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Based in Toronto, CAMH is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and one of the world’s leading research centres in the field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. Approximately 3,000 employees work in CAMH facilities across Ontario.


To deliver on its promise of patient-centred care, CAMH must provide physicians and staff with applications and data around the clock. CAMH tried three separate backup products to fulfill this promise, but slow and unreliable recovery threatened downtime and added complication to business processes, such as industry audits, software upgrades and web development.


  • Helps deliver on promise of patient-centered care
  • Simplifies business processes to better serve the business
  • Enables aggressive and proactive software and system upgrades

The Business Challenge

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) helps transform the lives of more than 30,000 patients each year through comprehensive care and innovative services that support healing and recovery. CAMH’s promise is to deliver the right care at the right time in the right place.

“Health care is heavily reliant on information technology,” said Alan Tang, Team Lead of the Web & Portal Information Management Group at CAMH. “In order to deliver on our promise of patient-centered care, our physicians and staff need 24x7 access to applications and data.”

Tang and his colleagues tried three separate backup products to ensure round-theclock availability, but the results were always the same. Slow, unreliable recovery of their Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) made CAMH vulnerable to downtime and data loss. Slow, unreliable recovery also complicated critical business processes, such as upgrading Microsoft SharePoint, which is used throughout the organisation to document staff training, scheduling and procedures. To eliminate these vulnerabilities, CAMH sought a solution to guarantee 24x7 availability.

CAMH faced one more challenge – data growth. Data was growing by up to 25% each year, primarily in SharePoint and public-facing web sites that patients and their families rely on for vital resources, such as emergency treatment information. CAMH needed a highly scalable availability solution to ensure the organisation continues to deliver on its promise.

The Veeam Solution

CAMH chose Veeam®. Veeam Backup & Replication™ helps CAMH deliver patient-centred care by ensuring physicians and staff have 24x7 access to applications and data, regardless of data growth. Veeam also helped CAMH transform and simplify business processes, including auditing, software updates and web development.

“Veeam is the only availability solution we have used that makes us confident in our recovery plans. Knowing we have reliable backups and replicas to restore from is huge. Being able to deliver information 24x7 and meet our DR requirements without blood, sweat and tears is tremendous. Plus, the ease with which we can move forward with a web change, software patch, system upgrade and industry audit without anxiety and hesitation helps us serve the organisation better.”

As a health care provider, CAMH performs regular DR testing to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

“During an audit, we have to prove we can deliver IT services within a reasonable amount of time following a disaster. It’s so easy to demonstrate compliance with Veeam. We pull up backups and replicas and restore from them in minutes.”

Veeam also helped CAMH become innovative and agile in software and system upgrades by taking advantage of the many capabilities of the Virtual Lab.

“We are confident, aggressive and proactive with upgrades for several reasons,” Tang said. “We test software patches and upgrades in Veeam’s Virtual Lab before putting them into production; we know if we run into a problem a Veeam backup is our safety net. We also migrate VMs from old hardware to new hardware quickly and easily with replication.”

Tang and his colleagues do a fair amount of web development, which tends to iterate fairly quickly. Veeam transformed this business process as well.

“We test automation code before pushing it up to our web site and we test SSL patches to keep our sites secure,” he said. “Our goal is for CAMH to be up and running at all times, but we want IT to be invisible. Veeam plays a big role in helping us meet our goal.”

The Results

  • Helps deliver on promise of patient-centered care
    CAMH has zero tolerance for downtime and data loss. Veeam eliminates the risk of downtime and data loss through reliable, high-speed replication and fast recovery. CAMH restores data in minutes by recovering VMs from Veeam backups onsite or via rapid failover to Veeam replicas offsite.
  • Simplifies business processes to better serve the business
    “Complying with regulatory requirements is based on time to recover and recovery points,” Tang said. “We can demonstrate compliance with Veeam easily; we just pull up backups and replicas and restore from them.”
  • Enables aggressive and proactive software and system upgrades
    “Veeam gives us a level of confidence we never had about upgrades because we can test them in Veeam’s Virtual Lab before putting them into production,” Tang said. “If we run into issues once the upgrades go into production, we have access to our data through backups and replicas. Veeam gives us a safety net and peace of mind.”
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