Automating With an InterSystems IRIS Deployment

A healthcare client modernizes its infrastructure for higher performance and future enhancements to serve critical business needs.

The Client

An American academic orthopedics practice with worldwide acclaim.

The Challenge

The client needed to modernize its infrastructure for higher performance and future enhancements to serve critical business needs. They began with a rebuild of their network and a move to two new data centers with Sirius’ help. Afterward, the client deployed a new electronic health record (EHR) system InterSystems IRIS, an OLTP (online transactional processing operational) database. As the heart of a mission-critical system, IRIS® would need to be hosted on responsive, reliable infrastructure capable of handling demanding workloads.

The Solution

To achieve higher performance while managing costs, the client and Sirius deployed a new EHR system following their EHR partner’s requirements on Intel® Xeon® processors using VMware vSphere and Red Hat Linux to complete the stack. Given the criticality of IRIS in the EHR platform, it was necessary that the systems were deployed in accordance with industry and EHR vendor best practices. Sirius employed a set of Ansible playbooks to support this need. The stability and consistency of end-user experiences depended on the effective operational management of the new platform.

The Results

  • The new Intel processors improved database response times by 20%.
  • A 60% reduction in the client’s data center footprint.
  • Leveraged Intel and Red Hat to reduce complexity, making it easier to manage while ensuring compliance with EHR best practices.
  • Allowed for consistent management of the environment with safeguards against configuration drift and robust audit trails for change management needs.
  • Reduced costs to manage and maintain the infrastructure with a server environment based on Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors.

Building a Modern, Expandable Platform

In late 2019, a Sirius client decided on a transformational IT milestone—a shift from legacy data centers to two new co-location facilities that would empower them to effectively handle present and future business needs. Partnering with Sirius experts, the client evaluated their current and future needs and decided to host a new EHR on their servers alongside other critical applications and infrastructure to support care delivery and offer advantages in terms of cost and management.

The project was under way in March 2020 as COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in the United States. “Despite the challenges of these times, the Sirius team stayed on track with the build out of our two new data centers; the migration of our existing data centers; our network up-fits; standing up new locations, as well as dealing with our legacy environment,” said the client’s Sr. Vice President of Technology Services. “The Sirius team isn’t done. They are also providing much needed business continuity support during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Among the critical work streams in this larger effort was the deployment of InterSystems IRIS data management software. The team chose Intel® Xeon® Scalable Platinum processors to power the servers that would become the nucleus for all EHR operations. To support the mission critical EHR, securely host patient health information (PHI), and provide a great user experience, the client and Sirius leveraged pre-built Ansible playbooks to accelerate deployment and consistently manage the IRIS environment. In addition to the playbooks, Sirius provided existing backup/refresh scripts to expedite the implementation and eliminate any duplication of work for the client. All this helped with an effective deployment and to maintain IRIS while significantly reducing time to deploy, operational overhead and consulting costs. It also eliminated the chance of end-user frustration and project delays.

Sirius’ Ansible playbooks for Linux and InterSystems IRIS addressed these and more needs:

Security

  • Full integration with Microsoft Active Directory for secure, centrally managed user access and authorization
  • Based on Red Hat, minimal install (or installing only necessary software)
  • OpenSSH, a connectivity tool for remote login with SSH protocol

Operational and Vendor-Specific Functions

  • Central management of NTP configuration
  • Deployment of EHR vendor best practices and operating system tunning to improve performance by preventing the occurrence of error conditions, which degrade performance.
  • Creation of application local users/groups
  • Creation file systems and configurations of underlying storage
  • Email relay via Postfix, an open-source mail transfer agent that routes and delivers electronic mail.
  • Red Hat subscription management
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Solution Components

Intel® Xeon® processors
Ansible
VMware vSphere
Red Hat

Intel Processors Support Database Performance and Security

The Sirius solution for EHRs integrates Intel® Xeon® Scalable Platinum processors for maximum density per blade. These powerful processors are workload-optimized to support applications that require high performance and availability. Advanced features include Intel® Optane™ persistent memory to help optimize in-memory databases and Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel® AVX- 512), designed to accelerate data processing for excellent database performance. Hardware-enhanced security features, such as Intel® QuickAssist Technology for fast data compression and cryptography, help protect data and systems without sacrificing speed.

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About Sirius Healthcare

At every step of the healthcare continuum, and throughout the entire technology life cycle, Sirius Healthcare provides best-of-breed multi-vendor technology solutions that help healthcare organizations improve quality of care, control costs, enhance security, comply with regulations and extend reach to communities. Learn more about Sirius Healthcare and call Sirius today at 800-460-1237 to schedule a discussion of your needs.