French SP relies on Cisco ISR G2s and UCS E-Series Servers to bring cloud to healthcare.
Navaho is a leading European cloud services provider, delivering a range of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) solutions for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The company's name honors the pivotal role played by WWII Navaho "code talkers" who developed a radio communications cipher based on their language that the Japanese were never able to break.
As more and more companies grasp the many benefits of cloud services, the market is steadily picking up speed. In fact, the February 2012 Cisco® Global Cloud Index predicts that by 2016, nearly two-thirds of all workloads will be processed in the cloud.
Last year, Navaho recognized a significant business opportunity in secure virtual image storage. The French Ministry of Health requires radiologists and hospital radiology departments to store images with associated patient information for 20 years. Benoît Huard, marketing, communications and development director at Navaho, says, "An average image file is 30 megabytes, while newer 3D files can each reach up to 16 gigabytes. Given the fact that roughly 60,000 medical examinations are taken by each hospital in France every year, the potential storage demand is huge."
Navaho needed to build a highly secure, reliable, and easy-to-use premise-to-cloud storage service to capture this exciting new market. Benoît Huard and his team looked to long-time network partner Cisco to help them create a scalable, flexible customer premise setup that they could cost-effectively deliver and support.
Navaho runs its cloud operations on a high-performance Cisco backbone and a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network that delivers a variety of advanced, value-added private cloud services to many different customers over a single infrastructure. The service provider is a neutral operator based on multioperator and multitechnology (xDSL, optic fiber) transmission systems.
As Benoît Huard says, "The cloud is nothing without the (wide area) network. Our highly fault-tolerant, intelligent WAN gives us a strong, efficient anchor to capture multiple streams for the cloud for the next 10 to 15 years."
To develop its image-archiving service, Navaho upgraded its customer premise equipment to Cisco Integrated Service Router Generation 2 (ISR G2) 2911 routers with Cisco Unified Computing Service™ (UCS®) E-Series single-wide servers. Unlike other vendors' multibox solutions, Cisco ISR G2 branch office routers deliver a wide range of applications and support all major WAN technologies, including xDSL, Gigabit Ethernet, 3G and 4G, and optic fiber in a single box. Benoît Huard notes that this flexibility was key because Navaho uses multiple network channels to reliably transmit data, voice, and video to its customers, a unique competitive feature.
The Cisco ISR G2 2911s also take advantage of the intelligent capabilities of the network to improve cloud services and application delivery and boost performance. The routers dynamically respond to changing conditions to deliver an optimum end-user experience to busy radiology offices, hospitals, and clinics that transmit dozens of huge files a day.
The Cisco UCS E-Series Server is a converged computing, virtualization, and networking module in the ISR G2 designed to host essential infrastructure services and mission-critical applications at remote sites. Benoît Huard and his team appreciate its ability to host applications locally, its compact, energy-efficient form factor, powerful processing capability, and integrated remote management.
Figure 1. Navaho's End-to-End Cisco Cloud Network
In addition, the Cisco Email Security Appliance installed in Navaho's data center offers one of the best false-alarm ratios in the industry, which means that Navaho can, in turn, assure customers that they will receive only legitimate emails. "Eliminating junk mail gives our users tremendous peace of mind," says Benoît Huard.
Navaho's Confidence Services for Healthcare, powered by Cisco ISR G2s with Cisco UCS E-Series Servers, brings the cloud to healthcare providers, and in the process, delivers significant business benefits:
• Cost-effectiveness - Navaho's IP-based private cloud service works with any image equipment vendor, connecting directly to the system or indirectly over a LAN. "Our Cisco-powered cloud service is five times cheaper than anything currently on the market because it separates the need for image archiving (20 years minimum in France) from proprietary radiology equipment and Picture Archiving and Communication Server (PACS) software, so healthcare providers save on capital and maintenance costs," says Benoît Huard.
• Strong security - Benoît Huard's team makes sure their solution complies with French government health regulations. They use Cisco management software to dynamically configure performance, security, and availability for separate data streams and to craft individual security policies for each customer. They also like the way that Cisco is integrating the security features in the ISR G2s with Cisco Cloud Web Security, considering it a real competitive advantage.
• Ease of use - Plug-and-play, customized solutions are designed to fit a range of environments, from single radiology clinics to large hospitals. Benoît Huard says, "Thanks to Cisco, we make it easy to manage, collate and connect patient data with radiology images. Customers can store images in the cloud and restore them quickly and easily to work with on a daily basis."
• Scalability - Benoît Huard believes that customers will appreciate the Navaho solution's flexibility and scalability. Radiology clinics and hospitals need pay only for the storage and services they use and can expand their storage at their own pace with no risk. The MPLS network also allows Navaho to scale its own network smoothly as its needs grow and new customers come online.
• Lower operating costs - Cisco's centralized management interface reduces support time. "System management is a big issue for a mid-sized company like ours, with a growing service portfolio and customer base. Centralized management allows us to manage hundreds of customers with a small IT staff," says Benoît Huard.
Business agility - The provider leases its networking equipment from Cisco and finances it through Cisco Capital®, which eliminates up-front capital equipment costs and shifts monetary outlays to smaller, more manageable operating expenses. Working with Cisco Capital financing gives them the business agility they need to upgrade to new technology as it becomes affordable and available, and to acquire equipment as they acquire more customers.
• Valuable go-to-market tools - Navaho took advantage of the Cisco SP Global Advantage program to enhance its marketing efforts. The program offers exclusive benefits such as certification and testing of Cisco gear and service-level agreements (SLAs) that demonstrate Cisco has a financial stake in performance and uptime. "The Global Advantage program helps Navaho accelerate its cloud services and propose value-added services for small and mid-size business customers," says Benoît Huard.
• Reliability and trust - Benoît Huard says, "It's vitally important that a relatively small company like Navaho is backed by a trusted partner like Cisco. Our customers know that we provide the local experience, skills, and specific vertical market knowledge, but are supported by a globally reputable vendor. Cisco's size and stature in the marketplace reassure customers that we can provide the services they need when they need it for the long term."
In turn, Cisco values Navaho as a new kind of partner, one that is moving from solution integration to directly delivering Cisco cloud-based services as more companies opt to outsource their increasingly complex global networking operations.