2M-IT is Finland’s largest publicly-owned ICT healthcare provider, offering services in 14 of the country’s hospital districts from Hanko to Utsjoki.
In March 2018, Medi-IT, a well-established provider of healthcare information and information technology services, and Medbit merged to form 2M-IT. The company now employs 500 experienced experts in the information technology and healthcare industries.
“Adapting IT capabilities to healthcare systems requires a strong understanding of healthcare processes and operations,” says Olli Toivonen
2M-IT’s services consist of ten data centres and a host of applications for over 300 medical units. Information systems in a critical sector like healthcare demand the highest fault tolerance standards, making system reliability at all device levels a high priority.
Healthcare customers also have stringent demands for the location of data centres. Applications are very sensitive to latency, so delay must be minimised. The location of data centres is a significant factor for reducing latency, significantly impacting the functionality of such critical services.
Unified Technology and Architecture
The integration of 2M-IT’s IT infrastructure was already a priority before the merger of the original two companies.
Yet, the company’s data centres in Turku and Pori had different architectures and varied technology solutions. To rectify this, Toivonen and his data centre experts set out to find the best technology available to build a unified, cost-effective, long-lasting, and reliable data centre environment.
“One of our most important goals was to be able to cross-use our experts across data centre environments, regardless of location. This way, we can ensure the most cost-effective services. The fact that there have been no hardware failures or unpredictable software updates in two years’ use is a great indicator of the reliability of the devices,” Toivonen explains.
Each of the 2M-IT data centres has three virtual halls, two of which form a pair of mirrors, and the other serves as a backup. All components of the core network are, therefore duplicated.
“Our network is the backbone of our healthcare information technology. We take communications reliability very seriously and ensure that all backups are accurate and fault-tolerant.”
Choosing Huawei as the vendor of choice for network equipment was a decision based on extensive testing by 2M-IT. In a test environment that mimicked the real-world, Huawei devices were found to be both reliable and trustworthy.
2M-IT equipment was initially installed on the network by its staff, with Huawei equipment gradually phased in. As a result, Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of the equipment has been simplified and has proven to be reliable.
Huawei’s equipment was determined to be the most suitable node for 2M-IT’s network architecture, so the company decided to continue to select critical network components from Huawei’s product portfolio.
Now, a unified, easy-to-use, secure network architecture provides 2M-IT with significant resource savings.
“We have a clear and easily replicable model that we will follow when we want to expand our network in the future,” says Toivonen. “This is important during the network maintenance phase, where our experts can maintain the network in the same way, regardless of location.”
Continuous Development on a Powerful Technology Platform
As 2M-IT developed its core network, an additional medical network — Mednet — was also established, to connect the different offices of the company’s service network, through which services are offered throughout Finland. Huawei equipment is also an essential component of Mednet.
Huawei’s standards have quickly become evident: there have been no hardware failures or unpredictable software updates during two years of use, even though 2M-IT has over 300 Huawei networking devices. Additionally, service and maintenance of the equipment have required little manpower, time, or money.
Indeed, powerful backbone technology has helped ensure the continuity and seamless operation of 2M-IT’s healthcare services. Furthermore, the two years of cooperation with Huawei have provided 2M-IT with a range of benefits.
“It is essential to our operations that we can focus on developing our services and that the equipment must not cause us any trouble. Huawei’s unified management environment facilitates the flexible use of equipment as our needs change.
“Our experts have modernised and harmonised our highly complex IT environment in cooperation with Huawei. I am particularly pleased that we manage to constantly develop our customers by utilising cutting-edge services to secure the activities of a high-tech hardware platform,” Toivonen concludes.
This article was first published in Nordicmind, a Huawei partner.
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