it provided the best combination of quality, reliability, performance, and price," says François Laruelle, ICT director of the Belgian federal police. "Another important factor was that we could easily migrate data, metadata, and stored procedures from Informix and Sybase. In fact, when we ported our Information System for Local Police (ISLP) solution, over 99% of the more than 2,700 stored procedures were converted automatically." Laruelle also praised InterSystems for the support provided during the migration process. "Some stored procedures required manual conversion, and InterSystems worked with us until they all ran correctly. They went beyond their contractual obligations," he says.
The results have been good. "Our combination of Caché on Intel-based hardware running Red Hat Linux is absolutely reliable and fast," Laruelle says. "Before, only a few of the largest local systems running the ISLP application had a failover mechanism. Now, every database server has failover." Approximately 28,000 workstations, serving 30,000 local police agents, run the Caché-based ISLP solution, feeding information into a centralized database.
In addition to migrating ISLP from Informix to Caché, Laruelle and his team are bringing over several of the Sybase-based applications used by the federal police, including the data warehouse, the human resources and planning solution, and the judicial police solution. The ultimate goal is to simplify the client infrastructure and reduce costs over the long term. As of spring 2012, an additional 10,000 federal police were using the Caché-based applications.
At the same time, Laruelle's team is developing a new suite of applications based on Caché. These are used for crime investigation, traffic management, recruitment, and a host of other functions. "For example, our new solution for crime investigation gives investigators a broad overview of the elements of a case," says Laruelle. "It brings together disparate information about the events, people, transportation, places, and other details in various formats — and supports cross-referencing and analysis on the data. This application highlights how Caché's flexible nature enabled us to naturally model in the database how we work."
What benefits do the Belgium police see from their integrated IT architecture? "In addition to improved reliability and performance, we are more efficient now," Laruelle says.