New Healthcare Monitoring Solution Is a Lifesaver
Optimize with No-Boundaries Vision
Trailblazing a more cost-effective way to provide high-quality services, AZ Sint-Jan developed a network infrastructure shared with other hospitals and care providers across the Western-Flanders region of Belgium. Their primary goals are to deliver high-performance service and eliminate network downtime. But as a result of the shared network initiative, they faced a few unique challenges.
At the time, limited pipe capacity on heavily-utilized lines to the remote hospitals put the network at risk for performance degradation and intermittent outages. What they needed was a technology solution that offered broad visibility and in-depth analysis for troubleshooting mission-critical services quickly and accurately.
"As a hospital, our return on investment is most significantly reflected by IT enhancements that support 24/7 network uptime," said Peter Van Rietvelde. "Downtime can jeopardize human life."
Working closely with specialized IT solutions partner Switchpoint® NV/SA, AZ Sint-Jan selected the Observer Performance Management Platform for its total visibility, one that encompasses everything from high-level views to granular insights.
Observer GigaStor is a key component of the Observer Platform and has been integral to fast and precise troubleshooting, providing the hospital with a high-end network monitoring appliance that captures and stores all network and application traffic. GigaStor gathers information across IT silos, providing high-level business views for management clarity and offering deep insight into all packet transmissions.
"Now we can pinpoint where issues occur on the network and instantly get comprehensive understanding into network activity," said Van Rietvelde. "This allows our team to reduce mean time to recovery and proactively troubleshoot issues."
Prevent Network Downtime
Once the team's visibility and troubleshooting challenges were successfully met, the hospital searched for a technology product they could dedicate to bandwidth monitoring. The network team needed a sophisticated management solution to ensure bandwidth was effectively allocated during times of high utilization to prevent downtime.
AZ Sint-Jan and Switchpoint NV/SA deployed Observer Infrastructure (OI), another essential platform element, to assess the network's LAN bandwidth. With OI, the AZ Sint-Jan team can now poll every port for switch usage and errors. If usage is above 80 percent or a port has excessive errors, Van Rietvelde's and his colleagues instantly receive an email alert that identifies specific device and port problems. These notifications allow issues to be intercepted and resolved before they have a chance to impact end users or interrupt network uptime.
"The Observer Platform provided us with proof of a multicast issue," said Van Rietvelde. "Ill-timed Norton Symantec Ghost® image deployments were flooding the line to that remote campus."
As a result of our findings, the server was reconfigured to resolve the multicast issue to reduce bandwidth demand. The line-saturation problem vanished, and performance was elevated. Without the Observer Platform, the remote campus network would not work properly today.
Ensure Healthcare Security
The Observer Platform also proved invaluable when the security team spotted a virus. To help pinpoint the virus location, the team deployed GigaStor to capture every packet traversing the uplink of certain switches.
When tasked with researching the infection, they applied the appropriate signature filter to data that was mined from GigaStor during the time the infection was believed to have first occurred. Using retrospective analysis, Van Rietvelde's team was able to see both the infected devices and the communications involved. As a result, some specific medical devices were identified as the infection's root cause — making it possible for the hospital's IT security team to neutralize the virus before additional network devices were impacted or end users were severely affected.
"The synergy of the Observer Platform, specifically Analyzer, GigaStor, and OI is very beneficial for our network," said Van Rietvelde. "It's the best return on investment we've ever seen from a network management solution."