Redundancy and Availability
Barmherzige Brüder Österreich, which operates a number of hospitals and assisted living facilities, had been using a single server to support small, non-critical SAP HANA workloads for half a decade. But when the organization decided to expand its use of SAP HANA to facilitate patient management and accounting at its Austrian hospitals, the application became more mission-critical and additional redundancy and availability were needed.
“We wanted full replication between our two data centers in Austria,” says Christian Neubauer, IT manager at Barmherzige Brüder. “After looking at a number of server options, we chose Cisco HyperFlex.”
The centralized, software-defined management of the HCI solution was a key factor in their decision. Leveraging Cisco Intersight, Barmherzige Brüder’s 12-person IT operations team is now monitoring and managing a pair of Cisco HyperFlex clusters across two active-active data centers from a single console.
“Security is mission-critical for us, and we use almost all of Cisco’s security products. It’s easier to integrate, protect, and manage everything when your compute, storage, and network infrastructure all come from a single vendor.” —Christian Neubauer, IT Manager, Barmherzige Brüder
“We have a small, central IT operations team, and Intersight allows us to configure our servers collectively instead of individually,” says Philipp Reiter, network engineer at Barmherzige Brüder. “Updating and maintaining the infrastructure is now much faster and easier.”
The Cisco HyperFlex clusters are also tightly integrated with the organization’s Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) network, its FlexPod-based virtual server infrastructure (VSI), and its Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) environment running Hitachi workloads.
“We’ve created an island for SAP HANA, but that island is well connected to our data center network and our other servers,” Reiter says.
It’s also well protected. Barmherzige Brüder is using a host of Cisco security solutions—including Cisco Umbrella and Cisco Identity Services Engine—as well as the microsegmentation capabilities of Cisco ACI to secure its data centers and workloads.
“Security is mission-critical for us, and we use almost all of Cisco’s security products,” Neubauer says. “It’s easier to integrate, protect, and manage everything when your compute, storage, and network infrastructure all come from a single vendor.”
Flexibility and Scalability
In addition to simplified management, tight integration with preexisting systems, and robust security, Reiter says flexibility and scalability are the hallmarks of Barmherzige Brüder’s new HCI systems.
“It’s very important to have flexibility. We’re not sure how much performance or storage we’ll need, but with Cisco HyperFlex, we can scale compute, storage, and memory independently,” he says, noting the use of Intel Optane Nonvolatile Memory Express (NVMe) Solid State Drives (SSDs), which offer up to 40x faster response times under load than NAND SSDs.
In addition to scaling the infrastructure within its Austrian data centers, Barmherzige Brüder can also clone and extend the environment to its data centers in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
“We’ve created a blueprint that can be easily replicated in other countries,” Neubauer says. “The prospect of having one configuration, one set of security and micro-segmentation policies, and centralized management for all of our data centers across Europe is very compelling.