Hospital Center Saint-Quentin ensures the smooth operation of its entire healthcare IT infrastructure with Paessler PRTG
About Hospital Center Saint-Quentin
With a total capacity of 976 beds, the Centre Hospitalier de Saint-Quentin (Hospital Center Saint-Quentin) is the largest general hospital in Picardy. As the hub of the Aisne Nord Haute Somme health region, it accounts for 59% of the sector's capacity in terms of beds and places in medicine, surgery, and obstetrics, and employs 2,500 people across all professions (administrative and medical). Every year, almost 53,000 inpatients spend an average of five days in the hospital.
The IT department is made up of 10 people whose job it is to manage, administer and supervise the 1,500 workstations, the 120 to 130 servers that host visitor, patient, medical and administrative data, the 10 controllers and the 550 wi-fi terminals throughout the hospital.
Jean-Baptiste Gard, Network and Security Infrastructure Manager, is in charge of network supervision for the facility.
"The choice of PRTG proved to be truly ideal given the scale and criticality of our network infrastructure. The proactivity that this solution brings us is such that we are now able to identify a breakdown and be on site ready to repair it before the end-user has even noticed the malfunction. What's more, the ease of use and flexibility of this tool make it an extraordinary daily ally for continuous network monitoring with complete peace of mind."
Jean-Baptiste Gard, Network and Security Infrastructure Manager, Hospital Center Saint-Quentin
Network issues and requirements at Saint-Quentin hospital
The hospital's internet network is divided into two distinct parts: the part used by professionals (doctors, nurses, surgeons, administrative staff) and the part used by visitors or patients during their stay, via a dedicated network. This partitioning ensures secure access to professional and confidential data in transit.
The diversity of applications and the complexity of the organization reflect the multiple activities managed by the Hospital Center. Within the IT, software used for patient care coexist like patient files, imaging management, laboratory management; but also all support functions such as meal management, laundry management, billing, human resources management, the intranet.
Personal productivity tools like email, office automation, and finally, IT operating software such as anti-virus, backup, directory, etc. A consistent level of security and performance must be guaranteed across the board.
The hospital's active network equipment consists mainly of switches, firewalls, and radio bridges for interconnection with remote sites in the city, as well as giant Wi-Fi terminals placed on the roofs of buildings and communicating with each other.
The hospital's 550 Wi-Fi terminals are controlled by 10 wi-fi controllers, which enable terminals to be passed from one terminal to another without interruption, deploying a wi-fi network throughout the hospital in a matter of seconds.
Front-end firewalls act as firewalls separating the hospital's internal network from external intrusions and viruses that could threaten the integrity of the data circulating on it.
The switches are located in technical rooms measuring around 9m². These small rooms also house the network hardware and equipment used to transfer information and distribute the network throughout the hospital's wards, offices, and buildings. These premises are as critical as a server room, since an abnormal rise in temperature can cause a crash or service interruption.
The hospital needs to supervise temperatures in the technical rooms and server room in order to guarantee faultless continuity of service, as network outages in hospital environments are a very sensitive issue.
"After using a free solution integrated with Nagios for a while, and only supervising switches using the Procurve Manager tool supplied by the manufacturer HP, we became aware of the limitations of using these solutions. They lacked ergonomics and configuration flexibility, and above all they prevented us from having an overall view of the state of the hospital's network," explains Mr Gard.
Gard set out to find a solution that would meet the following needs:
- Supervision of all hospital equipment
- Return on bandwidth used by equipment
- Real-time warning of equipment operating problems
- Centralized graphic overview for greater relevance and convenience
- Easy to use
- Responsive technical support
After a comparative study of three network solution providers, he chose Paessler PRTG Network Monitor in December 2010.
PRTG as the solution
Installation and actual implementation of the solution took just 15 days in all.
The first four days were devoted to switch configuration, in order to stagger the rollout and ensure a smooth transition. For the next stage, Mr. Gard chose to concentrate on functionalities and increase their number. And finally, he integrated temperature monitoring in the technical rooms. A total of 6080 sensors are used.
In order to have a permanent overview of network activity, Gard decided to display the PRTG dashboard on a large flat screen in the computer room. He no longer needs to go anywhere, since the warning light on the dashboard screen switches to warning mode or sends the alert by e-mail.
PRTG has its own app for iOS, enabling remote network supervision via VPN, which is extremely practical during on-call periods.
For Gard, the main advantages of PRTG are:
- Ease of installation
- A unique start-up configuration
- Automated parameterization of all new monitored equipment
- The ability to add additional features at will
- Rapid alerts for greater proactivity
- Precise analysis of bandwidth usage
- The availability and responsiveness of Paessler's Technical Support teams
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