Virtualisation at the Heart of a Health Provider’s Disaster Recovery Planning

A recent article on the website describes how a health provider in Indiana, US, put in place IT virtualisation to manage a number of challenges, including disaster recovery planning. One of the big changes was moving from a situation where a breakdown in a physical server threatened the welfare of hundreds of individuals, to a virtualised solution that not only avoided this risk, but that also provided overall visibility and control of systems and desktops. It took the arrival of a new system administrator to convince the health provider’s management that the back-up methods and DR planning at the time were inadequate.

Besides the continuing welfare of patients (and staff), the health provider now using virtualisation also had two other big requirements. Firstly, with tight scheduling of patient appointments and doctors’ interventions, uptime was critical. Secondly, as staff moved around the different establishments within the health provider’s organisation, they required access to the provider’s IT systems via Internet and in some cases via mobile devices. The virtualisation has allowed uptime to be maintained, together with the management of BYOD. Disaster recovery planning is taken care of both in terms of the distribution and redundancy over the virtual systems, and the possibility to take snapshots of systems before upgrades to cover the possible need to revert to previous configurations.

With all these apparent advantages and the use of virtualisation by an organisation where data security and confidentiality are both crucial, why would any other company hesitate in moving physical systems out and virtual systems in? If the cloud resource provider is reliable and the solution is scalable both up and down, the only reason for not moving to a virtual solution would be a lack of knowhow in running and managing such a virtual environment. If so, in a few more training course cycles, we should see virtualisation become the solution of choice for organisations in general.