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Stories from the Field: How Family Health Network Simplified VMware Disaster Recovery with the Cloud

For most organizations, protecting VMware environments and the ever-growing amount of structured and unstructured data being created requires a complex, on-prem secondary storage model that imposes heavy administrative overhead and infrastructure costs. The increasing pressure on IT teams to maintain business continuity and information governance, while addressing compliance requirements for regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is changing how businesses view infrastructure resiliency and long-term data retention. For medical provider Family Health Network (FHN), which has about 8,400 physicians across 110 sites offering health plans to more than 230,000 members, they faced these same challenges while protecting its critical patient data.

Escaping the Burden of Infrastructure

Recently, FHN decided to move to a cloud-based virtualization environment using VMware’s vCloud Air. This provided them with the flexibility to grow and serve a national market. It was important for FHN to gain central visibility and control over their VMware environments, both on-prem and in the cloud, while reducing the administrative complexity and bottlenecks of their legacy solutions for backup and DR.

FHN would not have been able to meet data compliance demands with the cumbersome hardware-heavy product they had been using in the past. “We had the choice of either spending money in upgrading our on-premises infrastructure, including the data center, or moving everything to a cloud-based solution, and we chose the cloud-based solution,” said Don Fletcher, Infrastructure Manager with FHN.

“We had the choice of either spending money in upgrading our on-premises infrastructure, including the data center, or moving everything to a cloud-based solution, and we chose the cloud-based solution.”

—Don Fletcher, Infrastructure Manager with FHN

Making the Move

After FHN started moving to a cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) model in Amazon Web Services (AWS), they found that their legacy system didn’t provide any of the capabilities that they needed. With FHN operating in the highly regulated healthcare market, there was a critical need for a solution that met strict HIPAA security and data management requirements in their cloud environment.

After reviewing several other options, FHN found that Druva Phoenix could provide rock-solid disaster recovery (DR) and data protection for virtual environments in the cloud. “Previously, we would have only so much bandwidth, and deduplicating data would be time-consuming and not easily scalable,” Fletcher said. “With Druva Phoenix we can change on the fly. If we want to put 10 servers in AWS, we can. If we want to update those servers, we can. So it’s just a much quicker, scalable backup solution.”

The Results

Currently, Druva is protecting their VMware on-premises environment as well as their new cloud resources through a single data management platform. In addition, FHN leverages Druva to provide offsite backup and information management for all of their remote offices. With Druva Phoenix in place, FHN has already seen the following benefits:

• 30% percent reduction in time managing backup and DR

• Central visibility and management across multiple remote sites

• Cloud-native off-site scalability

• Built-in security and controls enabling HIPAA cloud compliance

By utilizing this combination of Druva and AWS features, FHN is able to achieve high-performance and scalable backup, DR, archival, and analytics to simplify data protection and improve visibility. This has also enabled FHN to dramatically reduce the risk, cost, and effort of managing its complex information environment, while at the same time ensuring full HIPAA compliance.

“As our organization grows across the U.S. and supports patients nationwide, we rely on our cloud strategy to manage any acquisitions or expansions. Druva’s cloud-first approach to data protection will ensure that our data is secure and protected.”

—Don Fletcher, Infrastructure Manager with FHN

You can get the full story of how FHN realized the benefits of DRaaS by accessing the case study.