How we helped a major aged care provider improve the reliability and resiliency of its operations.
Having solid disaster recovery infrastructure in place and high uptime of core systems is essential to Regis Aged Care and the quality of care it provides.
As one of Australia’s largest aged care facility providers, it's critical for Regis Aged Care’s reputation to maintain the integrity of its operations.
Having solid disaster recovery infrastructure in place and high uptime of core systems is essential to the effectiveness of the organisation, and ultimately the quality of care it's able to provide. However, with just one data centre, Regis’ capability to deal with disasters had become limited.
“Most of our applications were hosted in one data centre. If there was any kind of disaster in the facility, we didn't have any capability beyond buying equipment again and reloading our data and applications,” says Regis Aged Care Chief Information Officer David Thompson.
In addition, regular unplanned outages compromised productivity and care efficiency. To address this, Regis Aged Care initially planned to upgrade its existing but ageing passive disaster recovery facility situated at its Melbourne head office.
“If we lost the network, thousands of people would not be working as efficiently as possible.”
"With Vocus, we now have superior disaster recovery capability. We can have every application back up and running within 15 minutes with no data loss."
David Thompson, CIO
Regis Aged Care
Regis decided to explore moving to an active-active data centre model hosted across two third-party facilities.
“When we did the cost comparison between the work required for our own passive data centre and locating to two third-party data centres, the difference wasn’t that much,” says Thompson. “For a marginal additional cost, we could achieve active-active disaster recovery.”
Already using a third-party data centre for its production environment, Regis selected a Vocus facility for its second data centre. Vocus provided Regis with reliable, scalable network capacity and colocation facilities offering extremely high availability, substantial power density.
“The newly-built Vocus data centre in Collins Street, Melbourne, was perfectly placed to meet our needs,” says Thompson.
One of the challenges of an active-active data centre configuration is balancing the distance between the two facilities. “The two data centres were far enough apart for disaster recovery purposes, but close enough to be cost effective from a dark fibre and latency perspective,” Thompson continues.
"Vocus’ approach in setting up the two active data centres was simple and cost effective,” says Thompson, “from the commercials to the technical execution.”
The Vocus network provides high-bandwidth dark fibre links between two data centres and Regis’ head office. The dark fibre provides a 10Gbps backbone between the data centres, enabling Regis to run the facilities as a single data centre.
Vocus also provides solid connectivity into Regis’ own private cloud using dark fibre.
The high-bandwidth provided by Vocus helps Regis overcome network latency caused by distance constraints and delivers solid connectivity into its own private cloud.
The Vocus active-active configuration has had widespread non-financial benefits for Regis. Chiefly, it ensures excellent business continuity.
With applications hosted across two active data centres, Regis will remain fully operational should one data centre fail, while the company’s recovery time has reduced from hours or days to just minutes.
“With Vocus, we now have superior disaster recovery capability. We can have every application back up-and-running within 15 minutes with no data loss,” says Thompson. “With a passive facility, we would only have core applications up and our recovery objectives would have been a few hours, or even days, compromising the efficiency and effectiveness of our resident care.”
Meanwhile, uptime issues have virtually vanished, as Vocus’ facilities provide guaranteed availability of up to 99.99% through its Highly Available (HA) infrastructure.
Downtime for systems which were originally down more than three hours a week, are now limited to just two minutes. “Moving from 98% to up to 99.9% availability, uptime issues have gone away from our operational agenda,” says Thompson.
Near continuous availability has eliminated planned and unplanned downtime, resulting in greater productivity for Regis.
More staff can now use mobile applications in the workplace, while the IT team can move applications, virtual machines and data between its data centres without users noticing.
"The active-active set-up has also led to a more productive use of resources," adds Thompson. “Our production capability has been greatly enhanced. We have double the compute power to work with on a day-to-day basis,” he says.
Importantly, Regis is now better able to manage the integrity of customer data, as the IT team’s focus has shifted from reactive outage remediation to proactive continuous improvement.
“Ultimately, we’re better able to help the business comply with its service model: living with support. That’s good for IT, as well as the business, but most importantly, great for our clients.”
As one of Australia’s largest aged care facility providers, it is critical for Regis Aged Care’s reputation to maintain the integrity of its operations.
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