St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital

NexentaStor ZFS Technology for Open Source and Scalable Storage Environment

About Our Customer

St Andrews Toowoomba Hospital (SATH) is a non-profit private hospital and registered charity. Equipped with 137 beds for intensive care to cancer treatment, as well as a support clinic. With over 500 staff requiring access to EPAS for the hospital to operate; the system is crucial to provide the vertical applications necessary real time information to allow the doctors, surgeons and nurses to treat the patients. The IT system for SATH is known as the Enterprise Patient Administration Support (EPAS).

SATH contacted DiGiCOR upon their intention to improve the current hospital’s IT infrastructure and future-proof its disaster recovery system. The main concern for SATA is to upgrade the use of backup, archive and quick data recovery for several critical applications.


  • St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital required a solution that refreshed their current IT infrastructure and future-proofed their data with an ideal disaster recovery system.
  • Digicor proposed a solution the replaced the hospitals server and storage nodes and software, utilising Citrix XEN hypervisor hardware paired with Microsoft OS, and NexentaStor ZFS technology as a complete solution.
  • In addition by utilising NexentaStor ZFS technology, St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital was able to maximise its return on storage investment with increased performance, improved data back-up and recovery.
  • Key Benefits

  • High scalable solution.
  • Open Source Storage Solution.
  • Extensive savings.
  • Challenges

    DiGiCOR always put our clients’ need in mind in which we found two main challenges upon EPAS system. Firstly, if failure of the primary storage occurred the system would rely on back up. This however resulted in some down time and a subsequent drop in performance due to less bandwidth. This drop in performance would hurt the hospital’s ability to provide patient care. As the process to recover is a manual, it also involves staff interaction to rectify. Depending on the actual failure it could be hours or days before the problem could be resolved.

    Furthermore, the most immediate concern for SATH was having their storage and server nodes replaced as they are currently aging and run without vendor support. From these two concerns, it was made clear from SATH that system uptime, system stability, support and cost were all crucial factors that needed addressing in the solution.

    How We Helped

    We deigned and discussed a custom-tailored solution with SATH and decided to divide the solution into two phases. First phase was designed to rectify the poor back up. Digicor supplied Vendor certified hardware and also the correct Vendor license to be able to implement a high availability/failover scenario using SAN storage, along with support contract to alleviate all main issues in the first challenge.
    In the second phase, we replaced the outdated nodes for SATH. DiGiCOR used Citrix XEN hypervisor hardware and Microsoft operating systems as they are the most cost effective in terms of the whole project overview. This is due to the staff being familiar with the system. Switching to other vendors would also involve additional costs for staff training and migration costs.

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    The solution saves SATH both time and money. It provides an easier-to-use solution than other competitors, along with extensive savings. In addition, DiGiCOR has ensured the hospital is not locked in to buying more expensive products from a particular vendor or paying unnecessary mark-ups for standard features by utilizing NexentaStor, which is based on open-source technology. Besides, ZFS offers massively scalable storage environments with high granularity of data protection.
    Furthermore, NexentaStor offers massively scalable storage environments with a virtually unlimited number of snapshots, free versioning, and high granularity of data protection. DiGiCOR’s use of NexentaStor’s ZFS technology delivered the scalability scale point required to meet all of SATH’s future storage requirements.
    As a result, DiGiCOR allowed SATH to maximise its return on storage investment with increased performance, improved data back-up and recovery, and hardware-agnostic solutions. This thereby allows the company to leverage the new nodes.

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