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Pulse Secure virtual Application Delivery Controller helps health content provider successfully deliver critical services from Microsoft Azure Cloud
“Pulse Secure vADC provides incredible reliability and as we add new apps each month, the platform has proven easy to configure and we have never had any issues…”
Introduction

Delivering critical information to healthcare professionals and patients requires always on access to applications and data. The growing industry trend is the move towards public cloud infrastructure such as Microsoft Azure that provides security, availability, global reach and the ability to scale as needed.

Pulse Secure virtual Application Delivery Controller technology (vADC) accelerates services, increases capacity, and reduces costs by offloading performance-draining tasks such as SSL and compression onto Pulse optimized implementations. With vADC critical healthcare service, providers can improve application availability by intelligently distributing traffic, avoiding failed or degraded servers, monitoring performance problems, and shaping traffic spikes with a high availability active-active deployment.



Challenge

Healthwise is a non-profit organization with a mission to help people make better health decisions. People have turned to Healthwise information more than 2 billion times to learn how to do more for themselves, ask for the care they need, and say “no” to the care they don’t need. Healthwise partners with hospitals, electronic medical record (EMR) providers, health plans, care management companies, and health websites to provide up-to-date, evidence-based information to the people they serve.

Healthwise started in 1975 with the Healthwise Handbook, a plain-language informational guide offering prevention tips on 190 common health problems; the guide is credited with dramatically reducing the number of visits to the emergency room by users of the Handbook.

Forty-three years later, Healthwise continues to create health education content; now information technology is a critical part of delivering on its mission. This includes the development and maintenance of around 50 custom applications which have been recently migrated to the Microsoft Azure cloud environment to leverage platformasaservice benefits that improve operational efficiency and drive down costs.

“We work with partners that rely on our information 24 hours a day, all across the world, and as such our IT systems need to be incredibly reliable and able to scale when needed,” explains Mark Studer, director IT Operations at Healthwise.

“We develop a lot of apps inhouse and moving to Microsoft Azure offered us many advantages in terms of security, reliability and an ability to rapidly deploy new infrastructure. However, we recognized that to gain additional automation and optimize our application delivery, we needed a more powerful Application Delivery Controller.”


Solution

Healthwise looked at options across the market as Studer explains, “Our prior successful on-premise experience with Pulse Secure vADC made it the natural choice.” Healthwise has deployed several virtualized application clusters on Microsoft Azure with each instance controlled by a Pulse Secure vADC appliance which provides load balancing, and SSL/TLS offload with HTTP optimization to improve application performance.

Pulse Secure Virtual Traffic Manager (Pulse vTM) is a software-based Layer 7 application delivery controller (ADC) designed to deliver faster, high performance user experiences, with more reliable access to websites and applications, whether they run in a public cloud, private cloud or virtualized data center, while maximizing the efficiency and capacity of web and application servers. Pulse vTM is ideal for hybrid deployment and can support your application whatever the combination of environments you want to use.

“Pulse Secure vADC provides incredible reliability and as we add new apps each month, the platform has proven easy to configure and we have never had any issues,” explains Studer. “Where it really excels is in its Layer-7 Scripting capability and APIs that have allowed us to increase our level of automation and carry out more complex projects.”


Company

Healthwise

Industry

Healthcare


Challenges

Improve the reliability and performance of applications delivery from Microsoft Azure cloud to healthcare partners


Solutions

  • Pulse Secure Virtual Traffic Manager

Results

  • Highly integrated with Microsoft Azure platform for seamless operation
  • Powerful Layer 7 scripting to improve automation and solve unique issues
  • Faultless reliability within a 24/7 mission critical environment

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Results

The Layer 7 Scripting has been adopted by several IT admins at Healthwise and has led to significant additional benefits. Studer highlights three examples; the first is when his team built its own real-time monitoring tool using the APIs that allowed it to integrate with their existing monitoring and alerting platform to display high level network and applications metrics in a single view that would traditionally have required manually gathering reports from multiple systems.

In another example, the scripting helped Healthwise to manage the upgrade process from the unsecure TLS 1.0 to the newer TLS 1.2 standard for partners that connect to its applications. “We created a simple script that allowed us to log the protocol and cipher information for each request. This allowed us to build an interactive dashboard to display how each customer was connecting to us allowing our support teams to reach out proactively to each partner to prompt them to upgrade,” he explains.

The third example is the use of scripts to secure applications in the event of a newly discovered vulnerability. “If a vulnerability is discovered before a software vendor has issued a patch, in the past, we have used the scripting capability to isolate any third-party components that are at risk,” Studer explains.

With more of its development workloads and applications moving onto Azure, Studer believes its choice of Pulse Secure vADC has proven a beneficial investment, “It has never let us down and we are increasingly using its features to automate our deployment processes as part of our DevOps approach to application development.”
Solutions

  • Pulse Secure Virtual Traffic Manager

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