Hemit is a Norwegian IT service provider for the healthcare industry. Their systems are not just business-critical but life-critical and they needed the ability to analyze, diagnose and resolve performance issues before any impact to the end-user experience.
RIVERBED STEELCENTRAL HELPS HEMIT ANALYZE, DIAGNOSE AND RESOLVE APPLICATION PERFORMANCE ISSUES
Hemit (Central Norway Regional Health Authority IT) is an internal service provider for hospitals and associated medical services in central Norway. It has 320 employees and an annual turnover of around $150 million. Hemit IT services are accessed by around 16,000 employees in more than 200 locations – from major hospitals to remote ambulance stations. Its users are all staff essential to the smooth running of the hospital including administrative staff, HR, lab technicians, doctors, nurses and hospital cleaners.
The IT services provided by Hemit include patient journals, laboratory systems, x-ray imaging archives and office applications like email. “Our systems are not just business- critical – they are life critical,” explains Dagfinn Krog, service operation manager at Hemit, “they need to be as efficient and reliable as possible, because a system going down could be life threatening. For this reason, the ability to analyze, diagnose and resolve performance issues is critical for Hemit.
- Slow access to key patient data systems creating inefficiencies
- Extended logon times leading to lower employee productivity
- Complex IT infrastructure meant issues often impossible to resolve
- SteelCentral™ AppResponse
- SteelCentral™ Transaction Analyzer
- SteelCentral™ AppInternals
- Performance issues can now be analyzed, diagnosed and resolved
- Fast ROI – within days of implementation
- Greatly improved application performance
- Logon times reduced, producing significant cost savings
A HIGHLY COMPLEX IT INFRASTRUCTURE WITH MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS
Application speed was a key issue for Hemit customers. “Medical staff access many important files and systems, such as patients’ records, X-ray archives, and lab analysis reports,” says Krog, “and at times these could be slow. Multiply that by every doctor or nurse per day, and you get a lot of time wasted.” Extended logon times were another issue, “A doctor would typically logon to ten-to-twenty different PCs in a work session, with each logon sometimes taking as long as ten minutes. Over a week, that’s quite a few hours wasted” notes Krog.
“I don’t think you could imagine a more complex IT environment than ours,” says Krog, “the multiple layers of integration made it very difficult to locate the source of a problem. In many cases, we couldn’t resolve an issue.” The Hemit IT system includes a data center in Trondheim; more than 800 physical servers; 1500 virtual servers; 2000 switches; 2000 network boxes; 1000 routers and more than 1500 applications, so it’s easy to see why troubleshooting appeared to be almost impossible. “Whenever there was problem of slow response time, the network always got the blame, but we really didn’t know the cause,” says Krog.
RIVERBED PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PLATFORM
Hemit tried to resolve performance issues by using packet capture tools and probes, but to little avail. “We couldn’t resolve the issues because we couldn’t find the answers,” says Krog, “finding the solution to a long chain of events that led to a slow response for the end user was almost impossible.” A demonstration of Riverbed® SteelCentral™ AppResponse at a trade show convinced Krog that it could help Hemit resolve many performance issues.
SteelCentral is a management and control suite that combines user experience, application, and network performance management to provide the visibility needed to diagnose and cure issues before end users notice a problem. SteelCentral AppResponse enables users to see if a performance problem is rooted in the network, servers or application code components. “We made a business case for investing in AppResponse based on the vast amount of time lost per employee per year through the slow logon times,” says Krog.
The impact of SteelCentral AppResponse on problem resolution was immediate, says Krog, “We instantly found a huge number of smaller issues – like DNS resolution problems – that could be resolved immediately.” The successful deployment of SteelCentral AppResponse led to Hemit also investing in Riverbed SteelCentral AppInternals and Riverbed SteelCentral Transaction Analyzer.
SteelCentral AppInternals combines end-user experience monitoring, code-level transaction tracing, and deep application component monitoring into a unified solution. SteelCentral Transaction Analyzer provides detailed analysis of a single transaction through visualization and analysis techniques to help users quickly determine the root cause of a performance problem. “It’s very easy to get good value from Transaction Analyzer,” notes Krog, “If you know the client and server, you can normally pinpoint the problem within ten minutes.”
MUCH EASIER TROUBLESHOOTING, HUGE PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENTS AND FASTER APPLICATIONS
The Riverbed SteelCentral suite has transformed Hemit’s ability to resolve performance issues. “We spent ten years trying to resolve some issues, but found it impossible. Now, we can find the causes,” says Krog. When a key front-end application was running slowly, “We were able to go to the third party developer with hard data and show them that the problem was with their application and not the network. It means we can now get people to be accountable and responsible for their part of a problem,” notes Krog.
“There’s no doubt that Riverbed is one of the best investments we’ve made,” adds Krog, “and we use it constantly to monitor response times, so we know what we are delivering. Staff and patients have benefitted from a more responsive service and that is because we are now acting on data rather than emotion.”
“We’ve seen significant productivity improvements. We’ve been able to shave two minutes off the logon time for over 8000 people. With the average number of logons a day being five, we’ve estimated that the productivity improvements equate to around $60,000 a day.”