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Sky Lakes Medical Center Lowers PACS TCO with Cisco and Cohesity

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Healthcare Provider Cuts Data Restore Time

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At a Glance

As IT staff looked to replace aging data center infrastructure, Sky Lakes recognized that a joint solution from strategic partners Cisco and Cohesity would provide modern, more efficient data management.

Challenges

As the renewal of its aging Commvault backup product neared, the Sky Lakes Information Services (IS) team was interested in evaluating new backup and data management approaches that were easier to use and would drive further efficiencies.

Solution

Sky Lakes set up Cohesity to manage backup and unstructured data while continuing to use Cisco HyperFlex for primary data on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers with Cisco Intersight as the single management user interface for both.

Results

The integrated Cisco–Cohesity solution is one, easy-to-use data management platform for all Sky Lakes engineers to perform backups and DR as well as handle file and object services. Cohesity has simplified everyday tasks and lowered PACS costs.

Overview

Sky Lakes Medical Center is a not-for-profit teaching hospital serving more than 80,000 people in south-central Oregon and northern California. Quality and cost matter in healthcare and that’s why Sky Lakes Medical Center works hard to optimize IT investments and direct limited IT budget and resources to the best technology solutions. As IT staff looked to replace aging data center infrastructure, Sky Lakes recognized that a joint solution from strategic partners Cisco and Cohesity would provide modern, more efficient data management. Confident in their new easy-to-manage platform, with reliable and simplified backup and disaster recovery (DR) solution, and a cost-efficient picture archiving and communications system (PACS) file storage, Sky Lakes is giving IT staff more time to do other important work.

Challenges

The refresh of Sky Lakes data center infrastructure to Cisco HyperFlex, a hyperconverged compute, storage, and networking system, enabled the healthcare provider’s lean IT staff to reduce the management costs and operational burdens of three different solutions and vendor contracts. So as the renewal of its aging Commvault backup product neared, the Sky Lakes Information Services (IS) team was interested in evaluating new backup and data management approaches that were easier to use and would drive further efficiencies. The goal was to give engineers greater bandwidth to proactively fulfill all of the daily requests.

“We are a small IT staff that needs to cover all of the systems we have running,” explains John Gaede, Director of IS at Sky Lakes Medical Center. “To be most effective, we have to take advantage of newer technologies because in healthcare, we never have enough money, people, or time to do all of the things we want to do.”

On Cisco’s recommendation and soon after seeing it perform, Sky Lakes purchased the modern Cohesity data management platform. It quickly set up Cohesity to manage backup and unstructured data while continuing to use Cisco HyperFlex for primary (latency-sensitive) data on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers with Cisco Intersight as the single management user interface for both.

Solution

Sky Lakes was among the first to test and deploy the now validated Cisco–Cohesity 40G design. Its engineers found Cohesity much faster to set up and far easier to use than its prior data management product. There is no more manually adding servers to the backup queue because Cohesity automatically adds each virtual machine (VM) and workload while enabling Sky Lakes IT to tag only those it does not want to have backed up. This prevents the previously challenging scenario of IT scrambling to do a restore on a server that had been operational for months but never backed up. Cisco Intersight reduces IT operations time and enables oversight of the entire infrastructure, including Cisco HyperFlex and Cohesity-certified Cisco UCS nodes. 

Sky Lakes sees tremendous value in Cohesity DataPlatform because it supports multiple data management use cases. In addition to modern backup, Sky Lakes relies on Cohesity SmartFiles, a software-defined solution for files and objects that goes beyond traditional scale-out NAS. Complementary to Cisco HyperFlex, SmartFiles helps reduce Sky Lakes PACS total cost of ownership (TCO) by using Cisco HyperFlex as a cache tier for radiology images, such as x-rays and CT scans, and Cohesity DataPlaform as an archive tier. As a result, Sky Lakes no longer uses more costly primary storage for PACS archives. The healthcare provider expects to deploy the same configuration for its camera systems.

Sky Lakes IT staff finds data restores are faster and simpler with Cohesity. When someone accidentally deleted a drive on a server with oncology electronic medical records, Cohesity not only restored the data with integrity, which if had been an emergency could help save lives, but also several hours faster than the legacy product could. In another case, a PACS vendor corrupted an SQL database at 6:30 p.m. and contacted an engineer who was able to quickly log into Cohesity remotely, discover the last fully hydrated backup from 30 minutes prior, and completely restore the entire database in 2 minutes and 40 seconds. This would have taken hours with the previous backup product.

Sky Lakes has been diligent about executing Windows patches on all of its servers. Yet more than once when patching has broken a server, IT has been able to do a fast restore—in one case, bringing back a server with separate VMs and SQL backups to different time periods.

Additionally, Cohesity bolsters the Sky Lakes DR strategy. Cohesity DataPlatform running on Cisco UCS is used as a bi-directional replication target, enabling the provider to have two, high-capacity sites mirroring each other for DR.

“We’re trying to deliver quality healthcare with limited budget and resources,” Gaede explains. “Cohesity is reliable and on top of that, we get the ease of use value and the speed at which it performs. All of Cohesity’s innovation helps our engineers do something immediately and then quickly move to the next task.”

We are getting more work done than ever, which I attribute to both our talented team and the very strategic investments we’ve made in Cisco and Cohesity. There is 100% consensus among our engineers that Cohesity works reliably, is easy to use, and we can all be productive with it. That’s powerful.”

John Gaede, Director of IS, Sky Lakes Medical Center

Results

The integrated Cisco–Cohesity solution is one, easy-to-use data management platform for all Sky Lakes engineers to perform backups and DR as well as handle file and object services. Cohesity has simplified everyday tasks and lowered PACS costs. It has also reduced staff stress because now engineers don’t need to spend an hour or two remembering steps and creating a backup policy every time a new server is added. Cohesity frees engineering expertise to focus elsewhere. 

High-performance Cohesity indexing and search across the IT environment empowers Sky Lakes engineers to more quickly find specific information when they need it most. For example, IT completed a file search with Cohesity spanning NAS backups of Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Windows Servers clustered file server considerably faster than Microsoft’s own products could do. Sky Lakes plans to completely transition from Microsoft products in favor of Cohesity View, the NFS or SMB file share with an S3 compatible object-store. 

Sky Lakes has completed a number of restores in record time with Cohesity. Recently, an accidentally deleted folder from a group file was restored in 45 seconds—from log in to recovery—to the delight of the user.

With the joint Cisco–Cohesity solution, Sky Lakes has achieved these benefits:

  • Simpler, more efficient backup and DR
  • Lower PACS system TCO—Cisco HyperFlex for a cache tier & Cohesity for an archive tier
  • Zero time spent creating policies for new servers
  • Record time restores—from hours to minutes 
  • Reduced IT management with one platform for both data protection and file services 


About Sky Lakes Medical Center
Sky Lakes Medical Center is a not-for-profit, community-owned, internationally accredited acute-care teaching hospital dedicated to the people it serves. As a leader in the healthcare industry, Sky Lakes is also an economic and social asset for the community. Sky Lakes serves more than 80,000 people in Klamath and Lake counties in south-central Oregon, and Modoc and Siskiyou counties in northern California.

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