In the last eight years, First Hospital of Qinhuangdao has grown rapidly— from 1,400 beds and 3,000 outpatients per day before to 2,000 beds and 5,500 outpatients per day on average.
Zhi Mao, Deputy Director of Information Center at First Hospital of Qinhuangdao, elaborates: “During peak periods, our daily volumes can reach 6,000 outpatients, which is almost double the typical number of visitors eight years ago. To meet the increasing demand for healthcare services, we have significantly expanded our hospital buildings as well as our digital services.”
First Hospital of Qinhuangdao’s digital systems now include a wide range of healthcare solutions, including a healthcare information (HIS), laboratory information (LIS) and picture archiving and communication (PACS) systems. Today, specialties such as critical care, blood transfusion and dialysis depend on multiple systems to deliver patient care.
Zhi Mao continues: “Many of our digital systems are integrated with one another, creating dependencies that didn’t exist previously. Ensuring high levels of reliability across our entire solution portfolio is therefore extremely important, because unplanned downtime in one system can have serious impacts on others.”
To support its digital tools, First Hospital of Qinhuangdao uses an on-premises environment comprising five virtualized server clusters based on 27 enterprise servers running 700 VMware virtual machines.
“In the past, we created regular backups of our HIS system to a separate backup appliance—but for our other solutions, we relied on database snapshots stored on the local storage of the VM host machine,” explains Zhi Mao. “We rely on these applications to manage our electronic medical records, patient test results, insurance records and more. To cut the risk of downtime and ensure we can deliver healthcare services 24/7, we looked for an enterprise-class data protection solution.”
To ensure comprehensive backup coverage and fast recovery for its missioncritical healthcare systems, First Hospital of Qinhuangdao selected Veeam Backup & Replication.
“Our selection process narrowed down the possible solutions to two vendors,” says Zhi Mao. “While one of the options had a marginally lower cost, Veeam excelled in all the key criteria that we set out to evaluate. One of the main areas that Veeam stood out was its Continuous Data Protection [CDP] technology. With CDP, we can keep data loss to a minimum in a recovery scenario, because our VM replicas are stored in a ready-to-start state. We also felt that Veeam Backup & Replication outperformed the other vendor’s solution when it came to ease of use, functionality and backup efficiency—so in the end, it was an easy choice.”
Working with Veeam partner Hebei Yuncong Weihe Information Technology Co., Ltd., the organization has deployed a brand-new backup and disaster recovery capability for round-the-clock data protection.
“Veeam is highly compatible with VMware, and it was very straightforward to integrate the new solution into our existing IT environment,” recalls Zhi Mao. “In fact, I believe that Veeam has the best integration with VMware of all the data protection solutions I evaluated. For example, there are many open interfaces between the two ecosystems, and we can even use Veeam to push VMware vSphere Installation Bundles [VIBs] directly to our servers.”
By deploying the Veeam solution, First Hospital of Qinhuangdao has achieved its goal of delivering high levels of protection for its missioncritical healthcare systems. The organization has achieved a recovery point objective (RPO) of as little as 30 seconds, and recovery time objectives (RTOs) of between 5 and 60 minutes for key systems.
“With Veeam, there’s no need for us to shut down a VM if we want to migrate a machine to another host CPU, which is a brilliant advantage when it comes to business continuity,” comments Zhi Mao. “In the past, we would often migrate our VMs at night in an effort to minimize disruption to our clinicians and back-office staff—but the affected systems would still be offline for up to three hours. Today, we can migrate our VMs at any time and with no impact on hospital operations, which is testament to just how well Veeam and VMware are integrated.”
First Hospital of Qinhuangdao has now been using Veeam for over two years, and recently upgraded to latest version of Veeam Backup & Replication— allowing the organization to further enhance its data protection capabilities.
“Since we upgraded the Veeam solution, we’ve been making greater use of CDP technology, which is now even more flexible and user-friendly,” says Zhi Mao. “For example, CDP means that there’s no need for us to take snapshots of multiple systems simultaneously. Because each VM replica is updated in real time, we can reduce the risk of I/O bottlenecks and extend the life of our storage hardware.”
Looking ahead, First Hospital of Qinhuangdao believes it has the optimal data protection coverage for its ever-growing organization.
“When I talk about Veeam with my peers, one thing I consistently praise is the robustness of the solution,” says Zhi Mao. “If Veeam Backup & Replication encounters an issue such as a backup VM switching off or the backup host going offline, we can recover the systems without any human intervention or impact on the hospital.”
Zhi Mao concludes: “When it comes to delivering care, protecting our digital systems against downtime is just as important as protecting our buildings from a fire. It gives me great confidence knowing that we can now recover rapidly with Veeam when we need to.”
Reduces RPO to as little as 30 seconds, minimizing the risk of data loss.
“Since deploying Veeam, we’ve cut down our RPO from four hours initially to as little as 30 seconds today, thanks to CDP technology,” says Zhi Mao.
Cuts RTO to one hour on average, enabling rapid recovery.
“Downtime in our IT systems can severely impact our ability to deliver patient care,” explains Zhi Mao. “Thanks to Veeam, we can get our systems back up and running quickly, which helps us to avoid lengthy patient backlogs building up.
Proven to help restore front-line services rapidly in real-world scenarios.
“Soon after we went live with Veeam, we experienced an issue with our system for managing patient test results,” says Zhi Mao. “We rely on this system 24/7, so getting it up and running again was crucial. We restored the system within 60 minutes, which really shows the value of a disaster recovery solution like Veeam.”