National Guard Health Affairs Integrates Hardware and Software Infrastructure to Improve High Availability and Speed of Critical Applications
 
 

National Guard Health Affairs Integrates Hardware and Software Infrastructure to Improve High Availability and Speed of Critical Applications

National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA) is recognized as an internationally acclaimed center of excellence to enhance individual and public health status. It delivers optimum healthcare to Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) personnel, their dependents, and other eligible patients. NGHA also provides excellent academic opportunities, conducts research, and participates in industry and community service programs in the health field.

NGHA operates 53 clinics and five hospitals, the largest of which houses the institution’s main data center. NGHA first began deploying Oracle hardware and applications in 2002. In 2010, it realized that the functionality limits of its third-party human resources (HR) system meant it could not meet the needs of a growing organization.

To meet its requirement for greater capacity and efficiency to serve a rapidly growing employee base, NGHA deployed Oracle technology, including Oracle’s SPARC Enterprise M9000 servers, Oracle’s SPARC Enterprise M5000 servers, Oracle’s SPARC T4-2 servers, and Oracle WebLogic Server. The organization also upgraded its Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 applications.

The solutions, designed for mission-critical healthcare environments, delivered the enterprise resource planning (ERP) application scalability and health information system (HIS) support that the rapidly growing healthcare organization required. With the new server environment, NGHA freed up 25% of system administration time previously spent managing servers, allowing administrators to focus on other IT priorities. The organization also cut server power and cooling overheads to approximately 35% of previous costs by consolidating 20 stand-alone servers into just 8 servers.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from National Guard Health Affairs

  • “Oracle’s integrated hardware and software was the only way we could meet our project requirements for application speed, scalability, reliability, and availability. The solution’s price and support levels were also very attractive to us.” – Khalid H. Al-Zahrani, Director, Corporate Datacenter, National Guard Health Affairs

  • Replace end-of-life, SunFire, hosted ERP environment with more powerful, scalable systems that can support the demands of an expanded employee population, across more hospital and clinical sites
  • Enable seamless deployment of mission-critical applications in a robust, secure, highly available environment, ensuring the distributed fault tolerance and redundancy demanded by a highly sensitive, secure enterprise, comprising multiple hospitals and healthcare clinics
  • Replace a legacy, third-party HR application to enable the organization to grow rapidly and indefinitely, while supporting centralized, consistent policies and reporting, regardless of hospital or clinic location
  • Improve availability, redundancy, and scalability of the Q-CPR HIS application, a specialized healthcare emergency procedure measurement and feedback tool, making care information and patient data more rapidly available to NGHA’s 2,500 power users
  • Deliver higher availability for ERP and HIS applications across every hospital, clinic, and administrative site in the NGHA by 2013

Solutions

  • Installed two Oracle’s SPARC Enterprise M9000 servers, running Oracle Solaris, which has a design suited to mission-critical healthcare environments, ultimately delivering the massive ERP application scalability and HIS support required by a rapidly growing healthcare organization that is adding new clinical sites while supporting more than 40,000 employees
  • Consolidated 30, end-of-life servers, replacing them with 7 SPARC T4-2 servers and 3 SPARC Enterprise M5000 servers—1 deployed for ERP application development and the other 2 dedicated to the facility’s infection-control department, hosting Oracle E-Business Suite and NGHA’s own HIS applications
  • Deployed a new server environment and freed up 25% of the time system administrators had spent managing servers, allowing them to focus on other IT priorities
  • Cut power and cooling overhead to around 35% of previous costs by replacing 20 standalone servers with just 8
  • Deployed Oracle WebLogic Server to improve logistics contract management and infection control departments’ capabilities across the multisite, healthcare organization
  • Replaced third-party HR system with Oracle Human Resources Management System, ensuring that NGHA’s 40,000 skilled health professionals benefit from a single consistent instance of employee data, privacy, and security for salary and personal information, resulting in an HR system uptime of 99.8%, and flexibility to meet the demands of employee churn and change
  • Hosted mission-critical Q-CPR HIS application on four highly scalable SPARC T4-2 servers, enabling all four major hospitals to use one centralized, unified instance of HIS, while increasing HIS system response time by 40%
  • Enabled logistics and finance teams in clinics and hospitals to retrieve critical information 35% to 40% faster, freeing time for strategic planning during an important period of growth and expansion
  • Ensured 99.8% availability for all ERP and HIS applications across NGHA sites and laid the groundwork to achieve 99.9% availability by the end of 2012

Why Oracle

NGHA employs many highly skilled and experienced IT experts with in-depth knowledge of the Oracle stack and skill sets built around knowledge of Oracle.

“Oracle is very well known throughout Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world as a strong, stable company with unrivalled technology. At NGHA we have excellent internal skills and many years’ experience working with Oracle products and services, and we enjoy collaborating with Oracle Consulting and Oracle partners to deliver new projects,” said Prof. Majid Al Tuwaijiri, vice president and executive director – information systems and informatics division – NGHA King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Science.

Implementation Process

NGHA completed its implementation on time and budget.

In just two weeks, the organization deployed and configured two SPARC Enterprise M9000 servers and seven SPARC T4-2 servers running Oracle Solaris, Oracle E-Business Suite, and NGHA’s HIS applications, in addition to three SPARC Enterprise M5000 servers in two separate data centers. System migration from older to new servers took an additional two-day period, during which time NGHA checked to ensure that all existing applications operated as expected, and that all regional sites were securely connected to the central database. Oracle Consulting continues to provide 24/7 support for bugs, patches, and hardware tuning.