Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Reinhard Brandstädter, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

Linux Containers: Article

A Backup a Day Keeps Disaster at Bay

Backup and recovery in health care

Data protection is never more vital than in the world of health care, where sensitive and life-impacting data is the cornerstone of medicine. More than 3,600 physicians in 26 states turn to our company for outsourced claims reimbursement management, making backup and recovery as critical as the reliable Linux platform.

athenahealth is a revenue-cycle management service for health care providers, offering integrated billing, collections, and practice automation as a single subscription service to increase the money, time, and control of its medical groups. More than 390 medical groups and hospitals use athenahealth, making us responsible for managing nearly $1 billion in physi-cian revenues. This includes 3,600 physicians and 14,000 end users representing 48 medical specialties operating in 26 states.

We combine technology and an experienced team of claims management professionals to create direct linkages between medical groups and the insurance companies. This results in faster payment at lower cost, higher revenue retention, and less hassle. Utilizing a comprehensive practice management platform (accessed via a high-speed Internet or private network connection), we submit over 700,000 claims monthly and deliver a range of services to improve the cash flow and manageability of medical offices. athenahealth reduces the days in accounts receivable from an average of 62 days to 48, cutting administrative costs by 40%, and rechanneling physicians' time and energy into delivering high-quality patient care.

With data impacting so many doctors and patients, it's obvious there is some pressure in making sure our data protection and disaster recovery solutions are in tip-top health. Reliability of our servers and operating systems is also key and we, of course, turned to Linux for the great majority of our network. But researching the optimal backup and recovery technology revealed that few vendors focused heavily on the Linux market.

We have more than 150 servers in our Linux network running SUSE 8, which comprises approximately 85% of the overall network. The remaining 15% are Unix and Windows. We have three specific environments:

  1. Production: Our client-facing world
  2. Development: Our internal environment
  3. Corporate: Our Windows desktop environment
We needed a cost-effective data protection solution that would, most importantly, support Linux but also the mixed environment. BakBone Software's NetVault for Linux was an easy-to-deploy, affordable solution to meet this challenge.

Data is stored in Oracle data files and backed up nightly to the order of a terabyte a week. We use NetVault's Virtual Disk Library (VDL) to send backups directly to a local hard drive for improved performance. VDL staging can minimize the impact on our network and act as a buffer, to ensure device streaming when it's time to copy staged data to tape.

Besides the critical health care-claims reimbursement data, other information typically backed up includes Oracle data files, developers' home directories, MS Exchange files, code repositories, intranet files, accounting files, and personnel files.

We do incremental backup on actual data and system changes. We don't do OS-level backup as the network is built on one image. The consolidated file system backup feature uses incremental backups to create a full backup and index. This is a useful feature as it allows us to take any number of incremental backups and build a new full file system backup based on the last incremental and last consolidated backup.

The total cost of ownership of NetVault has proven much lower than more expensive solutions from other vendors, who also do not cater to Linux. We've found that NetVault on Linux requires less time for backup and recovery, allowing our IT staff to spend more time on proactive tasks. The ease of use has saved us time and money - no professional services were needed. It was easy to deploy and integrate into our cross-platform environment with a GUI that provides a consis-tent look and feel and centralized control in multivendor environments.

By doing your homework on the unique data protection needs of your company, you can be prepared for any inconvenient setback or outright disaster. And don't let a one-size-fits-all solution be forced on your shop. A solution that supports and optimizes Linux is out there for you.

More Stories By Ed Park

Ed Park is Chief Software Architect of athenahealth

More Stories By Bob Gatewood

Bob Gatewood is Chief Technology Officer of athenahealth.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...