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Kantonsspital Winterthur pushes ahead with digitizing clinic processes 

KSW processes, from patient admission to discharge, are becoming ever more digital and interconnected. Data must be available faster, and it must be secured and protected from cyberattacks. With ITpoint and NetApp, KSW has implemented an infrastructure that combines performance with security and supports important processes in the treatment of patients with fast and secure file service.

Challenge: rapidly increasing amount of patient data

KSW has already digitized a lot, but we need to link everything more closely. Data must therefore be available quickly and securely at every spot.

Roger Schwegler Server and Storage Specialist, Kantonsspital Winterthur

At KSW, the directive is “less paper and more digital information. In the future, all patient data will be available digitally so that it can be exchanged online beyond the boundaries of the KSW organization. Forty percent of KSW’s data is file data. Almost 4,000 users in medicine, care and administration need the files every day. They are crucial for numerous applications. The hospital handels more than 270,000 cases annually, generating a broad range of application data: from ultrasound imaging to recorded speech medical records to cost accounting. Any interruption in data access can affect patient care and must therefore be avoided. Robust systems, high security and availability, and pinpoint recoverability in the event of an emergency are key requirements. With regard to possible data recovery, one external security threat is considered particularly critical and must be guarded against: Ransomware.

Solution: All-flash file storage with sophisticated backup and recovery mechanisms

Together with ITpoint, the KSW team implemented a new storage and backup/recovery infrastructure with integrated ransomware protection that meets the high demands placed on file services.

  • A new NetApp all-flash system serves as the primary storage on the hospital campus. It has a fully redundant design, is easily scalable, and provides more than enough performance for users and applications. Integrated deduplication and compression mechanisms further reduce the already small footprint.
  • A second NetApp system is installed as a backup and recovery system at a colocation partner. Data is continuously replicated between the sites using SnapMirror. Hourly snapshots make it possible to restore data up to one year back with pinpoint accuracy.  
  • With the Ransomware threat in mind, NetApp technology was combined with SnapGuard from Cleondris. SnapGuard was developed specifically for NetApp and ensures a high level of security. On the one hand, through proactive protection mechanisms and early detection of potential damage. On the other hand, through reliable, pinpoint recovery capabilities in the event of damage.

The project was implemented without interrupting production or hospital procedures. Thanks to ITpoint’s planning, the changeover had no impact on patients or systems. The interruption in data access lasted only 3 seconds. For the procedure in the event of a ransomware attack, ITpoint and KSW created an action guide based on scenarios and corresponding simulations.

Advantages: high performance and optimal protection against threats

Stability, Snapshot technology, and flawless integration with the Microsoft world are NetApp strengths. And with NetApp, we keep the option of a data fabric open so that we can move data directly to the cloud one day.

Roger Schwegler Server and Storage Specialist, Kantonsspital Winterthur

Thanks to the new solution, various previously decentralized file servers were consolidated onto the new NetApp environment, whose data now benefits from the higher performance and integrated protection mechanisms. Experience with the new infrastructure at KSW has been very positive. Operational stability and performance are high, and the administration effort is low. The most important advantages:

  • High system availability through intrinsically redundant subsystems and replication between two sites
  • High performance and low latency thanks to flash technology
  • Guaranteed 3:1 data reduction through compression and de-duplication
  • Minimal space and energy consumption due to flash technology combined with data reduction
  • Efficient backups and fast, point-in-time recovery (RPO: 1 h) when needed
  • Maximum protection against the consequences of possible Ransomware attacks
  • Low administration effort due to high degree of automation, functional integration and an update service on the part of ITpoint
  • Possibility to develop a data fabric with direct Cloud connection

About Kantonsspital Winterthur

The Kantonsspital Winterthur is one of the ten largest hospitals in Switzerland. It provides basic clinical care in the greater Winterthur area and has developed into a supra-regional center hospital. Over 240,000 patients are treated annually, 27,000 of whom are inpatients.


Year of foundation





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Contact me now for an exchange. I look forward to meeting you!

Michael Trutmann

Michael Trutmann, Solution Architect & Consultant