Regional Hospital Network cs-wave-line

Regional Ministry of Health Optimizes Data Center and WAN Services to 28 Hospitals

About the Hospital Network

The Regional Health Department in this Western European country operates 28 hospitals that serve more than 11 million people in 8 provinces. From major medical centers that provide a wide range of services, to specialized hospitals for children, each of these 28 facilities places different demands on the WAN that connects them to the centralized data center where confidential patient records and medical data are securely stored. Each hospital is connected to the data center via WAN links of up to 100 Mbps. The WAN is used primarily for business-critical Citrix, CRM, and ERP applications as well as the transfer of high-quality medical imaging and video files used for patient diagnosis and treatment.

Challenge

With so many users accessing the same centralized resources, it didn’t take long before the WAN became congested, application performance deteriorated and the Health Department’s IT team was flooded with complaints. The congestion was unpredictable and could not be explained by normal or even peak hospital use. Attempts to increase bandwidth at the data center provided only temporary improvements. Moreover, there was no way to control utilization of the WAN or datacenter links and hospital administrators were questioning the centralized data center approach. The original motivation for consolidating their resources in a data center was to save on operational and support costs, simplify technology administration and to secure confidential patient data. However, they found themselves spending more money trying to address quality of service problems than they were saving through consolidation. Their challenge was twofold: find out which links were congested and which applications were consuming the bandwidth; and restore reliable delivery of applications,  quality of experience on the WAN and critical infrastructure protection.

Solution – Critical Infrastructure Protection

The Health Department chose Allot solutions for two main reasons – visibility and control. Redundant Allot NetEnforcer AC-3000 bandwidth management devices are installed at the data center access link while individual Allot NetEnforcer AC-1440 units are deployed at each of the 28 hospitals, with Allot NetXplorer centrally managing the entire installation. Allot DPI-based monitoring reports quickly showed the IT team that their performance problems were being caused by severe congestion on the data center access link due to an inordinate amount of P2P traffic (e.g., BitTorrent) and streaming video traffic from sites such as YouTube. Recreational use was also clogging up the WAN links to the hospitals that were generating this traffic. As business and medical applications competed for bandwidth, their performance plummeted. Armed with this vital network intelligence, the Health Department’s IT team took the following steps to improve and optimize data center and WAN services

  • Prioritize critical medical and business applications by assigning per-application priorities.
  • Control the delivery of latency sensitive video and large imaging files by allocating guaranteed bandwidth to those applications.
  • Minimize unwanted traffic by limiting the bandwidth available to recreational applications. The IT team allocated 128 Kbps for Internet P2P and video streaming applications, thereby reducing this traffic by more than 50%.
  • Involve hospital network administrators in the management of their own bandwidth use by deploying Allot NetPolicy Provisioner (NPP), which allows each hospital to monitor its own WAN link. Through a web-based GUI NPP gives administrators direct access to relevant monitoring reports with full display options and drill-down capabilities. It also allows them to create and adjust their own quality of service (QoS) policies in order to regulate bandwidth utilization and application performance.

Using Allot NetEnforcer, our 28 hospitals get high-quality performance from our data center and WAN, which helps them provide high-quality medical care to millions

IT Project Leader

Regional Ministry of Health

Challenge

Put a stop to spiraling WAN and datacenter costs; ensure reliable and predictable performance at all times for critical medical and business applications.

Solution

Deploy Allot NetEnforcer devices to gain network-wide visibility and application-aware QoS enforcement. Use Allot NPP to give each hospital site a self-management interface.

Benefits

  • Free up existing capacity and delay bandwidth upgrades
  • Reduce congestion and minimize unwanted traffic
  • Troubleshoot quickly and accurately
  • Improve health care service