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NetApp products

  • Clustered Data ONTAP
  • MetroCluster synchronous replication
  • FAS 8040, 3270
  • NetApp SnapManagers
  • Snapshots
  • SnapVault & SnapMirror
  • NetApp FlexClone
Protocols
  • FC, NFS, CIFS & iSCSI
Partner
Neoria
www.neoria.be

Customer Profile+-

AZ Groeninge

AZ Groeninge is a regional general hospital in Kortrijk, Belgium. The hospital’s current lay-out is the result of the merger of four local hospitals. Today, AZ Groeninge has a capacity of 1.065 beds. The hospital employs 220 doctors, 1.500 medical staff and about 850 administrative and technical staff. Following the merger in 2000, AZ Groeninge decided to build a new hospital campus. The new site has been partially operational since 2010. By 2016, all of AZ Groeninge’s services will be relocated to the new campus, except for a smaller site in Kortrijk’s city center.

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The Challenge+-

The hospital’s IT department has 30 employees, spread over teams for systems administration, medical applications and administrative solutions. “The merger resulted in a number of challenges for the IT department as well”, says Kevin Meerschaert, IT Manager of Systems Administration & Support at AZ Groeninge. The main goal was to transform a very heterogeneous IT environ ment - consisting of the software and systems of four separate hos pitals - into one single IT platform for the new organization.

Live data migration
AZ Groeninge consolidated all of its data in two data centers, located at one of the existing hospital sites, and supported by a back-up tape robot. In 2006, the hospital implemented a PACS (Picture Archiving & Communication System) based on local storage and a tape robot as well. That’s when Neoria came into the picture. “We really liked the idea of having a single point of contact, as well as a dedicated team of engineers to fall back on”, Meerschaert continues. “On top of that, Neoria’s team has deep knowledge of our business. And whenever an issue arose, they were really quick in their response.”

In the years following the PACS implementation, AZ Groeninge’s data volume increased rapidly. To keep up with this evolution, the hospital decided to renew and expand its storage environment at its new data center site. “We built a new data center at the new hospital site and have a second data center on a different location”, Meerschaert explains. “We manage both data centers in an active/active set-up, as part of our disaster recovery plan. In case of an incident, hospital staff has remote access to data - such as patient records - at the second data center.” The choice for this set-up, however, caused some serious technical complexity. “The idea was to move the existing metrocluster from the old data center to the new ones.

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The Solution+-

That’s when the concept of a stretched metrocluster came into the picture.” In simple words: a stretched metrocluster is a metrocluster in an active/active set-up, but over a long distance. To make it even more complex, the migration of the data - a net volume of 512 TB - had to be done in a real live environment. “We couldn’t just shut down the hospital to perform a data migration”, Meerschaert adds. “The implementation plan was layed-out in close collaboration with doctors and medical staff, allowing us to organize the data cut-over in the smallest possible time windows.”

Intelligent storage solution
Neoria offered a stretched metrocluster solution based on NetApp technology, including the NetApp Data ONTAP operating system for clustered storage environments. AZ Groeninge’s staff get access to the data center through a 10 Gbit fiber connection. NetApp Swing Gear was put in place as a temporary storage solution during the data migration. “Newly generated data directly finds its way to the stretched metrocluster”, Meerschaert explains. “The existing data passes via Swing Gear to the cluster.” The main benefit of the new NetApp set-up lies in its central management, based on the NetApp OnCommand management software. “The built-in intelligence allows for dynamic storage allocation. When data is consulted regularly, for example, OnCommand will move it from the SATA pool to the flash pool.” All in all, the new storage environment helps AZ Groeninge save time. “Thanks to the new storage set-up, we managed to reduce several storage procedures from twelve to just two hours.”



Trusted partner
Only one thing is certain at this point: the data volume will keep growing, among other things coming from the use of sensors and wearable technologies. Meerschaert: “The need for storing large data files is only increasing. But network and storage are the bare fundamentals of the hospital’s IT environment. There’s no room for compromise in that field.” Once again, that’s where the role of the hospital’s trusted advisors can’t be underestimated. “Obviously, we need specific expertise from a partner, because we don’t have the staff, time or budget to develop all of this expertise in-house. Uptime Group is our single point of contact, through which we gain access to any expertise we need. That offers us a high level of comfort, the true added value of Uptime Group.

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Business Benefits+-

The main benefit of the new NetApp set-up lies in its central management, based on the NetApp OnCommand management software. “The built-in intelligence allows for dynamic storage allocation. When data is consulted regularly, for example, OnCommand will move it from the SATA pool to the flash pool.” All in all, the new storage environment helps AZ Groeninge save time. “Thanks to the new storage set-up, we managed to reduce several storage procedures from twelve to just two hours.”

At AZ Groeninge, every day more medical images are created and stored. “The growing data volume remains quite a challenge”, Meerschaert says, “especially since we are not allowed to use compression on the PACS images.” Currently, AZ Groeninge is considering moving some of its storage to the cloud. “But it’s not that easy. Apart from the challenges in budget and data connections, there are several issues concerning privacy, compliance, rules and regulations that would need to be addressed. Back-up may be the first domain to make the move to the cloud, although I’m not convinced we would achieve a cost reduction in doing so.”

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Environment+-

Industry
Healthcare

The Challenge
The main goal was to transform a very heterogeneous IT environment - consisting of the software and systems of four separate hospitals - into one single IT platform for the new organization.

The Solution
To support the new hospital set-up - and to address the management of its ever increasing data volume - the hospital migrated its storage environment to a stretched metrocluster, based on NetApp technology and implemented by Neoria, part of Uptime Group.

Benefits

  • Provide ‘always-on’ storage for critical hospital apps and images
  • Scalability to support growth
  • Centralized management
  • Reduce storage procedure from 12 to 2 hours

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