Case Study: Healthcare Success Story

Canada Diagnostic Centres Easily Meets Healthcare Compliance Requirements and Protects Data for 500,000 Patients

With Unitrends, by the time we found out the WEB server was down, it was about 15 minutes before it was back online and functioning properly. Greg Lanz
Sr. System Administrator

Unitrends Solution for Canada Diagnostic Centres

Protected Environment
  • VMware virtualized servers
  • Windows physical servers
  • Microsoft Exchange and SQL applications
Unitrends Solution
Unitrends Appliances

Recovery Series 8032S

Benefits
  • All-in-one. No backup server required
  • Linux-based with built-in ransomware protection
  • Easy to use
  • Built-in compliance reporting
  • Outstanding customer support

THE CHALLENGE

Greg Lanz, Sr. System Administrator at CDC, knew their backup strategy needed to change. Before Unitrends, the healthcare provider had two backup products one to protect virtual environments and one to protect physical servers. “The physical backup product was clunky but generally worked. But with the old virtual backup, we had a lot of issues with getting consistent VM backups. I used it for a year and half and I never got a successful Exchange backup. It wouldn’t truncate the logs,” Lanz remembers. Backing up their Microsoft Exchange application was critical to keeping business running and prompted the CDC to look for new data protection solutions. Two years ago, Lanz and his team considered several products before choosing Unitrends. “The things we liked with Unitrends was that it’s all-in-one. It’s Linux-based so we don’t need a Windows server. It has ransomware protection and encrypted backups built-in and it backs up to the appliance, so we don’t have to worry about adding or provisioning extra storage. A lot safer than what we had before.”  

The all-in-one design of the Unitrends Recovery Series backup appliance made implementation simple. “I went through the training and watched videos, and it all seemed pretty straightforward,” Lanz says. “We have mostly virtual servers that didn’t require agents. I deployed agents to a few physical servers like SQL and Exchange. It went quite smoothly.” When Lanz did need help, he contacted Unitrends’ 24/7/365 support team. “I was surprisingly impressed overall. Anytime we have a support call, it is solved so quickly and easily, with almost no downtime. Unitrends support has exceeded expectations.” 

As a healthcare provider, CDC’s IT team must meet the compliance requirements of the Alberta Health Services board and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Having their Unitrends backup appliance in place with built-in Recovery Assurance testing has streamlined the process of healthcare compliancy for Lanz and his team. “One thing we really like with Unitrends is that every day it spins up our backups and then does a compliancy check. It makes sure all our services start, does some basic tests and then emails us a report every morning. And that goes towards meeting our compliance requirements by showing that we have backups, that we can restore our systems and that we can be back online relatively easily in case of emergency or outage. That has helped us quite a bit. We just get to show ‘here’s our record’ and everything comes up.”

Canada Diagnostic Centres
Canada Diagnostic Centres (CDC) is Alberta's premier medical and diagnostic imaging provider, offering pain management, bone density scans, ultrasounds, pediatric imaging and more. CDC serves 500,000 patients per year and has a network of 5,700 referring physicians. With 17 clinics, two data centers and over 500 employees, CDC has a distributed IT environment and large data footprint. Protecting everything and maintaining healthcare compliancy are critical to keeping the business running.

Follow Up

Shortly after installing the Unitrends backup appliance, Lanz used the Instant Recovery feature to recover from an outage with the CDC’s web server. “An update caused the server to stop responding but I had the web server back and hosted on the Unitrends device within 15 minutes or so. People didn’t even really notice the outage. It wasn’t long after we got Unitrends when it happened, and here it comes to save the day!” Lanz notes that with their previous backup product, the outage would have lasted much longer, not to mention he lacked confidence in their old backup system. “Before, assuming we actually had a reliable backup, we would have had to restore the server and then the data, and it would have been probably a day outage, but with Unitrends, by the time we found out the web server was down, it was about 15 minutes before it was back online and functioning properly.”

Lanz has continued to work with Unitrends Support when needed. “Anytime I’ve contacted Unitrends Support, it’s an almost immediate response and they’ll usually resolve it first call—either go in and fix it themselves or tell me what to do. I don’t think I’ve had a ticket open with Unitrends for more than an hour. With the previous backup solutions, we didn’t really have support—at least nothing useful.”

The CDC IT team also appreciates the Unitrends user interface and at-a-glance dashboard design. “The Unitrends interface is really easy to use for the most part. My manager likes it – they can just log in and see that everything looks good on the dashboard,” Lanz says.

The healthcare provider is also using Unitrends for archiving and was recently able to retrieve a necessary file archived over a year ago. “I imported the data from the remote location and browsed the restores,” Lanz says. “It took a little while, of course, but I was able to go back over a year and get the file. It was reassuring that everything was there in the archives and working as we’d hoped.”

Lanz adds, “One thing I also like about Unitrends is the ongoing interactivity – the frequent webinars with training, tips and hints, as well as the social media presence. It’s ongoing and keeps you engaged and up to date regarding what’s going on and shows you different ways you can use the product that you may not have thought of.”

In summing up his experience with Unitrends and why he’s a fan, Lanz says, “It’s just always worked.”