September 17, 2021
By Tony Bollinger, Director It Operations; Prodigo Solutions
In case you missed Cloud Migration - Part 1: Research & Analysis 101, Part 1 of this Cloud Migration Series covers what “The Cloud” is and the types of cloud options that organizations should research when considering a cloud migration. There is public cloud computing that is often recommended for technology organizations, private cloud computing that may be a good choice for organizations with many regulations, hybrid cloud computing which is a blended option and could be best for those with large data sets but also many regulations, and community cloud computing that is typically for those within similar industries. In addition to cloud computing type, organizational needs, the cost, impact on internet and network security, and areas of cloud migration are also important factors to consider.
While it may seem overwhelming to find the right fit and proceed with implementation, Part 1 of this series focused on providing the necessary tools and research to making the “best fit” decision. Part 2 reviews how Prodigo planned and migrated to the best cloud solution, based off internal needs and customer needs. This process mimics what many health systems must do in order to determine what and how they must migrate while minimizing disruptions to their operations.
For Prodigo Solutions it was essential to look for a combination of tight controls with heightened security, have the ability for a cloud service provider to augment with the IT team with expertise and guidance, as well as being the best in class across all infrastructure components.
It is vital to do an apples-to-apples comparison when analyzing cost. When embarking on a customer datacenter migration, Prodigo considered many factors, starting with the existing hardware costs and a hardware lifecycle/refresh model at a three-year lease plan, as well as the existing datacenter hosting fees like ping and power, racking costs, and monitoring costs. Comparing a base, equally sized, virtual system to a base bare metal system, and having all of these factors itemized with costs associated over three years, provided a surprisingly similar cost per node.
Prodigo increased its internet link and added more redundancy to the in-house network, WAPs, switches, and firewalls to ensure the ability to provide outage free access to the internet and the cloud service provider where all company servers now reside.
Prodigo chose a modified public cloud using a local cloud service provider for the regular commercial business. For government business, Prodigo partnered with an existing government service provider and utilized a major hyperscale provider for existing FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) enhanced security capabilities. Becoming FedRAMP certified was a separate project that was completed in less than a year.
For the commercial business migration, Prodigo planned a lot of buffer time for unexpected hurdles, expecting the migration to be less than a year but allotting for a full year. The migration began with, at that time, about 70 servers from a datacenter in Minnesota and took six months to migrate all the hosts to a fully virtualized platform. As a proof of concept, Prodigo first migrated a group of test servers to ensure no performance or access degradations existed and was pleased to result in unexpected performance increases. This proof-of-concept phase enabled refined migration processes, followed by scheduling existing systems through the following months.
Prodigo then implemented new standardized monitoring and alerting, added a partner in the hosting provider that brought expertise to the Prodigo IT department. This resulted in substantial process improvements and a shortened lead time to stand up a new customer environment – decreasing from over six weeks to just one. The ability to create standardized templates of core systems for future buildouts, along with in-house focus on custom scripting, allows for a uniformity in server builds that gives incredibly tight standards and provides efficiency improvements.
Prodigo Post Migration
Migration enhancements achieved were increased network security with an increased mixture of physical and virtualized networking, which also saw add-ons such as routine intrusions detection and prevention scanning, real-time analysis, and heuristics at the network physical layer preventing suspect traffic from reaching Prodigo systems. In addition to existing backup processes, Prodigo saw a standard new level of system wide file level backups providing all IT staff with a cloud-based ability to recover either an individual file on demand, or an entire VM if necessary.
One of the biggest benefits Prodigo gained was having in place real-time replication at the VM level which allows accurate yearly disaster recovery tests. This test is communicated with Prodigo customers each year, and at the designated time Prodigo completely fails over all replicated hosts to a separate geographical datacenter. This involves all network routing and traffic, separate entry points from the internet to customer sites, and the VMs migrating seamlessly. Prodigo runs in the designated backup datacenter for a few weeks and then again fail back to the primary datacenter. This has been completed for four years without issue and is a rare true disaster recovery test.
Prodigo’s cloud provider is continually migrating company hosts to newer hardware platforms and sends standard system notifications regarding when the maintenance will occur – always being a routine non-event. Prodigo also looked at a provider that bundled the licensing of the operating systems, database software, and any other standard Microsoft licensing that Prodigo would require, which simplifies what is normally a tremendously time consuming and tedious administrative function.
Prodigo’s Cloud Conclusion
After completing a physical to virtual migration of customer facing commercial datacenter, an email migration to Office 365, and by using a cloud-based network management solution, Prodigo has seen major benefits that have increased the ability to provide reliability, redundancy, and process improvements that would not have been possible to do in a fully physical configuration.
There are many types of cloud computing options and there is a solution for all organizations. Doing the research to find the right solution and how to best utilize it the key to a smooth cloud migration. Cloud computing is the future and it’s time to embrace it.
To learn more about “The Cloud,” read Part 1 of Prodigo’s Cloud Migration series and visit www.ProdigoSolutions.com for more information on how Prodigo’s suite of solutions fill the gaps to enhance both traditional ERPs and cloud-based solutions for the healthcare industry. Also, watch this webinar to see how Indiana University Health migrated to the cloud.
About Prodigo Solutions
Prodigo Solutions is a healthcare technology company that improves provider’s financial control and reduces supply chain cost. Prodigo Solutions’ savings technology has been developed by healthcare supply chain experts to deliver tangible results across a continuum of care. Customers who use our systems purchase more than $17 billion annually for the more than 600 hospitals they operate.