As healthcare delivery becomes ever-more reliant on technology, the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) needed to upgrade its aging VMware environment
to keep pace with growing demands and maximize the availability of critical systems and data. Following an evaluation of several vendors, the infrastructure team selected Nutanix and its hypervisor (AHV) due to its superior approach to hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) and its attractive licensing costs, according to Giles Madin, Acting
Head of IT for SaTH.
The ability to deploy Nutanix in a phased migration was another plus. Starting with a four-node Nutanix cluster at each of their two locations, the SaTH team later doubled this capacity for a total of 16 nodes, with more planned as the migration continued.
Improving data backup and disaster recovery (DR) was a crucial goal of the infrastructure upgrade. Previously, data from SaTH’s two data center locations— including Windows active directories, DFS servers, and clinical servers running SQL—were backed up daily. The infrastructure team wanted to achieve more frequent snapshots, without negatively impacting production system performance.
Jaskaram Jandu, Senior Infrastructure Engineer for SaTH, says a systems integrator suggested HYCU to meet SaTH’s backup and DR objectives. “We saw HYCU at an industry conference and arranged a demo. We were quite impressed,” Jandu recalls, adding that HYCU’s tight integration with Nutanix was an important selling point, along with its simplicity of operation.
The SaTH infrastructure team gave the go-ahead to HYCU and were up and running quickly. Since SaTH does not have a dedicated DR site, each location backs up to the other. “The HYCU team advised us on the advantages and disadvantages of our approach and recommended backup policies for us. Being new to Nutanix, this was very helpful,” Jandu says.
HYCU’s application auto-discovery feature and 1-click backup dramatically simplifies setup. SaTH’s legacy product required each SQL server to be manually configured for backup. “This was a cumbersome task that relied on application owners promptly reporting all newly added SQL servers, which was not always the case,” Jandu says. “With HYCU, new SQL servers are discovered automatically and configuring backup for them is a 1-click operation, ensuring compliance and saving time.”
HYCU’s interface dovetails seamlessly with Nutanix Prism, with familiar appearance and navigation. “It’s so simple to use. You don’t need a one-week training course,” Jandu says, noting that developers and project team members regularly use HYCU for backing up and restoring databases. “They’re not infrastructure engineers but they find HYCU very easy.” He also had high praise for HYCU’s out-of-the-box reporting, such as the VM backup size per target report, which his team uses regularly.
With HYCU and Nutanix, backups take just minutes, as compared to the hours it took with SaTH’s previous infrastructure. “With HYCU, we can now back up our SQL servers every hour quite easily. We could not have done that before,” Jandu says. “In addition, we’ve seen a big improvement in Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and very modest use of system resources.”
Jandu reports significant improvement in backup success rate with HYCU—achieving nearly 100% success rate, as compared to around 85% with their legacy backup product. “We trust HCYU, so it’s really hands off,” Jandu says. “You don’t have to spend time every day checking your backups. That frees us up to focus on other things.”
About the customer
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust provides hospital services for nearly half a
million people in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, and mid-Wales in the UK. The 700-bed health system provides a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services, together with community outreach clinics and services.
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