Disaster recovery (DR) is important for all organizations, but particularly so for those in healthcare and related industries. Without access to their critical applications, patients’ lives can hang in the balance. As an organization providing services to aging residents, Virginia United Methodist Homes (VUMH) was no exception.
VUMH operates seven geographically dispersed retirement communities throughout Virginia, serving seniors who need varying levels of care and medical assistance. Because its staff across all locations work with patients’ electronic medical records, it is imperative for the organization to keep its IT systems connected and up and running, even in the event of a disaster.
This requirement weighed heavily on the three-person IT team at VUMH, led by IT director Mark Collins. VUMH had contracted out its Level 1 help desk services and augmented support when it required help with bigger projects. Now, Mark knew the organization also needed a customized and redundant site to ensure the availability and recovery of critical applications and data if its systems went down because of any type of manmade or natural disaster.
“We really needed a redundant DR site so we could run operations seamlessly at all our communities if something went down at our primary location,” Mark explained. An industry colleague suggested that Mark consider Peak 10® DR services, which included the Peak 10 Recovery Cloud.
Shortly after Peak 10 was brought on board, VUMH decided to relocate its central offices — presenting yet another challenge. Because the relocation would require moving the organization’s production IT system to a new site — with as little downtime as possible — the need for a DR solution that offered rapid recovery times was all the more important.
The Peak 10 Solution
The Peak 10 Recovery Cloud is a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution that features continuous data protection (CDP), rapid recovery times, testing and failover support. Production systems can be housed within a Peak 10 environment or at an alternate location. Peak 10’s strong focus on compliance also was an important factor for VUMH. Because the organization handles electronic protected health information (ePHI), it must meet requirements for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Peak 10 is assessed annually for HIPAA compliance, has a full-time compliance officer on staff and is able to help organizations meet many of their HIPAA requirements.
Unlike many DR solutions, the Peak 10 Recovery Cloud is scalabl e and secure without requiring changes to the existing environment or underlying storage platform. It can be tested while having the customer’s production system running. Failovers can be initiated within minutes, and customers can select the point in time at which a test or failover recovers at the time of execution.
With its production system still running, VUMH was able to run multiple tests with the Peak 10 Recovery Cloud solution, who handled all aspec ts of the configuration and testing. When the corporate relocation actually took place, VUMH was able to initiate failover to the Peak 10 system in min utes.
The company ran on Peak 10’s system for nearly two weeks with n o issues or any impact on its staff. Once the office move was completed, Peak 10 initiated the failback, returning VUMH’s IT systems to the new location.
Mark and the VUMH IT team were pleased with how well the failov er to Peak 10 and failback to its new location worked. The organizati on did not suffer any downtime for its mission-critical data and applications, including electronic medical records.
“We had contracted with Peak 10 before we had a plan to move our corporate office and data center, so everything came together at the right time,” said Mark. He added that the organization had run multip le tests with Peak 10 and had expected the effort to go smoothly. “It was pret ty seamless and met our needs,” he said. “There were minor cleanup issues o n our end, but by and large it went the way we expected.”
Making the Peak 10 Recovery Cloud an integral part of VUMN’s DR plan offered the flexibility and service VUMH needed to execute testing and the actual recovery processes. For Mark, it’s now an essential part of the organization’s IT support mix. “I would definitely recommend Peak 10,” he said.