The business challenges
The Steiermärkische Krankenanstaltengesellschaft (KAGes) with over 18,000 employees is one of the largest health care facilities in Europe and is today the largest private employer in Styria. The company was founded in 1985, when the previously state-administered provincial hospitals were transferred to a company under private law, 100 percent of which is owned by the Province of Styria. In 2013, KAGes also took over the four provincial care centres in Styria.
Today, the employees of the KAGes are available around the clock at 26 locations for the patients and their relatives. Every year more than 250,000 patients are treated as inpatients and almost one million people are treated as outpatients. The range of medical and nursing services offered is geared entirely to the needs of the population. It ranges from basic acute medical care to maximum top medical care at the LKH University Hospital Graz, which is one of the best medical research and teaching facilities in Austria.
Digital technologies are playing an increasingly important role in the diverse workflows at the KAGes' facilities. Doctors, nursing staff and other specialists need fast and reliable access to all relevant information in every situation. "The availability and integrity of patient data is our top priority," says Robert Ferk, Team Leader IT Basic Services in the OU IT Infrastructure and Administrative Systems at KAGes Services. "If laboratory results, x-rays or other digitally stored information are not available, this can delay important treatment steps.”
The OU IT Infrastructure and Administrative Systems (IAS) within KAGes Services has therefore set up a redundant infrastructure. All important applications for the IT operation of the state hospitals and nursing facilities run there.
In recent years, however, not only have the requirements for reliability grown - the number of applications and services used has also increased significantly. "Today we operate more than a thousand physical and virtual servers with a considerable total volume," explains DI (FH) Herbert Ziegler, Team Leader IT Basic Services in the OE IT Infrastructure and Administrative Systems at KAGes Services. "In the course of the digital transformation of our processes, these figures will continue to rise. We were therefore looking for a backup solution for the future that would keep pace with this growth and help us to reliably cover all workloads, whether physical or virtual.”
The Veeam solution
After a market sounding and extensive tests of different products, the KAGes decided to use Veeam® Backup & Replication™. "In the proof-of-concept, we were really impressed by the range of functions, the usability and the price/performance ratio of the Veeam solution," says Robert Ferk. "In a nutshell, Veeam enables us to do more with less effort - faster recovery at significantly lower costs.”
The two team leaders confirm that the administrative effort for backing up the server infrastructure has decreased significantly since the introduction of the new solution. All physical and virtual workloads can be backed up, restored and replicated from a central console, regardless of the service.
The granular recovery functions of the new solution save administrators a great deal of time: Veeam Explorer for services such as Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory make it possible to recover individual application objects in a targeted manner. This means that lost e-mails or contacts can be restored very quickly - without the need to restore complete Exchange servers or databases.
With the replication function of the Veeam solution, KAGes has also brought the availability of its applications to a new level. In the meantime, the IT organization not only backs up the data of all workloads at the main locations, but also replicates them regularly to a remote location. There, the data is stored on disk and can be restored directly over the network if required. Physical data carriers no longer have to be moved between locations. The Veeam solution therefore also plays an important role in KAGes' disaster recovery strategy.
The IT organization uses Veeam's Instant VM Recovery® technology to quickly recover critical workloads. This allows failed virtual machines to be restarted directly from the backup. The team leaders also appreciate the good interaction between the Veeam technology, and the storage systems used. For example, backups can be created directly from storage snapshots without affecting the performance of the production environment. "Live migrations of virtual machines are also possible at any time during the backup process - a major improvement over the software previously used," says DI (FH) Herbert Ziegler.
"With the Veeam solution, we are now in a position to exceed our RTO and RPO goals," sums up Robert Ferk. "We seem to be well prepared for the challenges ahead".
Significantly reduce administration and running costs: IT can back up, replicate and recover all virtual and physical workloads from a central management console. The ease-of-use and granular recovery capabilities pay off for the KAGes: The administration effort for data backup has been significantly reduced.