Case Study: SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL Server

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Monitors the Health of Critical Patient Care Servers with SQL Diagnostic Manager

THE CHALLANGE

There are two types of mission-critical servers in healthcare –business critical and patient critical. Patient-critical information needs to always be well-maintained, available, and easy to access. We were looking for a solution that could give us the visibility and flexibility we needed to maintain these servers.

THE IDERA SOLUTION

In an environment of patient care and leading-edge clinical trials, data is critical. And when it came to monitoring and maintaining that data, SCCA SQL Server DBA Biniyam Berhe turned to IDERA SQL diagnostic manager to gain full visibility into the health of SCCA’s servers.

OVERVIEW

The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is a world-class cancer treatment center that unites doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children’s. More than 300 oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, and many other clinicians treated over 5,500 patients for many types of cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer at the SCCA. The Fred Hutchinson Bone Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA performed over 500 bone marrow transplants.

Since 1998 center has had a simple vision with a critical mission: lead the world in translating scientific discovery into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of cancer.

“There are two types of mission-critical servers in healthcare – business critical and patient critical,” said Berhe. “Patient-critical information needs to always be well-maintained, available, and easy to access. We were looking for a solution that could give us the visibility and flexibility we needed to maintain these servers, and IDERA was the best we saw on the market.” Berhe was managing more than 70 production, development, and test SQL Servers with a variety of editions. In addition, his team managed a variety of SharePoint and analytics servers. For his small three-person team, this was a big undertaking. And when one of his team members changed positions, managing the servers more effectively became more important.

“We simply didn’t have the visibility we needed,” Berhe said. “We had the team leveraging OS level monitoring systems they were currently using, and we set alerts for specific maintenance jobs. However, we didn’t have the ability to know, in real-time, the status of our SQL Servers. We were working reactively instead of proactively.”

Immediately after installing IDERA, SCCA gained a single dashboard that began diagnosing the organization’s entire environment. With SQL Diagnostic Manager’s alerts, actions and responses section, the DBAs on call were able to run SQL scripts based on specific errors and proactively deal with issues before they escalated.

“No other technology company offers an SQL diagnostic dashboard like IDERA’s,” Berhe said. “It gives us a top-level view of all our resources. The alerts are detailed so that you know exactly what is happening, and you can go deeper by simply double-clicking and finding the root cause.”

IDERA also allows the team to review specific time periods through a history browser. “With IDERA, you can look at previous snapshots or create one for a specific period and view it as though it’s in real time,” Berhe said. “Now I can look back at alerts, timelines, and configuration settings to see if anything has changed as if it’s happening right now. You see the same details and dashboards and get to the heart of the problem.”

SQL Diagnostic Manager allows the team to measure metrics they were not tracking before. Now the team has historical views and reports on how much a database has grown over time, or baseline metrics for certain memory or disk counters. “It’s the first dashboard we check every day to monitor our environment,” Berhe said. “It’s a single console that saves us a huge amount of time because server health isn’t something we were actively tracking. It’s like having multiple people looking into server health for us.”

For Berhe, IDERA gives him and his team peace of mind, knowing his servers are being continuously monitored. “Data can only grow, and we have patients being treated every hour of every day – that data is critical,” said Berhe. “SQL Diagnostic Manager pages me and emails me, so that we’re well informed of everything going on at all times.”

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