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Founded in 1885, Calvary Health Care provides high-quality health services throughout Australia. Calvary has 12,000 staff and volunteers, 14 public and private hospitals, 17 retirement and aged care facilities, and a national network of community care centers.
Customer Name: Calvary Health Care
Location: Sydney, Australia
Number of Employees: 12,000
● Supporting 50+ sites with four IT specialists
● Lack of infrastructure visibility
● Firmware updates and change management
● Accelerated server deployments from days to minutes
● Enabled remote management of distributed systems
● Improved infrastructure redundancy and resiliency
Supporting roughly 4500 users in more than 50 hospitals, aged care facilities, and community centers had always been a challenge for Calvary Health Care’s IT team. With only four full-time staff members, the team struggled to keep up with firmware updates and other backend upgrades. They didn’t have centralized visibility or control of the physical servers and virtual machines in each location. And the effort required to improve legacy server monitoring and establish alerts for problem scenarios was too much.
So, when Calvary opened a new hospital several years ago, the IT team decided to try something different. Instead of a stand-alone, manually administered server solution, they went with a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution that is designed for the edge and can be monitored and managed remotely.
“We deployed Cisco HyperFlex Edge,” says Liam Hart, IT manager at Calvary Health Care.
Calvary has been steadily upgrading its other locations with the HCI solution ever since. Seven hospitals as well as the company’s head office in Sydney now have a pair of active-active, fully redundant Cisco HyperFlex Edge nodes, with additional deployments planned for the company’s hospitals and aged care facilities that have yet to receive an upgrade. The edge-focused systems are complemented by Cisco UCS B200 M5 Blade Servers and Pure Storage in Calvary’s two data centers, which support the company’s Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
“It’s super easy,” he says. “You just rack, stack, and power up the devices. Once they’re connected to the internet, you simply claim the devices, choose the configuration, hit deploy, and it does the rest. I think it took me an hour the first time because I was double-checking everything, but now it only takes 15 minutes to bring a new cluster online.”
That’s a far cry from the past, when deploying a new server would take a day or more.
“And if something went wrong, we’d have no idea why and would sometimes have to start over from scratch,” Liam recalls. “With HyperFlex Edge, if something goes wrong, it tells you exactly what happened and how to fix it.”
The newly deployed systems are managed with Cisco Intersight, a cloud-based service that allows Cisco HyperFlex and Cisco UCS servers to be monitored and patched from anywhere.
“We can see and manage all of our Cisco clusters at all of our sites from a single pane of glass,” Liam says. “Intersight shows network throughput and latency, gives us health checks, and helps with capacity management.”
One of Calvary’s new hospitals grew faster than expected, he notes, and Cisco Intersight flagged the overutilization of system memory and hard drives.
“In the past, we wouldn’t have noticed something like that until it was too late,” Liam says, noting how easy it was to add more memory and hard drives to the cluster and avoid service degradations or, worse yet, downtime.
Unexpected runs on capacity notwithstanding, exceptional performance and reliability have been hallmarks of Calvary’s Cisco HyperFlex Edge systems.
“To be honest, we haven’t had to troubleshoot anything,” Liam says. “Even the older units that are now five years old, they just run. We don’t have to touch them.”
“We can see and manage all of our Cisco clusters at all of our sites from a single pane of glass. Intersight shows network throughput and latency, gives us health checks, and helps with capacity management.”
IT Manager, Calvary Health Care
Moving forward, Calvary plans to install Cisco HyperFlex Edge clusters in the hospitals that have yet to receive an infrastructure upgrade. And it will also deploy the solution within a dozen aged care facilities.
“Right now, each aged care facility only has a single ESX host, and if that host goes down, the facility is offline for more than a week,” Liam explains. “For the same cost as a new ESX host, we can get two HyperFlex Edge nodes that are fully redundant and provide automatic failover.
As part of those upgrades, Calvary will utilize Cohesity for backup and get rid of Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) replication altogether.
“We won’t need DFS anymore,” Liam says, “and we’ll have more security, redundancy, and resiliency than we’ve ever had at our aged care facilities.”
“For the same cost as a new ESX host, we can get two HyperFlex Edge nodes that are fully redundant and provide automatic failover.”
IT Manager, Calvary Health Care