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Kindred Healthcare

Healthcare Company Monitors Wellbeing of VMs in HP Operations Manager

Company:

Kindred Healthcare, Inc. is a healthcare services company that operates more than 300 facilities across the United States including hospitals, nursing centers and contract rehabilitation centers.

Challenge:

Needed deeper visibility into VMware so the IT team can identify and resolve issues before they affect users.

Results:

  • In-depth visibility enables proactive problem resolution
  • Customizable reports provide detailed VMware performance data
  • Customer support team goes the extra mile to meet monitoring needs

The Business Challenge

As soon as the virtualization process began at Kindred Healthcare, Inc., the IT team focused on enterprise management. Team members had used HP Operations Manager since 2002 and had spent a good deal of time customizing it to meet their management needs.

“We were getting all the reports and alerts we needed through Operations Manager to take care of our physical environment, but we needed a monitoring and management solution with deeper visibility and better reporting for our virtual environment. We also wanted direct reporting in Operations Manager,” said Todd Broadbent, Data Center Architect for Kindred Healthcare.

Approximately 80% of the IT infrastructure at Kindred Healthcare has been virtualized on VMware vSphere. More than 1,800 virtual machines (VMs) run critical services such as SAP and Meditech, an electronic health record system.

“Most of what we do on a daily basis runs on VMs, so it’s really important that we have comprehensive, in-depth monitoring of the virtual environment so we can see and fix issues before they become problems and affect our users,” Broadbent said. “We were concerned we wouldn’t find a VMware monitoring and management solution that would provide really deep visibility and integrate completely with our highly customized HP system, but then someone told us about Veeam.”

The Veeam Solution

Kindred Healthcare added the Veeam® Smart Plug-in™ (SPI) to deeply monitor VMware using HP Operations Manager. With 500+ deployments worldwide, Veeam SPI helps organizations manage their physical and virtual infrastructures, applications and dependencies from a single console, eliminating the need for additional monitoring frameworks.

“We were impressed with the Veeam SPI from the start because it’s a preemptive solution like no other,” Broadbent said. “The SPI immediately creates a ticket in Operations Manager, so we’re alerted to problems right away. Not only does the SPI tell us if there’s a problem with our VMs, it also tells us what users are affected and what applications need to be tested. We’re also really impressed by its integration with HP Operations Manager, even with our highly customized model.”

The Veeam SPI integrates fully with both HP Operations Manager and VMware. It enables all Operations Manager functionality—including alerts, service maps, dashboards, reporting, auditing, notifications, responses and automation - for all VMware components such as vCenter Server, clusters, hosts, virtual machines, storage and hardware. It includes a detailed health model with hundreds of metrics and events, including advanced metrics such as disk pressure, memory pressure and disk IOPS.

“We’ve created customized reports with the Veeam SPI that tell us exactly where we are on a day-to-day basis so we can add more horsepower if necessary,” Broadbent said. “We always know where we stand and if we need to add more VMs or move VMs around in the clusters. At the end of each day, we know the VMware installation is copacetic. This solution is rock solid. We never have a problem with it. What more can you ask of a product?”

Adam Haysley, Consulting Systems Programmer for Kindred Healthcare, played a key role in choosing the Veeam SPI. He said he and his colleagues were impressed from the start with the number of events they could see.

“The SPI helps us to be proactive in problem resolution, which saves time in the long run,” Haysley explained. “For example, one time we lost a number of servers. Without the Veeam SPI, we would have been mining for days to understand what happened. Instead, we discovered the problem, fixed it and all the servers came right back up. We are required to report exactly what happens in these types of situations, and the Veeam SPI shines a bright light on the problem at hand.”

Haysley said it’s clear that Veeam engineers did their research before creating the SPI. “They know what’s important in managing VMware and how to anticipate problems. They also understand ease of use—the Veeam SPI works right out of the box. I only had to adjust one policy to get exactly what I wanted.”

According to Broadbent, Kindred Healthcare’s IT team had the opportunity to work directly with Veeam’s engineers.

“We needed a little extra help in customizing alerts,” he said. “In addition to helping us customize alerts, the Veeam team developed new alerts for us. I would recommend the Veeam SPI to all healthcare providers because it’s an excellent product with an excellent support team behind it.”

The Results

In-depth visibility enables proactive problem resolution

The Veeam SPI provides deep visibility into the VMware installation at Kindred Healthcare along with warnings and alerts so the IT team can identify and resolve issues before they affect users. “What matters most to us is the level of service we deliver to users, and the Veeam SPI helps us meet our service goals,” Broadbent said.

Customizable reports provide detailed VMware performance data

The Veeam SPI includes an extensive and growing library of reports, graphs and alerts that can be modified to fit specific VMware installations and HP systems like those at Kindred Healthcare. The Veeam SPI can be used with VMware environments of all sizes.

Customer support team goes the extra mile to meet monitoring needs

Veeam’s support staff helped Kindred Healthcare adapt the Veeam SPI to the company’s highly customized HP environment. “They worked with us every day until we felt like the SPI met every one of our monitoring needs, giving us complete visibility and enabling easy management of VMware in Operations Manager,” Broadbent concluded.

Kindred Healthcare
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