The local healthcare authority (L'Azienda Sanitaria Locale n.1) in the province of L’Aquila in Italy has chosen a Kemp load balancing solution to secure a disaster recovery infrastructure to ensure business continuity across its sites in the event of a natural disaster, manmade disaster, data centre crash or power outage.
The local healthcare authority, ASL n.1, is situated in the Province of L'Aquila which is the largest province of the Abruzzo region in Southern Italy and an area sensitive to earthquakes. On the 6th of April 2009 the area suffered the deadliest earthquake to hit Italy since 1980. The quake measured 5.9 on the Richter scale causing 308 fatalities and widespread damage to the area.
The ASL n.1 is responsible for managing the healthcare system for the 310.000 inhabitants that live in the province. This encompasses managing a total of 4 main hospitals, 2 local healthcare support centres and 10 district primary caregeneral practices distributed over 60 sites. The ASL n.1 network infrastructure supports a total of 1800 users.
Ecobtye deployed a cluster of Kemp LoadMaster™ devices in its main data centre with an additional LoadMaster in the backup site. This solution manages a heavy volume of email and other business critical application traffic. The authority processes approximately 300 genuine emails an hour between active users and 100 internal server connections including web and remote desktop.
The objective of the project was to create a disaster recovery infrastructure between the L’Aquila and Avezzano sites, to guarantee business continuity, even in the case of natural disaster, as well as maintaining high availability of the authority’s business critical services such as email and server applications. The solution needed to be designed in such a way to ensure zero interruption to access to crucial data such as patient records, surgery schedules, prescriptions and test results. Any healthcare entity processes a mass of patient data and documents each day. The ASL n.1 uses the Kemp LoadMaster™ solution to ensure its core Microsoft Exchange email and document management systems remain available 99.9% of the time. At the same time the load balancers enhance the performance of the applications for the 1800 ASL n.1 users that access them in their daily work.
Due to the nature of their business, healthcare entities such as ASL 1 -- must maintain a high degree of system and network availability. Patients' lives may depend on systems being up and running, and patients' health could be jeopardized by lack of access to key applications that the doctors and consultants use each day.
“There is a big difference between a high-availability healthcare network and a high-availability business network.” comments Di Stefano, Head of IT Services at the ASL n.1 “No-one suffers personal harm (potentially very serious harm) when a business network crashes.”
The LoadMaster™ products including the GSLB (Geographical Site Load Balancing) features are an essential component to include when making a contingency plan for disaster recovery. Kemp’s load balancers provide a 24/7 health check of the customer’s servers and the business-critical applications that run on them. In the event that technical failure or downtime are detected the GSLB features are triggered automatically and seamlessly direct the users to the disaster recovery site where the applications can be accessed until the customer’s main site is back online again. This solution from Kemp delivers seamless performance and high availability of critical line of business applications, internet facing web services and corporate intranets.
“Unfortunately earthquakes mark the history of our province here so having highly-available applications is critical. Server load balancing is essential for healthcare entities like ours so that service delivery can be controlled and managed – and if need be, reallocated — in the event of a disaster or downtime. With the Kemp LoadMaster™ Application Delivery Controller, server load balancing – in a disaster or during a regular business day — is completely seamless.”
“Agile organizations require end-to-end technology deployments that can support them as their application performance requirements grow.” comments Stefano Bisceglia, for Kemp. “Aside from delivering high availability, the Kemp’s LoadMaster™ delivers comprehensive performance combined with content switching, data compression and caching. This is a great solution for mid-range, dynamic and expanding infrastructures.”
"Thanks to Kemp Technologies we have been able to provide a high performance solution for fast deployment and the safeguard of critical business platforms," comments Giuseppe Gruosso, Corporate Account Manager Ecobyte Technology. "In a short turnaround time it was possible to make critical applications available whilst at the same time fully accommodating the customer’s business model and the large number of users that access the network services daily."
Given the nature of what we do, it is imperative that we have the ability to safeguard the IT infrastructure in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.Di Stefano