The health sector has a wide range of IT products. Ton Mulder Corporate Information Manager at RDOG HM: "Departments as child welfare, epidemiology and disaster assistance, all have their own operating systems and programs. For example, some departments
work with spreadsheets, while child welfare works with a large digital dossier. Epidemiological Research for instance manages the data of 100,000+ young people under 19. "
After merging two regions the IT architecture became even more complex for instance with legacy Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers, terminal solutions based on Citrix etc. The need for a clearer IT architecture was growing. Two years ago,
consolidation was achieved with the help of an IT partner. The various IT environments of some parts of RDOG HM were migrated to a standard environment based on Microsoft Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V 2.0.
To give you an idea: RDOG HM now has 16 blade servers, 250 PCs, 150 thin clients, 150 laptops, 25 notepads and 650 PDAs. The five sectors of RDOG HM employ about 1,000 people. The IT department provides service to four of the five sectors, 600 employees
in total – including homeworkers.
RDOG HM did not succeed, however, in getting the new platform stable. Mulder: "The problems were mainly taking place on our Citrix environment. A Citrix server must be able to handle 20 to 25 users easily. If there are more users, than the workload is automatically
distributed across multiple Citrix servers. This is how it should go under normal conditions, but once we got over 15 users the Citrix server shuts down continuously. We had to restart that server several times per week. "
Infant centers, school doctors and other departments were regularly impeded in their daily work. Mulder: "It is certainly undesirable that a mother and child at the infant center are not being helped, because our IT is down."
Time to make a report with requirements and criteria, in order to get things on track, was not available. "We really needed help urgently."
Mulder: "At all levels of our organization, everyone was convinced that immediate action was needed. This is why we requested sales quotes at different support companies. However, all of them wanted to start off with the process of research and reporting.
We did not have time for that. Our Microsoft account manager pointed us at the option to let Premier Support take a look at our IT environment. Microsoft was the only party that wanted to address the problems with a pragmatic approach. This pleased us very
much, because we wanted to work towards a solution- with focus from the start. "
At Microsoft, RDOG HM signed a Premier Support contract. Part of the contract is the Premier Startup Service (PSS). The PSS ensures a correct use of the Premier contract within the IT organization and includes the start of the relationship between the SDM
(Service Delivery Manager) and CSM (Customer Support Manager). Thanks to the PSS analysis we were able to pinpoint our bottlenecks and we were able to decide where to start first. First, the issues related to stability had been localized and analyzed. This
was our first concern. Mulder: "After signing the contract the 'health checks' have been executed, which investigated the major Microsoft products at RDOG HM”. In order to restore stability, radical action was required. Certain driver software was disabled
or replaced and the exchange of information between client software and the company has been corrected. With these changes a big part of the problem was solved, but just as important for RDOG HM was to prevent problems from happening again in the future. Based
on the PSS analysis RDOG HM received a general risk overview associated with its IT processes. Mulder: "In order to mitigate these risks, we have worked with the Service Delivery Manager and created a proactive Service Delivery Plan." For example, a Risk Assessment
Program for Active Directory (ADRAP) has been executed to stabilize the Active Directory environment. The Active Directory is the foundation of the information structure of the company. Using the ADRAP an analysis is being done to proactively prevent problems
from happening. Mulder: "In this, the Active Directory Snapshot has an important role. This provides valuable real time information on the performance, configuration and the 'health' of key components within the Active Directory."
The Premier Support activities are more than just Active Directory and Windows Server. Mulder: "The Premier Field Engineer from Microsoft has also checked our Exchange Server. After the analysis, a recovery program has been built, aiming at potential disaster
scenarios with the Exchange Server and Active Directory. Remediation in the Exchange Server environment has been performed consistently with the Exchange Risk Assessment Program (EXRAP) results. "
Premier Support also resulted in the accelerated implementation of Lync at RDOG HM. Lync is the communication software from Microsoft. "We were already working on a Voice over IP project before we started with Premier Support. Regularly contacting the people
of Microsoft Premier Support accelerated the implementation of Lync. This was especially useful because we could use the chalk and talk sessions to communicate quick and easily with Microsoft specialists."
RDOG HM is very positive about Premier Support. Mulder: "The help of Premier Support was of great importance to our platform to become stable. This way we could quickly discuss the plans through Lync with the Microsoft Premier Support specialists and start
making progress immediately."
By using the Active Directory Recovery Execution Service (ADRES), RDOG HM is being taught how to do recovery work in case of issues, now and in the future. Mulder: "A so-called 'critical situation' is being remediated in two steps from now on. With Premier
Support, we can estimate the impact of a risk regarding hardware and software development. Also we can look critically to our processes and procedures that affect our IT systems.
With proactive and reactive components of Premier Support, RDOG HM can prevent the IT systems from going down. Mulder: "Even in that area, we are constantly improving things. The 'health checks' are being used as a guideline. We are therefore able, eventually,
to operate more proactive than reactive. The result is that our IT environment is gaining more trust. "
Finally, Ton Mulder says that he values the working method of Premier Support and the Premier Startup Service very highly. "Because there was no time for long analysis tracks which were advised by various support organizations, the fast 'health checks' by
Premier Startup Services were a great solution. This way we did a quick and focused analysis of the most pressing problems and risks in the production environment of RDOG HM. I even think that Premier Support has helped to increase the quality standards for
RDOG services. For example, last year we successfully, and without a lot of extra effort, went through the ISO 9001 certification. "
Help add value to the management of your IT infrastructure with Microsoft Services Premier Support. Get just what you want, whether it is designated technical professionals that help supervise all your support needs, problem resolution support that helps
cover your systems around-the-clock, or training and workshops to help keep your IT staff up-to-date on the latest technologies.
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