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Actifio Supports National Health Services Digital Transformation

South, Central, and West Commissioning Support Unit achieves data security
speed and simplicity

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Executive Summary
The Commission Support Unit (CSU) provides IT services, including hosting and managed services that support broad National Health Services requirements. That includes protecting databases critical to the delivery of health services. However, delivery of reliable data backup and Disaster Recovery services had become a problem, and that initiated a search for alternatives. Actifio provided a detailed proposal addressing CSU requirements, including capabilities to satisfy future strategic objectives covering VMware and file systems. Actifio’s scalable solution simplifies future CSU upgrades and provides object storage integration
that utilizes incremental forever data backups and instant data recovery. The solution offers CSU management simplicity and ease-of-use, together with performance that reduces backup and restore times from days to minutes.

K E Y FACTS

Challenges: Data backup speed, complexity, and cost

IT Environment: 2 data centers serving 40,000 users, Dell SANs, Linux, Windows, Oracle, SQL, VMware.

Production Healthcare Applications include 160TB source data environment, 1500 SQL instances, and 3500 individual SQL databases.

Solution: Partnered with Actifio for backup efficiencies, simplicity, and speed.

“The Actifio team in the UK is great to work with and provides us with excellent support. They’re terrific.”

CHRIS BORMAN, CSU SENIOR MANAGER OF DATABASE OPERATIONS

Overview – South, Central, and West Commissioning Support Unit

Based in the south of England, the South, Central, and West Commissioning Support Unit (SCW) team of 1,300 skilled professionals provides expert support for the National Health Services (NHS), including more than 80 customers nationally, regionally and locally. Services touch 14 million people across 13 Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships at the heart of emerging Integrated Care Systems that are increasing adoption of population health management approaches. SCW IT staff lead on digital transformation, and support programs providing care analytics, and organizational development. Overall, SCW delivers flexible and cost-effective access to the skills, insight, and capacity needed to optimize performance, transform services, and drive increasingly effective person-centered care.

The Challenge

The IT functions of the Commission Support Unit (CSU) within the National Health Services are similar to a commercial Managed Service Provider (MSP). It provides hosting and managed services that support broad NHS IT requirements. Managed applications vary, with the primary focus on the more than 3,500 SQL databases critical to the delivery of health services. Part of the infrastructure team’s responsibilities includes providing support for these vital applications with reliable data backup and Disaster Recovery services. And that had become a problem.
CSU had been using multiple backup software applications, some outdated, all too complicated and slow to protect their SQL environment adequately. The full weekly backup lasted all weekend and rolled into Monday morning. When data restoration was needed, it was a slow struggle, and when this began impacting end-users, the need for a new approach became apparent.

“We looked at several potential replacement options and found the others difficult to use.

We selected Actifio for its speed and simplicity. Initially, our target RTO/RPO was twenty-four hours or less. With Actifio, we’re now at fifteen minutes.”

CHRIS BORMAN, CSU SENIOR MANAGER OF DATABASE OPERATIONS

The Solution

CSU created a Request for Proposals (RFP) to address their need for reliable backup and DR for the entireSQL environment. Actifio responded with a detailed proposal and worked closely with the technical champion to address all questions with in-depth responses. Also, Actifio demonstrated capabilities that satisfied future strategic requirements to support the extended CSU environment, including VMware and filesystems. As a scalable solution, the building block design simplifies future upgrades and provides object storage integration that utilizes incremental forever data backups and instant data recovery.

“A great example of our success with Actifio is our original 22TB database backup challenge that had been taking more than 48 hours every weekend. Our first Actifio full backup completed in only 12 hours. But now, using incremental forever updates, we will never require another full backup. Incrementals take about 20 minutes, and recovery of the entire 22TB is also accomplished in just over twenty minutes. That’s a tremendous difference. It’s why we think Actifio is fantastic!”

CHRIS BORMAN, CSU SENIOR MANAGER OF DATABASE OPERATIONS

Following Actifio platform implementation in the initial SQL environment, the NHS continues upgrading to eliminate all legacy backup tools and incorporating Actifio across the IT environment. VM support is moving to Actifio, and plans are underway to include coverage for Oracle, and Sharepoint. CSU also has intentions to expand in the Azure cloud, and Actifio will be an essential element in the migration planning.

Benefits
• Management simplicity and ease-of-use
• Performance – backup and restore times reduced from days to minutes
• Recovery now fast and reliable
• One solution to manage multiple environments
• Time and costs eliminated for managing long-term backups
• Exceeded 24-hour RTO/RPO target objectives: now ~ 20 minutes
• Ransomware recovery fast and effective
• Virtual production copies reduce patch update time to minutes
• Offsite data encrypted for additional security
• World-class support team