PharmaPartners ensures storage reliability with IntelliMagic Vision

PharmaPartners is a major IT service provider for the Dutch healthcare industry. PharmaPartners develops integrated healthcare systems and provides storage and backend services to hospitals, pharmacies and doctor’s practices. Five years ago, PharmaPartners completed a large scale storage hardware migration and decided to use IntelliMagic Vision to manage the performance and reliability of the storage infrastructure.

Proactively managing storage health can be difficult.  An internal component may be approaching a critical utilization level without any sign of performance degradation. If you do not have visibility into the inner workings of your storage systems, you might only find out after service levels are severely impacted.

Yet, like in healthcare, prevention is better than cure. That is why PharmaPartners SAN specialists use IntelliMagic Vision to look deep inside and avoid serious disruptions by preventing internal issues from becoming external problems.

Maurice Lambour, Senior Technical Specialist at PharmaPartners, says: “IntelliMagic Vision helps us gain and maintain insight into what exactly goes on inside our storage and FC layer. The great thing about IntelliMagic Vision is that all dashboards and charts have drill downs all the way down to the component level which uncovers potential internal bottlenecks. And if there are any incidents, we can either find the root cause, or exclude the storage layer from the possible culprits.”

PharmaPartners has used IntelliMagic Vision to keep their systems healthy, operational and efficient throughout the past 5 years. One particular example of the protection that IntelliMagic Vision provides to PharmaPartners is when shortly after a hardware change the utilization of the SSDs was peaking at over 80%. Because of the nature of SSDs, the applications did not see any performance degradation yet, but IntelliMagic Vision detected and flagged the 80% utilization as a serious upcoming bottleneck.

Lambour: “We immediately took action by adding two FlashSystems with 10 TB of Flash storage each, and used IntelliMagic Vision to show that the utilization was again safely under 40%”. If it hadn’t been for this early warning, this bottleneck would have stayed invisible until it hit 100%, at which point it would have resulted in a sudden, very serious impact to service levels.

PharmaPartners runs two storage domains; an internal domain with IBM DS5300 and StorWize V7000 systems, and another domain for their customers with IBM Storwize V7000, Storwize V7000 Unified and IBM FlashSystem 820 storage systems, used by VMWare servers. Lambour: “By matching up VMware and storage naming conventions we can create clear reports per VMWare data store that show workload, performance and growth trends.  Our business units are very positive about the regular management reporting that they get.”

“We also use IntelliMagic Vision to keep track of how much I/O our in-house applications generate.  When the profiling showed prominent peaks, we involved the software department who optimized the applications’ behavior and made changes to the scheduling, which greatly improved service levels. From our customers’ perspective: no more ‘hourglasses’ on their screens!"

PharmaPartners is very happy about the relationship with IntelliMagic. Lambour: “IntelliMagic Vision is a highly comprehensive product which is very suitable for SAN specialists. We very much like having been able to influence IntelliMagic’s development by providing our ideas and cooperation, and their support is excellent - though we hardly ever need any support.”

About PharmaPartners

For over 35 years, PharmaPartners has been providing ICT concepts for health care organizations and regional support structures. These are applied in 250 multi-disciplinary cooperations by more than 1050 pharmacists, 2200 general practitioners, and 40 health centers. Altogether they serve about 8,5 million people in the Netherlands. PharmaPartners is part of Total Specific Solutions.

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