Healthcare Disaster Recovery Case Study: Health Quest Cuts DR Costs in Half

  • Disaster Recovery

How Health Quest Seamlessly Integrated Physical Servers and VMware Into New Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery Strategy While Following HIPAA Regulations

Health Quest was facing an upcoming hardware and licensing refresh of its eight-year-old secondary data center. However, the existing site was already falling behind infrastructure demands so Health Quest decided to seek a cloud solution that could help avoid the capital outlay for the hardware/licensing refresh and support the company’s growing disaster recovery needs.

Using CloudEndure, Health Quest has cut its disaster recovery costs in half, decreased its real-world Recovery Point Objective (RPO) to two minutes, and enjoyed smooth implementation in its chosen cloud platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Company

Located in New York, Health Quest is an integrated delivery healthcare system that services 250 doctors in four hospitals across the Hudson Valley area. With more than 6,000 employees, Health Quest supports award-winning hospitals and highly-ranked specialty care. The company’s services are focused on providing an accessible continuum of care.

The Challenge

In the healthcare industry, many different systems operate interdependently, which makes it difficult to achieve IT resiliency. And with HIPAA (government regulations for safeguarding medical information) requiring all services to be covered by a robust disaster recovery plan, healthcare organizations face significant challenges for supporting new technology.

“Eight years ago, we implemented a small secondary data center for disaster recovery. We had a disaster recovery strategy, but it wasn’t a comprehensive one,” said Rob Gilliland, CTO at Health Quest.

While Health Quest was able to protect hundreds of servers with its secondary disaster recovery site, the strategy wasn’t sufficient for a greater number of servers. Based on their previous strategy, the solution would have been to purchase additional servers. However, because the old strategy and infrastructure were never able to achieve the four-hour Recovery Point Objective (RPO), the team decided to work with Annese, a ConvergeOne Company to find a new, cloud-based disaster recovery solution that could support its mix of physical and virtual servers.

Related: Find out how you measure up in seconds with our new Disaster Recovery benchmarking tool

The Solution

The pressure of HIPAA compliance led Health Quest to evaluate a few different cloud solutions that could enhance its disaster recovery. “We needed to make sure that, because we aren’t a huge IT shop, if we picked a vendor, we’d be able to use managed services to ensure our systems are replicated properly and that the environment is healthy,” said Gilliland. “When we compared solutions on this parameter and our need to mix VMware and physical servers, only CloudEndure fit the bill.”

The proof of concept process included Health Quest choosing a few of its critical applications and deploying them in AWS. With the ongoing guidance of Annese, the IT team was able to spin up systems and infrastructure using CloudEndure without any data loss or application access issues.

“We had to get up to speed with training on our side,” said Mike Close, Server Team Lead at Health Quest. “But if you take away this training period and we could have just hit the ground running, the technical work for the proof of concept only would have taken a couple of days.”

After the successful proof of concept, Health Quest moved forward implementing CloudEndure Disaster Recovery on hundreds of servers, including multiple checkpoints for point-in-time recovery.

Results

Since implementing CloudEndure Disaster Recovery, Health Quest has reduced the size of its secondary data center so that it is only responsible for a small subset of disaster recovery. “The majority of our disaster recovery is sitting in the cloud with CloudEndure,” said Gilliland. And the financial impact? According to Gilliland, “This downsizing has already resulted in about 50% cost savings.”

Moreover, now that CloudEndure has become part of normal operations, Health Quest’s real-world Recovery Point Objective (RPO) has dropped to two minutes in most cases.

Another key benefit that Health Quest has enjoyed is the single pane of glass interface. In the past, coordinating disaster recovery testing was time consuming — sometime taking several weeks as the IT team managed recovery issues. “With CloudEndure, all we have to do is log into the CloudEndure website and we can see everything in real time,” explained Gilliland. “This helps us create a fluid testing process and stay on top of the whole DR environment. In a fast-paced IT department that is undermanned, having CloudEndure’s simple management and expert support staff is very helpful.”

Insider Tips

When asked about what tips he can provide other companies that are interested in utilizing CloudEndure Disaster Recovery, Close said: “From a rollout perspective, just plan on staggering client environments so you don’t get timeouts. This is only for the initial deployment because CloudEndure looks at the entire block. After the first rollout, everything moves smoothly.”

Rus Healy, Chief Technology Architect at Annese, added: “In the case of applications with hard-coded IP addresses, we suggest configuring the blueprints to recover machines with the same IP addresses they have on-premises.”

More Case Studies