New System Implemented in South-East Bavarian Clinics for Fast Access to Virtual Desktops
As the largest healthcare services provider in southeast Bavaria, Kliniken Südostbayern employs around 4,500 staff to treat patients for a range of medical issues, from minor outpatient procedures to life-threatening illnesses. The medical care structures were expanded across all locations following the merger of hospitals in the districts of Berchtesgadener Land and Traunstein in 2009. Kliniken Südostbayern now offers a wide range of services, including geriatric medicine, neuroradiology, and pain therapy, at six different locations. The group treats over 160,000 outpatients and inpatients every year, with the Traunstein Clinic serving as the central clinic and the hub of the group's IT infrastructure. The central IT department is driving the digital transformation of the clinics with a modern hospital information system (HIS) and innovative robotics in operating theatres.
The most critical task for clinics is to ensure patient care around the clock. Digital solutions are becoming increasingly important for this reason. For example, clinics use electronic patient records (ePA) or mobile ward round trolleys to provide the best possible treatment and care for their patients.
A solid and efficient IT foundation is necessary for reliable digital processes, which requires a modern, largely virtualized infrastructure. Currently, the IT team manages over 700 virtual servers, with the amount of data continuously increasing. Those responsible must manage more and more medical and patient data, along with business HIS data. This increases storage requirements significantly, and the IT landscape of the clinics must be operational around the clock and fail-safe.
Fast digital processes and high infrastructure performance are necessary so that all users can work efficiently. However, the previous system was unable to adequately support demand, with users taking an average of 40 seconds to log on to their virtual desktop, regardless of whether they accessed their applications via PC, laptop, or tablet. This is much too long, for example, to quickly access medical data during rounds.
In order to increase performance when accessing virtual desktops, the clinics wanted to expand the previous data storage with two new all-flash storage systems and as the group is part of the critical infrastructure in Germany, the new solution had to comply with the KRITIS specifications.
In their search for a suitable storage solution, the team led by Thomas Windbichler from the IT department at Traunstein Hospital, turned to StorTrec AG, a partner company of Huawei. The IT service provider, which has been maintaining the clinics' server and storage systems for many years, recommended Huawei's all-flash storage solutions. Due to the required performance criteria, two Huawei OceanStor Dorado 3000 were selected.
First, the team from Traunstein learned about the solutions in detail through live demos at the Huawei European Research Center (ERC) in Munich. Afterwards, the hospitals tested the models within their infrastructure as part of a three-month proof of concept (PoC) project. The tests confirmed both the redundancy and resilience promised by Huawei and following this, StorTrec installed both storage systems in the hospitals' IT infrastructure within one day. Extensive failover tests and integration into the hospitals' live IT operations took place over a further two days.
An important backbone of the new installation is the Storage Area Network (SAN) based on the active-active storage solution Huawei HyperMetro. It enables the two storage systems to process services simultaneously and thus provide each other with a mutual backup. Should one storage system fail, the other automatically takes over the services - without data loss or interruption.
The OceanStor Dorado 3000, an all-flash storage solution, is designed to accommodate a storage volume of 30 terabytes (TB), enabling clinics to significantly accelerate access to virtual desktops. At all six locations, users now only require 10 seconds to log on to the virtual desktop, compared to the previous standard of 40 seconds. This represents a substantial time-saving, particularly given that approximately 1,600 users are accessing the storage solutions simultaneously.
The two OceanStor Dorado storage facilities are located in two different data centers at the hospitals. This fulfils the spatial separation required for critical infrastructures in different buildings and fire compartments. The systems are connected via a so-called quorum server and as an important component in the high availability concept, the server is located in a third data center where it continuously checks whether both storage systems are accessible. In this way, the hospitals can store all data redundantly and make it available without interruption in the event of an emergency.
In order to enable quick and secure access to virtual desktops in future, the clinics are planning to expand the Huawei storage systems by another 30 TB. To this end, Thomas Windbichler's team is already considering the use of even larger all-flash storage models such as the Huawei OceanStor Dorado 5000.
"Thanks to the Huawei OceanStor Dorado 3000, our users can log on to their virtual desktops faster. Instead of a delay of 40 seconds, they only need 10 seconds to do so."
IT Department, Traunstein Hospital