Hammond Care implements DR, WAN optimisation

Reduces network traffic, gains DR failover

Health care provider Hammond Care has implemented a business continuity solution designed to reduce traffic over its network while integrating with its virtualised server environment.

The Sydney-based organisation offers residential care and community services to the aged and those suffering dementia. Its 1200 employees work across multiple NSW locations including Sydney, Wollongong, Bathurst and Gosford.

Given Hammond’s geographic spread, business continuity, as well as bandwidth, backup and recovery, and security issues were presenting challenges for the organisation’s IT operations.

To address this, Hammond’s IT department implemented VMware ESX server virtualisation technologies to reduce the number of physical servers deployed across the network.

It also engaged IT services provider Archbridge to provide WAN optimisation technology from Riverbed to increase overall network performance and user productivity, primarily by reducing network traffic.

Hammond also engaged Business Continuity Asia Pacific (BCAP) to work with Archbridge on implementing Double-Take for Windows and Livewire (formally ROSRO) products for off-site disaster recovery (DR).

The Double-Take solution protects the organisation’s two business critical applications servers in a “one-to-one” configuration, while LiveWire protects data on the charity’s other servers, located in its Sydney head office in a “many-to-one” configuration.

As a result of the deployment, which was completed in two weeks, Hammond’s DR capabilities have improved, according to Hammond’s general manager systems development, Bruce Coller.

In the event failure of all systems at the main site, its Hammondville DR site can now be live within 30 minutes and provide full network service within a matter of hours.

“The results of the DR failover test were really great to see, especially as only one of our staff was required to complete the out-of-hours test. To know that in the event of a real failure we can have the network fully restored within a couple of hours is very reassuring,” Coller said.

Implementation of Riverbed WAN optimisation appliances and software has seen Hammond remove servers from its remote locations thanks to a reduction in overall traffic across the network.

With the remote server removals, Hammond has been able to condense its applications on centrally located virtual servers, allowing Hammond to avoid the expense of upgrading the organisation’s WAN bandwidth.

In addition, employees at remote sites are no longer required to assist in the production of backup tapes for their location, and each user’s work is automatically transferred to, and recorded on, the central servers, which are then automatically replicated to the DR site.

With the IT upgrade Hammond IT personnel have gained additional time to focus on the day-to-day network management and the develop a complete business continuity plan for ICT, according to Coller.

A full return on investment is also expected within 12 months of the initial deployment.

“Now that we have known times for recovery, we are able to create schedules, which cover the activities our personnel should undertake to get our business back up and running,” Coller said.

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