Maximus (USA)

This is a summary of the case study presented by Maximus USA at the CMDBuild DAY 2022 here below you can find the complete speech done at the event.

Barry Leibson is an IT Lead Engineer, working on a Team called Performance Engineering, at Maximus. Maximus is contracted by government agencies to support their programs, primarily in the areas of health and human resources. For example, Maximus was contracted by the U.S. Government during the Covid-19 pandemic. It operated call-centers and provided self-service web-based solutions. It also operated several informational websites.

Maximus is a very large company, with thousands of employees and dozens of offices spread around the U.S. Maximus maintains offices in nearly all the state capitals and a headquarters in Washington, DC. Maximus also has operations is several other countries including Canada, the UK, Italy, Saudi Arabia, providing services to those governments.

The Performance Engineering (PE) Team is part of Maximus IT, a very large organization within Maximus. PE collects IT data and works to make it actionable, both for troubleshooting current issues or planning for future. The software packages PE uses to collect and display data include Splunk, SolarWinds, AppDynamics and CMDBuild READY2USE.

OMDB is an acronym for Operations Management Data Base (name invented by Barry’s old boss's boss), is a subset of a traditional CMDB, and it was designed to replace an earlier home-grown system, which collected data mainly on behalf of application administrators about servers and what applications they were running and for what project.

When there was the need to replace this home-grown system, since OMDB is a subset of a CMDB, CMDB solutions were explored. Critical aspects for Maximus in the evaluation were the following:

  • The solution had to be customizable. They couldn't start designing from scratch and needed to duplicate functionalities built into the previous system.
  • The solution had to allow for easy data exchange. They expected to use automated process to import and export data from other systems on a regular basis.
  • The solution had to provide a good user interface and sophisticated access-control. People with different roles within the Organization needed to add data and form relationships among those data.
  • The solution had to come in within a modest budget.

CMDBuild easily met all these criteria, and they also liked the Tecnoteca people they met during the evaluation phase.

Maximus’s use of CMDBuild might be a bit atypical compared to other implementations: the majority of the data arrives via automated processes and many custom classes have been implemented (“implementation of classes is just wonderful and easy to extend”, the inheritance feature has been used a lot and the class hierarchy system is considered “fabulous”), the standard CMDBuild READY2USE workflows actually are not used, the Field Services Team has built a web-based app that basically treats OMDB as its data-store (pushing and pulling data out and in).

A CMDBuild function that has been heavily exploited is the Import/Export mechanism (using API and then CSV files), at the moment the CMDBuild Task Manager has about 75 scheduled imports, which mostly run once-a-night and such scripts pull data from several systems (for example, data from about 5.000 AWS EC2 and 800 RDS are refreshed every night, sometimes in merging mode, sometimes in synchronizing mode).

A final consideration and suggestion: at the beginning of the project implementation, it is always worth to “step back” and really think about the data-model, a good initial analysis is very important and usually saves a lot of time afterwards.

Video presentation at CMDBuild DAY

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