Nordine Vandezande, IT Manager at Jessa Ziekenhuis: “It is absolutely essential that our Oracle environment is available at all times. Monin helps us to meet that business need, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
unplanned downtime as possible, Monin – the database devision of Hestia, an Uptime Group company – migrated the hospital’s Oracle environment to new hardware, implemented Oracle Virtual Machine and upgraded both the OS and Oracle Database.
With a capacity of 988 beds, Jessa Ziekenhuis is one of the largest general hospitals in Belgium. The hospital’s activities are located at three sites: Virga Jesse (Hasselt), Salvator (Hasselt) and Sint-Ursula (Herk-de-Stad). Each site used to be an independent hospital, until the three organizations merged their operations in 2010. Jessa Ziekenhuis has some 3.500 employees (general and medical staff).
The hospital’s IT team consists of 30 employees. “At a hospital, IT is highly business critical”, said Nordine Vandezande, IT Manager at Jessa Ziekenhuis. “That’s why we strongly focus on availability. All sites are connected through fibre. We currently manage three data centers to guarantee the uptime of our systems and data.”
The hospital’s IT team dedicates most of its time to operational support. “Business continuity is our main priority. In-house, we develop and maintain the knowledge we need to keep the lights on at all times. But obviously, it is impossible to specialize in every domain and every technology. To have access to specialized expertise, we closely collaborate with partners.” For its Oracle environment, the hospital established a long-term partnership with Monin. “Over the years, we have redefined and refined our relationship with Monin several times. It is safe to say that the partnership with Monin has brought stability and maturity to our Oracle environment.”
At Jessa Ziekenhuis, Oracle is the most commonly used platform, hosting 18 Oracle databases. Although the hospital also uses MS SQL, most core applications run on Oracle Database: patient records, patient administration, radiology, laboratory, and more. “The current situation is the result of a historical development”, Vandezande explained. “It’s the technology we know most about
ourselves – and we have the strongest partnership for.” Monin offers implementation, configuration and support services for the complete Oracle stack – servers and databases. “We have a strong bond with the Monin team. They know our IT landscape and our business inside out.”
Online migration, zero downtime
To guarantee the high availability of the Oracle environment, Monin performed a complete make-over of the platform at Jessa Ziekenhuis. Monin upgraded the OS and Oracle Database, and implemented Oracle Virtual Machine on new hardware. “We used to run three physical machines, one in each data center”, Vandezande continued. “Moving data and workloads from one data center to the other – mostly for reasons of maintenance – caused downtime. Thanks to Oracle VM, the availability of data and applications is always guaranteed.” Monin installed three new hosts, each running Oracle VM, at the three data center locations. On the Oracle VM platform, the hospital runs four production database servers and two test database servers.
“Whenever maintenance is scheduled at one of the data centers, we migrate the database servers online from one data center to the other. Thanks to the virtual environment, we do so without bringing any database down.” The procedure for the NetApp storage solution (MetroClusters) – linked to the servers – has remained the same. “In the past, moving servers from one data center to the other always implied downtime. During the migration to the new virtual servers, the data weren’t accessible for limited time only, thanks to the use of restore/recovery procedures.” Instead of removing the data from the old environment and uploading it to the new servers, Monin performed a restore of the data backups. Not one of the databases was down for more than half an hour. “That’s proof of how Monin’s creativity makes the difference”, said Vandezande.
Single point of contact
Backups are performed by SnapManager for Oracle. Every hour, a snapshot is taken from the entire databases storage environment. In turn, every backup is replicated on a second storage location. “To us, it is important that we can rely on Monin as our single point of contact for the entire solution”, Vandezande continued, “not only Oracle, but for several other technologies as well, including NetApp.”
Thanks to Monin’s Service Level Manager, Jessa Ziekenhuis has easy access to the wide range of technology expertise that is offered by the Uptime Group. “IT is strongly integrated with all of our core care processes”, Vandezande concluded. “Doctors, nurses and other staff rely on IT. It is absolutely essential that our IT environment is available at all times. Monin helps us to meet that business need, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”