Health Quest Mitigates Side Effects of Data Growth and Revives Its Backup with EMC

Aug 02, 2010 (01:08 PM EDT)

Healthcare Provider Virtualizes Server Environment, Slashes Backup Windows by 80 Percent and Nearly Eliminates Daily Backup Administration

HOPKINTON, Mass., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced that Health Quest, a large health care system in New York State, has deployed solutions from EMC® and VMware® to consolidate and virtualize its environment, streamline its backup and recovery processes and increase the availability of clinical and administrative data.  EMC has by far the most integrated solution support for VMware environments and continues to underscore its position as the number one choice in storage for VMware environments with customers choosing EMC two times as often as any other vendor.

Bob Diamond, Health Quest's Chief Information Officer said, "Our previous IT infrastructure was preventing us from moving forward with our Cerner Millennium electronic medical records (EMR) deployment and couldn't keep up with the dramatic growth of data generated by our GE Healthcare Centricity PACS-IW imaging systems.  In the last 18 months, our storage area network grew more than eight-fold, which resulted in longer backup windows and the potential for more frequent backup failures."

Based in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Health Quest optimized its information infrastructure, deployed virtualization, advanced disk-based backup and recovery solutions and new high-end applications.  Using VMware vSphere virtualization, Health Quest eliminated 250 physical servers to free up about half of its primary data center floor and now runs 250 virtual machines on 20 physical servers.  

Health Quest also engaged EMC Global Services to define its data protection requirements and develop a comprehensive, centralized backup and recovery strategy for its rich application environment.  As a result, Health Quest replaced Symantec Backup Exec with a transformational and comprehensive backup and recovery solution that includes EMC NetWorker® backup and recovery software, EMC Data Domain® deduplication storage systems and EMC Avamar® deduplication backup software.  Together, working in integrated fashion, these leading backup and recovery technologies have dramatically decreased backup data set sizes and enabled rapid backup and recovery of virtualized and physical servers running financial, database and clinical applications.  

Health Quest leverages NetWorker integrated with Avamar to protect critical virtual machines.  For their broad database environment, the health care provider uses NetWorker application modules multi-streaming to Data Domain deduplication storage appliances. With the recent implementation of off-site replication, Health Quest can now further reduce tape dependence by enabling disk-to-disk copies for offsite protection, using deduplication to optimize precious bandwidth links.

EMC NetWorker's integration with EMC Data Domain, combined with NetWorker's existing integration with EMC Avamar, has provided Health Quest with consolidated backup management for both deduplication solutions.  "We started out implementing NetWorker with Data Domain to backup our legacy and large database systems. As our VMware environment grew quickly, we brought in Avamar to solve our virtual data backup issues," says Diamond.   "NetWorker provides us a single pane of glass solution for managing and implementing the three products, enabling us to leverage the best aspects of each."

"We've been able to streamline our labor-intensive backup and recovery processes and dramatically shrink our backup windows. Data Domain deduplication alone has slashed 70 terabytes of clinical and financial backup data down to six terabytes. It's been fantastic," said Diamond. "Instead of having to hire more people, we were able to reallocate talent we already had to work on EMRs and other strategic projects that are transforming the way we care for patients and run our operations."

Health Quest now backs up user data stored on all of its VMware guest machines and host servers to Avamar Data Store systems at its primary data center.  Avamar has helped Health Quest decrease its VMware backup sizes from 60 terabytes to less than three.  Michael Close, Health Quest's Senior DBA and Backup Administrator, said, "Our weekly full backups for our virtual environment were bringing our VMware servers to a crawl. With Avamar, we don't even notice when backups run.  From a TCO and management perspective, Avamar was an absolute home run."

Even as its storage capacity requirements increased by a factor of nine, Health Quest has reduced full backup timeframes from four to five days to 12 hours, and has experienced dramatically fewer backup failures and a 100 percent recovery success rate.

Additionally, with EMC Data Protection Advisor, Health Quest can generate quarterly audits reporting on backups and recoveries by devices, data, applications and success rates.

"We used to spend four hours a day just going through the logs, looking at the failures and corrections," said Close. "Now, we just take a few minutes to peek and make sure it's all working.  Being able to centrally manage our physical and virtual servers combined with the tight integration of NetWorker, Avamar and Data Domain have also made administration much easier."

About EMC

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) is the world's leading developer and provider of information infrastructure technology and solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to transform the way they compete and create value from their information.  Information about EMC's products and services can be found at

EMC, Avamar, Data Domain, Data Protection Advisor and NetWorker are registered trademarks or trademarks of EMC Corporation. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE EMC Corporation