A Healthcare Provider Remedies Backup Reliability Headaches with Help from Actifio Copy Data Management Solutions
Critical data backup established for all locations across New England
After a series of mergers, a large New England healthcare provider had organized
its medical practices but was still challenged to consolidate disparate IT functions. To support the newly broadened organization, it needed to rationalize IT capabilities for medical locations spread across a broad geography. The foremost objective was reliable data protection. The organization turned to Actifio for a simplified and effective backup platform. Actifio helped make virtual server transitions and began backing up critical applications and databases for the entire spectrum of medical practices. Actifio reduced backup and recovery times from hours to minutes, and cut annual expenses by nearly $300,000.
This large New England multi-specialty physician-owned and directed professional organization includes more than 200 physicians with practices ranging from anesthesiology, and pain management, to radiation oncology, and vascular services. It provides services at many hospitals, and its physicians are leaders in education for medical students and residents. They are helping to shape the future of healthcare policy by active involvement in medical organizations. They serve as department chairs, medical directors, and active committee members, addressing a wide variety of issues at the forefront of innovative health care.
Challenges: Backup complexity, reliability, speed, and consolidation
IT Environment: SAP, VMware, Cisco Systems, and storage.
Solution: Consolidated backups with Actifio, including SQL testing and
DevOps. One tool to protect and manage all physical and virtual application environments.
This is a Healthcare organization in transition. After a series of mergers, it had organized its physicians around a set of professional operating divisions and medical practices. However, to gain efficiencies and control costs, it also needed to consolidate disparate IT systems and functions to support the new and broader organization. It needed to rationalize IT capabilities and support for medical locations spread across the multiple states. Regulatory compliance and security were critical factors, along with operating standards and assured data protection.
To start, the IT team had to make some strategic decisions. They had to select a physical data center, decide on Hyper-V or VMware, determine levels of cloud reliance, and draft the ultimate plan. Even with all of that, one of the highest priorities was to establish norms for data protection and backup. The merging organizations had used a variety of backup platforms, and sometimes none at all. Their objective now was to establish standards, define acceptable recovery point and recovery time objectives (RPO/RTO), and centralize data backup operations.
Actifio had already been put in place at one primary data center. However, constraints of time and staffing had limited the extent of implementation. Following the multiple mergers, a newly recruited systems engineer took responsibility to develop plans that would solidify, standardize, and centralize data backup for all locations. It wasn’t a simple project. Some practice offices had local backup capabilities. Some had none. “It seemed that every popular backup solution was represented. They were all over the map,” said the engineer. “And we also had a mix of Hyper-V and VMware, no established RPO/RTO standards, really no data protection standards at all. It’s a good thing that I welcome a challenge.”
Starting with the new plan, the IT team began converting all Hyper-V UCS blades to VMware for ease of management with Actifio. They also leveraged Actifio to make the virtual server transitions by cloning physical boxes and mounting them to VMware servers. They began backing up SQL databases, and the database administrator (DBA) began using Actifio for reliable backups, testing, and patching. As they built out the core environment, they established acceptable RPO/RTO standards. And they began moving toward a self-service capability for their DBA and application developers who were now able to refresh any database on-demand.
As the work progressed with consolidation and reduction of duplicate systems and software, the benefits in staff efficiencies and reduced expenses became clear. Where multiple people had previously attended to data backups, it was now managed by one individual behind a single pane of glass for significant savings in staff time. Nearly $300,000 in annual costs of cloud and Iron Mountain backup data storage were eliminated. Another crucial benefit has come in time saved, first in creating backups, and more importantly, in the speed, sometimes only minutes, to restore systems or data as needed. The most critical benefit has been the consistent delivery of medical services with the highest quality of customer service for patients and doctors. Efficient data protection for the medical practice has become a core business asset.
• Backup – Established new, centralized, backup simplicity, reliability, and speed. Reliable data access supports doctors and directly contributes to excellent patient care.
• Expense Savings – Actifio has helped to eliminate more than $300,000 in annual operating expenses for cloud and Iron Mountain services along with reductions in software licenses and duplicate infrastructure.
• Time Savings – Backup and recovery times have been substantially reduced. Stable and reliable data protection means recovery times reduced from as much as seven hours or more to less than an hour and sometimes just minutes.
• Database Testing and Application Development – Using Actifio, DBAs perform advanced testing and patch management to improve reliability before deployment of new versions. Application developers can accelerate progress with easy and fast access to fresh database copies.
• Staff Efficiency – One individual manages the backups behind a single pane of glass, freeing others who were previously involved. Also, daily monitoring and troubleshooting reduced from many hours to minutes or simply eliminated.