Aragon Health Services Ensures the Availability of Critical Medical Equipment with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

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September 12, 2012

In order to improve the performance and organization of its technological infrastructure, the healthcare provider has consolidated its information systems into various datacenters, parts of which have been virtualized using Red Hat® Enterprise Virtualization ®.

Customer: Aragon Health Services’ Integrated Corporate Projects Management Centre

“We have made a strong commitment to Red Hat technology, and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provides a solid platform for our critical infrastructures.” Francisco Javier Martón Aguirre, Assistant director of systems architecture, Aragon Health Services

Geography: EMEA
Country: Spain


Business Challenge:

In order to improve the performance and organization of its technological infrastructure, the healthcare provider needed to consolidate its information systems into various datacenters.

Solution:

Aragon Health Services virtualized using Red Hat® Enterprise Virtualization ® and are centrally managed through a unified service management system.

Hardware:

Fujitsu and HP servers with two sockets and six cores by socket, with 96 GB RAM and consolidation of the inherited systems

Benefits:

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provides Aragon Health Services with the ability to manage its virtualized infrastructure in a more efficient manner. High availability is a vital function in highly critical services, such as the clinical laboratory or hospital emergency services that have to be available around the clock.

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Background:

Employing more than 22,000 people, Aragon Health Services is the Aragon Government’s (SALUD) largest public body. Providing healthcare to all citizens within its autonomous community, including primary, hospital, and specialized care, Aragon Health Services is divided into eight health care regions: Huesca, Barbastro, Teruel, Alcañiz, Calatayud, and three more sectors within Zaragoza, coordinated from the Central Services of the SALUD Management.

Business Challenge:

Technology innovation strategy

Previously, each healthcare sector within Aragon had its own independent server infrastructure, running the applications required. For example, the microbiology laboratory in Huesca hospital would buy its own servers; the ICU in Teruel hospital had a server for its own specific applications, and so on. Taken as a whole, this translates into wasted resources, as well as a major challenge for the technicians who support these services and need to guarantee that systems work effectively.

Three years ago, in order to make the best use of available technical resources, the Aragon Health Service launched a strategic plan for technology innovation by creating a central IT coordination service. This eventually transitioned to a model designed to unify the Health Services’ IT infrastructure, with a centralized datacenter hosting all the corporate and management applications. Furthermore, each healthcare sector has its own datacenter, housed in the sector’s reference hospital, which holds departmental applications such as primary care, hospital care, laboratories, and ICU data.

When designing and planning this new infrastructure, Aragon Health Services’ technicians came to the conclusion that in order to optimize their IT resources, they needed to implement a virtualization solution. For example, its primary care application requires many servers, but is rarely used intensively, so resource allocation for this application could be balanced using virtualization. Given that virtualization substantially reduces the number of physical servers, when rolled out, Aragon Health Services’ objective was to be able to host between 150-200 virtual machines, using only 20 servers.

Besides the primary care application, the new infrastructure based on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization supports a variety of workloads, including application servers, databases (MySQL and Postgres), integration engines and file servers, running on different virtualized operating systems. This infrastructure runs not only Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but also Windows 2003, 2008, CentOS, or Debian. The new storage system includes 2TB of network-attached storage (NAS) by NFS from NetAPP in the central facilities and an 600GB-average storage area network (SAN) for FCP from StorageTek in each of the regional sectors.

In addition, as the technicians will be working with a centralized IT system, a hosting model enables them to provide each service with the resources it needs. This not only benefits the work of the various organizations, but provides greater control over technology resources, better use of IT investment, and greater flexibility when it comes to making provisions for service requirements.

Solution:

Commitment to corporate open source

As a public administration body, the technology policy of the Government of Aragon is clearly committed to open source software. Aragon Health Services selected Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization after evaluating a variety of market options and determining that the current and future evolution of the product would provide the most benefit to the organization.

“When you have an open source-based tool, an upstream community is always contributing and developing the product, leading to a greater capacity for evolution compared to a proprietary product,” said Francisco Javier Martón Aguirre, assistant director of systems architecture at Aragon Health Services’ Integrated Corporate Projects Management Center. “Red Hat takes the best technology from the community, hardens it, and provides support for it in order to keep critical services like the hospital emergency room reliable. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization certifies the leading hardware and software manufacturers, and provides the guarantees we need to deploy infrastructures in critical environments. It also means that we can influence future technology and industry innovation through the unique contributions that Red Hat makes to the open source community and its partner ecosystem.”

Benefits:

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provides Aragon Health Services with the ability to manage its virtualized infrastructure in a more efficient manner. High availability is a vital function in highly critical services, such as the clinical laboratory or hospital emergency services that have to be available around the clock. Martón Aguirre says that “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization’s live migration functionality allows us to switch from one machine to another in a moment’s notice so we can perform unscheduled interventions. Provisioning templates allow us to deploy machines in 15 minutes, something which, beforehand, was a matter of hours or days. We have truly gained in agility and administration, all due to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.”

For Aragon Health Services, the decision to virtualize its platform by employing the solutions provided by Red Hat signifies a commitment to the future. As Martón Aguirre notes, “Red Hat offers a solid platform and professional service, but also a clear vision of its roadmap and attractive positioning. With Red Hat technology, we are able to plan for tomorrow and help service our patients more effectively today and years from now.”

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