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Indiana hospital hops on cloud data protection with Clumio

Rush Memorial Hospital switched from on-premises backup and disaster recovery to cloud data protection through Clumio, significantly reducing its costs and backup management burden.

The IT leadership at Rush Memorial Hospital was getting sick of on-premises backup.

CIO and vice president of IT Jim Boyer found the hospital's legacy backup system to be costly and complicated. While shopping for ways to do data protection in the cloud instead of in the data center, he found Clumio backup as a service. Since switching to Clumio, Rush Memorial Hospital's IT staff cut the time it spent managing and maintaining backup by more than two-thirds. Boyer said Clumio cost less than the other cloud data protection options he evaluated and gave him a predictable cost to budget against.

Adopting cloud data protection was part of Boyer's ongoing effort to shrink the hospital's data center footprint. For the past two years, he had invested heavily in putting all of Rush Memorial Hospital's IT on virtual machines, virtual desktop infrastructure and cloud services wherever he could. Boyer said the hospital is about 99% virtualized now and runs on Microsoft Remote Desktop Services. Email, electronic medical record management and data protection are all cloud-based.

Cutting out the costs of colo

Using the cloud for data protection helped Boyer achieve a major milestone in his project, as it allowed him to decommission his secondary data center. Before Clumio, while using traditional on-premises storage and backup, the hospital had an off-site colocation for disaster recovery (DR) purposes. Based in a rural area, Rush Memorial Hospital's colo costs were expensive, Boyer said -- he had to pay for the dark fiber running to the colo facility, as well as the duplicate hardware.

"All that investment sitting there waiting for a bad day, and it's only in need a half a percent of the time," Boyer said of the colo.

Jim Boyer, CIO and vice president of IT, Rush Memorial HospitalJim Boyer

Rush Memorial is a 25-bed community hospital based out of Rushville, Ind. It is a designated Critical Access Hospital and provides many healthcare services found in much larger hospitals, such as pain management, primary care and mental health. Rush Memorial's five-person IT team supports the hospital, as well as the five clinics that provide those other health services, totaling about 350 employees. On multiple occasions, the hospital has won the HealthCare's Most Wired award from the American Hospital Association and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), which is given to hospitals that use technology to improve patient experience and engagement.

Dan Matney, director of information systems at Rush Memorial Hospital, estimated that between patient data, financial data and the virtual desktop infrastructure, the hospital is backing up about 40 TB of data.

Dan Matney, director of information systems, Rush Memorial HospitalDan Matney

The rise of ransomware over the last few years got Boyer thinking about air gapping and securing backup data, he said, which steered him toward cloud data protection. Matney was no stranger to the idea, as he had to perform large-scale restores due to ransomware on four different occasions prior to joining Rush Memorial Hospital's IT team. While running his own managed service provider business, Matney had a client with 125 endpoints fall victim to a ransomware attack. Restoring the client's environment from LTO-4 tapes stored off site took him two weeks.

Matney looked at Cohesity, Rubrik, Dell, Acronis and Veeam while searching for a replacement for the hospital's legacy backup, but he said only Clumio offered an air-gapped product out of the gate. He said it was possible to configure the other vendors' products to make the backups immutable or restrict external access, but Clumio didn't need any extra steps.

"Nothing except Clumio came out and said, 'Here's your solution, and you don't have to modify or fiddle with it.' We have been hands-off with backup since we implemented Clumio," Matney said.

Clumio fit the size of Rush Memorial's operation

Both Matney and Boyer pointed out that other vendors forced hardware into part of the purchase of their data protection products. Boyer said with hardware wrapped in, the price tag for the other vendors were often too high compared to Clumio's offer. He said he could see how those products may be a better fit for a large, 400-bed hospital, which would have both the need and the resources for them. However, Rush Memorial Hospital simply doesn't pull in that level of revenue.

"After a few rounds of negotiations, the price was just something we couldn't sustain," Boyer said. "I think it's very important that the vendor is flexible and right-sizes the solution to the size of the organization."

Breaking down his pricing analysis, Boyer said he saw Clumio as something that consolidated storage, colo, backup and DR in one product. He said he weighed the cost of doing each of those components separately, including the cost of expanding and maintaining them three years down the line, against Clumio's recurring cost and found purchasing Clumio to be the sensible option.

Johnny Yu covers enterprise data protection news for TechTarget's Storage sites, SearchDataBackup and SearchDisasterRecovery. Before joining TechTarget in June 2018, he wrote for USA Today's consumer product review site, Reviewed.com.

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