SHI implements Azure Cloud solution in under 24 hours after evacuation:
As a wildfire threatened Barton Memorial Hospital, IT and cloud engineers swung into action

 In |

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Hospitals are no strangers to nightmare scenarios. But when a massive wildfire bearing down on the Lake Tahoe Basin threatened Barton Memorial Hospital on August 30, it was forced to evacuate all staff to regional partner facilities.

Patients from the 63-bed primary care facility and 48-resident nursing facility were moved out 12 hours before emergency officials upgraded an earlier evacuation warning to an order. This left Barton Health to face down another challenge: maintaining access to its data and continuing to deliver services wherever their patients were located.

The right due diligence

Fortunately, SHI was able to respond on the fly with an all-hands response that allowed the organization to move operations into a Microsoft Azure cloud within 24 hours. This solution included Azure networking/gateways, virtual machines, recovery services, and VPN, and allowed Barton Health to maintain access to critical data – and ensure uninterrupted service continuity – throughout the entire evacuation.

A couple of months before the wildfire, SHI had begun talking with Barton Health about preparing their technology infrastructure to more effectively cope with future challenges. Their primary focus was to shift their on-premises infrastructure into the cloud. SHI was in the process of conducting security audits and related due diligence when the evacuation order was issued.

“They had already evacuated when they called us and said they needed to speed this up,” said Clark Crumpacker, a strategic account executive with SHI. “There really was no time, as the fire was probably 10 miles from the hospital. We were able to cut the red tape and figure out, immediately, what we needed to deliver. We jumped online, shared screens, and worked out everything – from virtual machines to policies and more – that we needed to do to make this happen. We were able to identify and remove roadblocks, and focus only on the things necessary to ensure project success.”

He described the crash cloud migration project as a “perfect engagement”.

“We had already collected a good deal of information from them up-front. We had a good idea of how their existing on-premises solutions fed into hospital infrastructure and served as the backbone for medical and administrative staff,” he said. “We focused on delivering what we knew already. We weren’t being asked to fly a different plane or create a new wheel: we executed the plan, only a lot faster than anyone originally expected.”

Be prepared

SHI’s ability to respond in real-time to the unfolding crisis is no accident: our account executives and adoption specialists have led the way in planning and implementing cloud-based services in general – and Azure, in particular – since the earliest days of cloud availability. The Barton Health evacuation happened just weeks after SHI’s rollout of our Agile Cloud offering.

“This successful outcome is a great example of SHI’s commitment to act in the best interest of the customer – and of our ability to execute on the scale needed thanks to our extensive relationship with Microsoft,” said Gerret Lok, an Azure Cloud Adoption Specialist at SHI. “Thanks to the fact that we had rolled out the Agile Cloud Engineering offering the month prior as a response to customers needing quick access to Azure technical matter experts, we were able to leverage defined processes to ensure a smooth rollout at short notice. We scale based on the needs of our customers and this situation shows how we can see the whole picture and act accordingly.”

While most cloud migrations aren’t fully executed within 24 hours, and they don’t happen under threat of an approaching wildfire, lessons learned from this experience reinforce both the business value of cloud-based infrastructure. They also highlight the tangible and intangible benefits of working with an experienced partner whose team members can leverage learnings from countless other implementations.

Looking forward

While wildfire season in Nevada and elsewhere shows no signs of easing up, the Caldor Fire no longer threatens Barton Health’s facility, and normal operations have resumed. The rush project to transition to Azure has set the tone for additional discussions between SHI’s and Barton’s teams to further evolve what’s already been built. Account executives, engineers, and product specialists continue to identify new opportunities to improve on the current infrastructure and prepare Barton Health for whatever challenges lie ahead.

If you’re wondering how to more effectively plan your own cloud journey, check out our Digital Transformation offerings – including hybrid cloud, next-generation infrastructure, and app modernization – and contact us today or reach out anytime to speak to an account executive.