Transition: Physical to Virtual

One of our clients, a specialized care provider who operates several different physical locations and has hundreds of care givers and thousands of patients, decided it was time for a refresh.

While their aspirations were large, their budget was constrained. This caused a dialogue to open about methods to get the maximum impact of the refresh with minimum out of pocket cost and maximum technology reuse.

After exploring many options, the client determined the refresh would be best as a two step process, first moving applications and services into an Application Landscape and then providing Virtual Desktops to end-users.

In order to create that landscape, targeted upgrades to the client’s server infrastructure and storage were made and virtualization software installed and configured on the target. Over a period of weeks, the client’s services and applications were migrated to the Application Landscape so smoothly the Chief Operating Officer had to as the CIO “When is the server migration going to happen?” not realizing it was complete.

The second phase of the project began with an inventory of end-user requirements and usage patterns. It was determined that a mix of virtual clients would be required to meet the varied needs of staff. A Kiosk, mobile desktop, and traditional desktops would be encapsulated as virtual machine images and projected into the various end-user devices. Using this approach, ePHI controls could be maintained and standard software versions and patches could be more sensibly managed.

One of the chief concerns in taking this approach was end-user performance. The design center was such that a pool of client virtual machines was always available for an end-user to attach to and use. This rendered the concerns moot and the end-users reported better performance than the prior approach.

The client is continuing to get benefits from the Application Landscape and Virtual Desktops. According to their estimates, the ongoing costs amount to approximately 60% of the alternative approach. And that is, as they say, real money.

Scaling with Resilience

Our clients value their privacy, so we’ll share the general shape of this journey rather than specifics that might serve to identify.

A little more than a decade ago, a local startup came to visit us with a gleam in their eyes, to determine how best to put their core concept on the internet. While no one thought to coin the term “big data” – that’s what their application was, a big data and analytics play in the healthcare segment.

Scaling with resilience was the most challenging part of their project. As they added new clients, the amount of data managed began to grow quickly and then exponentially. The need for segmentation of the client’s data and protection of all the data, meant that the engineered solution had to be thoughtful and thorough.

By creating a private HIPAA compliant cloud environment, where a virtual machine was dedicated to each client, and replicated across our data centers, the startup was able to grow their offering quickly and securely.

Fast forward to 2015, the startup had grown up and recruited hundreds of clients using their software colocated and managed in our HIPAA data centers. Over the next year, the startup was in high-demand and was acquired and successfully integrated into a larger company’s portfolio.