VERITAS i3 for SQL ServerREVIEWER: Ayad Shammout, senior database administrator and analyst for CareGroup Healthcare Systems.

BACKGROUND: CareGroup Healthcare System, with three affiliated hospitals and several medical centers, supports 17,000 users and millions of patients throughout the Boston area. CareGroup, concerned about developing innovative ways to improve communication between its healthcare providers and patients, developed its CareWeb and PatientSite portals, both of which require 24x7 system availability. CareWeb is a low-cost intranet system that gives physicians instant access to patient records. The PatientSite application enables patients to access their personal medical records.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft Windows 2000 and 2003 Server software, Microsoft Exchange 2003 mail servers, Microsoft IIS Web servers, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database servers storing hundreds of gigabytes of critical patient and clinical data, and EMC CLARiiON and Symmetrix storage.

PROBLEM SOLVED: CareWeb, a business-critical application, was serving more than 240 concurrent users at any given time around the clock, and 24x7 system availability was vital to assist physicians and caregivers and inform patients and their families. Data growth for this application is projected at 70 percent per year. Maintaining the performance and availability of SQL Server in this environment was a critical requirement.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: CareGroup began investigating application performance management (APM) solutions to maximize the performance of CareWeb, PatientSite and other clinical database-driven systems. The result was the selection of VERITAS i3. VERITAS i3 for SQL Server helps detect the root cause of application slowdowns for fast resolution, helping CareGroup to optimize performance of SQL Server-based applications and ensure timely and reliable access to patient-related information. VERITAS i3 enables CareGroup to quickly identify application performance problems and isolate problem ownership. A main differentiator of VERITAS i3 is that it stores detailed performance metrics in a performance warehouse. Historical reports can be generated that provide a complete view of all SQL Server database servers for immediate identification of performance issues.

STRENGTHS: Users can quickly identify sources of performance issues with an easy-to-use GUI, enabling rapid resolution of problems to keep performance at optimized levels. This speed of resolution allows CareGroup to resolve problems before end users are impacted.

WEAKNESSES: There is no export data option to enable the user to copy the statistics data to an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis. There is a copy to clipboard feature, but it is very limited.

SELECTION CRITERIA: CareGroup needed an easy-to-use toolset that would enable administrators to rapidly identify causes of slowdowns and isolate ownership for fast resolution. VERITAS i3 met all criteria.

DELIVERABLES: VERITAS i3 enables CareGroup to analyze historical trends for fast identification of developing problems. It enables administrators to locate the source of a slowdown, then drill down to reveal the nature of the problem so it can be resolved. All performance-related information appears on a single page. This is a process that may otherwise require days or weeks. In some cases, it may not be possible to isolate the problem at all without VERITAS APM tools. VERITAS i3 sends alerts by e-mail and page when problems are detected. Installing and upgrading VERITAS i3 on multiple machines is a simple process that is carried out from a single central location using the VERITAS Web interface. It is not necessary to reboot systems and schedule downtime to install the software, apply a patch or perform an upgrade. VERITAS i3 helps CareGroup deliver 99.9 percent availability for mission-critical systems such as CareWeb and PatientSite.

VENDOR SUPPORT: VERITAS worked closely with CareGroup to implement an advanced, feature-rich, easy-to-manage APM solution that quickly detects performance degradation anywhere in the architecture.

DOCUMENTATION: Ease of use of the VERITAS solution has allowed CareGroup to install and use it without dependence on the documentation, which is well-organized and explicit.

VERITAS i3 for SQL Server
VERITAS Software Corporation
350 Ellis Street
Mountain View, CA 94043

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