Riverbed partner bolsters the Royal Flying Doctor Service's trip to the cloud

Riverbed partner bolsters the Royal Flying Doctor Service's trip to the cloud

Uses Riverbed offering to increase network visibility and accelerate mission-critical applications

Fiona Foley (RFDS)

Fiona Foley (RFDS)

Riverbed Technology, together with its partner, Zero1, has accelerated the cloud-first IT strategy for the Queensland section of Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

The deployment involved the application performance vendor and Zero1 deploying Riverbed solutions to accelerate mission-critical applications and deliver the network performance insight required by the RFDS to improve and expand life-saving healthcare services for patients across Queensland.

Specifically, the Riverbed solution combined Riverbed SteelHead and Riverbed SteelCentral, forming the foundation for the RFDS’ transition to a cloud-first IT strategy, which includes an upcoming migration to Microsoft Office 365, and is driven by a goal to more effectively manage its limited IT resources.

According to RFDS, with increased visibility into real-time network performance and the ability to reduce data on the network by up to 70 per cent, the not-for-profit organisation is able to optimise its existing services.

In addition to reducing operating costs, it mentioned that the deployment has helped to boost the productivity of its 400 employees, enabling the organisation to focus internal resources on improving the customer and patient experience.

RFDS claimed that the deployment was done as it is responsible for delivering fly-in fly-out GP, nursing, and allied health clinics to rural and remote communities across Australia – many of which have little to no connectivity.

With communication and access to data critical to its success, it required IT infrastructure and network connectivity for bandwidth-intensive video content vital for training field staff, along with secure access to critical information, including patient information, emergency procedures and flight plans, which are centrally maintained in Microsoft SharePoint.  

As such, to fulfil its commitment of providing healthcare services, the RFDS aimed to increasingly adopted new mobile and cloud technologies.

RFDS (Queensland Section) ICT infrastructure manager, Dean Coulter, said as the use of the RFDS services in Queensland became more advanced and widespread, RFDS was pushing the limits of what its existing network could deliver and this was starting to impact service delivery.

“Network outages had become more frequent, the performance of mission-critical apps slowed, and we started to receive more and more complaints from our staff. But simply purchasing more network bandwidth was not an option due to the high costs involved,” he said.

Zero1 also came in  to address the challenge of network performance, lack of sufficient tools to identify the root cause of issues, as well as holding service providers accountable to SLAs. 

“The results were powerful and immediate. We saw an immediate boost in application performance while simultaneously reducing bandwidth requirements by 60 to 70 per cent,” Coulter added.

“But just as big of an achievement for us as the acceleration is the visibility. With SteelCentral NetExpress we were able to see we had legacy equipment and misconfigured applications hogging valuable bandwidth, and address it immediately. That level of insight is critical for us as our network expands and moves further into the cloud.”

RFDS (Queensland Section) ICT services and business solutions executive manager, Fiona Foley, mentioned that It was necessary for the organisation to not only find a solution that would solve network challenges, but also find a technology partner that cared about what it does.

“Riverbed and Zero1 delivered. The conversations we have now with the business are just totally different. We’re no longer talking about network outages, and we’re able to better focus on our core mission: delivering excellent healthcare services to the people of Queensland,” she added.

RFDS has deployed SteelHead across all its regional sites in Queensland, with plans to implement SteelHead Mobile on laptops and mobile devices, giving doctors access to 3G and 4G connectivity when working in remote locations with limited connectivity.

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