Australia’s largest clinical trial center embraces SIOS DataKeeper


Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, one of Australia’s largest clinical trial centers specializing in state-of-the-art treatment and research for patients who are suffering from rare and complex cancer cases, has embraced SIOS DataKeeper to take full advantage of the economies of scale afforded in the AWS cloud without sacrificing uptime or performance.

Lifehouse uses the MEDITECH healthcare system, which stores the electronic health records for all patients in a database. In the hospital’s datacenter, mission-critical uptime has been provided by Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) running on a Storage Area Network (SAN). But like many organizations, Lifehouse wanted to migrate to the cloud to take advantage of its superior agility and affordability.

“The health information system and database are vital to the care we provide, and if either goes down, patient records would not be accessible, and that would paralyze the hospital’s operations,” explained Peter Singer, Director Information Technology at Lifehouse.

Lifehouse chose Amazon Web Services to migrate to the cloud to take advantage of its superior agility and affordability. To simulate its on-premises configuration, Lifehouse chose a “cloud volumes” service available in the AWS Marketplace, however, it had a substantial adverse impact on throughput performance.

Given the complexity of their deployment, Lifehouse wanted to maintain a balance between performance and data protection, without compromising on either of the two.

Lifehouse chose SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition, which is available on the AWS Marketplace. Since it doesn’t use software-defined storage, SIOS DataKeeper was able to deliver the high-performance, synchronous data replication that Lighthouse needed.

“SIOS DataKeeper enabled Lifehouse to take full advantage of the economies of scale afforded in the cloud without sacrificing uptime or performance,” said Frank Jablonski, Vice President, Global Marketing, SIOS Technology. “Migrating mission-critical applications to the cloud requires planning for both high availability and performance. SIOS helps companies like Lifehouse ensure both.”

By using real-time, block-level data mirroring between the local storage attached to all active and standby instances, SIOS DataKeeper overcomes the problems caused by the lack of a SAN in the cloud, including the poor performance that often plagues software-defined storage. The resulting SANless cluster is compatible with Windows Server Failover Clustering, provides continuous monitoring for detecting failures at the application and database levels, and offers configurable policies for failover and failback.

Lifehouse currently has eight instances in SANless failover clusters to support its MEDITECH application and database. Some of those instances are in different AWS availability zones to protect against widespread disasters. The latency inherent across the long distances involved normally requires the use of asynchronous data replication to avoid delaying commits to the active instance of the database. But the real-time, block level data mirroring technology used in SIOS DataKeeper still enabled Singer to achieve a near-zero recovery point.