Healthcare Realty is a $3.5B publicly-traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that focuses on owning, managing, acquiring and developing outpatient medical facilities throughout the United States. As the first REIT to specialize in medical office buildings, the Company has built a well-regarded medical real estate portfolio affiliated with market-leading healthcare systems.
Healthcare Realty provides property management services to more than 200 healthcare-related properties in 29 states and owns over 40 staffed locations, making network connectivity critical to their and their customers’ businesses. Majority of the outbound communication is over the network, including email that needs to be up 24x7 and network support that is expected to be up 99.99%.
With multiple branch offices and limited staff to manage all the locations, Healthcare Realty needed their network to be reliable and easy to provision and manage remotely. Their existing legacy networking solution from Cisco was difficult to manage and required expensive 3rd party tools to configure remotely.
It was critical for the team to have a solution that allowed flexibility to leverage their existing configuration management tool (Ansible) and manage sites remotely, all while reducing the cost to acquire and manage all branch sites.
To gain flexibility and the ability to remotely configure and manage the network at each branch site, Healthcare Realty decided to standardize their stack by introducing a Linux network OS. The team settled on Cumulus Linux due to the flexibility it delivered. With a Linux network OS, the team was able to leverage their existing tools and knowledge across the stack, resulting in lower OpEx and streamlined operations. Cumulus Linux running on open commodity hardware and optics also helped to lower CapEx.
The main criteria for selecting Cumulus Linux included:
- Network Flexibility: Cumulus Linux provided the flexibility to leverage existing applications like Ansible to manage switches like their servers. The team made no modifications to the application to run their Cumulus Linux ToR switches.
- Operational Efficiency: Linux across the stack helped to unify the infrastructure. With single OS, Healthcare Realty was able to configure and manage their branch site network remotely. Instead of flying critical technical resources to each site, the team was able to have switches drop shipped to the location, and, with Ansible, they were able to push the config down remotely. This allowed the team to bring switches online at the branch location — up in under 10 minutes.
- Lower OpEx: Instead of spending large amounts of their budget on 3rd party tools to configure and manage their network, with Cumulus Linux, Healthcare Realty was able to leverage an existing automation tool (Ansible). Additional savings came in form of time savings that resulted from ability to bring a switch online remotely in under 10 minutes.
The biggest benefit Healthcare Realty team received by adopting Cumulus Linux was time management. The ability to leverage existing applications to manage the network at all remote sites while reducing the OpEx helped the team build an effective operational model that was flexible and scalable.