MRO protects patient data and reduces virtual machine downtime with all-flash arrays from Synology


Our all-flash Synology arrays are a critical part of keeping our patients' data safe.

Pete Wall, IT Manager, Minneapolis Radiation Oncology

Protecting sensitive patient data

In order to keep patient data safe, MRO needed a way to frequently back up digital records stored at each location. Previously, MRO was using a point-in-time backup application to take intermittent snapshots. Unfortunately, because patient data were updated in such short intervals, the snapshots were not frequent enough and the latest one would not necessarily reflect all changes in patient data. In the case of a ransomware attack or hardware failure, MRO would lose all changes since the last point-in-time snapshot.

Additionally, MRO had experienced multiple systems failing simultaneously, so the organization was searching for a backup solution that could take over running the entire environment, including numerous virtual machines, in the case of an emergency. MRO needed a fast, flexible backup solution that could restore IT services at their clinics in a matter of seconds rather than days, ensuring uninterrupted operations at their clinics.

High-performance data replication and failover

MRO chose to add several Synology servers to their network to act as replication targets, as well as failover arrays that could run the clinics' virtual machine environments in case of hardware failure in their existing system.

At each of MRO's nine off-site clinics, patient data is managed through a VMware environment running on their host servers. That virtual machine data is continuously replicated to a Synology FS3410 server at each location to capture all changes in patient data. Each Synology NAS is also outfitted with enough storage and memory to run the entire VMware environment in case the production server goes offline, ensuring patient data can still be recorded and retrieved in case of an emergency.

At the main office, MRO deployed an all-flash Synology FS6400 to serve as the replication target for patient data coming from the nine remote clinics and provide off-site redundancy in case of a fire or natural disaster at one of the clinics. Secondly, the FS6400 backs up file server data from MRO's main office server via the local network.

 

Workflow diagram for MRO

 

Finally, MRO chose a Synology desktop NAS as a portable emergency server. In the event of a catastrophic failure of one of their branch clinic production servers, MRO's IT team can replicate a clinic's entire environment to the portable Synology NAS using the backups stored at their main office. They can then transport that portable Synology NAS to the location and run the clinic's entire environment, including continuous backups to the FS3410.

Increased protection and reduced virtual machine downtime

When one of MRO's main production arrays failed at a clinic, the team used backups at the main office to quickly restore all the clinic's virtual machines to their portable Synology NAS. MRO then deployed that NAS to the location and ran the clinic's entire environment from the unit for two days until the host server was repaired. Ultimately, MRO lost less than 10 seconds of changes to data as a consequence of the crash. This meant that all patient data was successfully recovered without any missing changes.

 

The Customer

Since 1982, the radiation oncology doctors and care specialists at Minneapolis Radiation Oncology (MRO) have treated over 100,000 patients while working closely with referring surgeons and medical oncologists to deliver the best possible outcome for each patient. MRO has a total of nine clinics and 175 employees across the Midwestern US.

Healthcare
100-999
United States

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