This is a Health Alliance Connection Assignment Help in which we discuss Health Alliance Connection can help your company cope with aging systems and limited resources that can lead to fragmented IT solutions.
Waitemata, North Shore and Counties Manukau District Health Boards have formed a strategic alliance, called Health Alliance for the purchase of services. IT services are purchased jointly and Telecom have provided dedicated fibre cables from North Shore, Waitakere and Middlemore Hospitals into the Mayoral Drive Exchange.
As with CCHB, the fibre cables are converted to UTP and joined by a dedicated switch.
The CCHB Switch and the Health Alliance Switch are co-located (positioned next to each other with a fibre connection from one switch to the other), providing connectivity between the networks. The Health Alliance traffic is trunked from the Mayoral Drive Switch to the City Centre site where it passes through the DMZ before connecting with the LAN. Control over access between the networks is managed by firewalls and authorization at each site.
Each of the two main sites has an external switch that receives all trunked traffic from the Mayoral Drive Exchange. This switch breaks out internal VLAN traffic, which is directed to the 6500 Core Switch and then appropriately onto the network (depending on VLAN tagging).
Other traffic, eg Internet traffic, is routed/switched to a hardware Cisco Firewall (Appendix E). The Firewall is dualhomed and delivers the Internet traffic to an internal switch on a separate VLAN. The Mail Server, VPN Concentrator, Proxy server and WebServer (hosting hospital website) are all connected to ports on this VLAN, and are all in turn multihomed to the LAN. The individual servers are configured to act as software firewalls for the connections to the LAN: routing is disabled on these servers to ensure traffic cannot pass through from the outside onto the LAN and all services not required are disabled on these devices.
All outgoing traffic is allowed, and all incoming traffic is stopped except for SMTP. This means users can access the Internet (as they create an outgoing connection), but unsolicited traffic from the Internet is blocked.
Traffic received from the Health Alliance switch (considered to be untrusted traffic) is switch/routed to the City Centre firewall. All traffic from this source is blocked and then allowed by exception using manual routing rules.
The organisation has a failover / fault tolerance system in place to ensure a link between the two sites is maintained in the event of a failure in the dedicated fibre connection.
An entirely separate connection between the sites is created using additional routers at each site connected by a 6Mbps microwave link.
Cisco Hot Standby Router Protocol is used to monitor the state of the primary connection (fibre link) between the two sites and if this connection fails for any reason, all traffic is diverted to the standby routers and is thus transmitted via the microwave link.
The 6Mbps capacity of the standby link would not be sufficient to provide full services, but would at least allow essential connectivity between the sites to be maintained.
Description of Protocols
The site uses TCP/IP exclusively, and Ethernet (IEEE802.3) and Gigabit Ethernet (IEEE802.3z) to support this. Speeds include 10Mbps, 100Mbps and 1Gbps. Gigabit Ethernet is for the link between the 2 sites.
Network Management Protocols
Hot Standby Router Protocol
Hot Standby Router Protocol is used to provide network redundancy, ensuring connectivity between the two main sites in the event of failure of the main fiber connection.
CCHB use L2TP to create a Virtual Private Network connection between users’ home PCs and the CCHB network, over the Internet.
While L2TP ensures the transfer of unsupported data across the Internet, it does so in clear text. IPSec is used to encrypt the data prior to encapsulation to provide authentication, confidentiality and integrity.
Wired Equivalent Privacy is an encryption algorithm defined in the IEEE802.11 standard for encrypting data on wireless LANs. It has several weaknesses that result in wireless LANs being considered as security risks. The main weakness of WEP is the way in which data is encrypted and the fact that a hacker can use a ‘sniffer’ to crack the encryption key.
Frame Relay is the Wide Area Network protocol used by CCHB to implement Permanent Virtual Circuits between the main sites and their Community Clinics.
Network Management Software
All servers managed by the Network Operations team are Compaq servers. A server tool, Compaq Insight Manager, is used to maintain a view of the server states. This view uses colours to indicate the status of each server and allows the Network Operations staff to drill down to individual servers to view a number of elements including network and disk state information, eg statistics on CPU usage, and disk health.
WhatsUp Gold and CiscoView are used to keep track of the network operations. CiscoView provides a view of the current state of any given switch, with the ability to drill down and access detailed performance information regarding the traffic active on the switch. Cisco provides WhatsUp Gold bundled with CiscoView for use as a network mapping and monitoring tool, which has been used at CCHB to map the Core and Building Switches.
Compaq Insight Manager, WhatsUp Gold and CiscoView all run on a management PC in the Network Operations area at CCHB. 3 monitors are connected to the PC to allow concurrent viewing of the 3 main screens: the server states, the switch states, and the core link between the sites.
§ ensuring the network is operating as efficiently as possible
A 3rd party service provider, IPClarity, provide a performance monitoring service. The company provide a hardware device (called a ‘DataSink’) which is connected to the CCHB network. This ‘box’ polls devices on the network to gather information about their state. The DataSink can auto-discover SNMP capable devices on the network and can include these in the monitoring if configured to do so. The polling results are forwarded to the IPClarity central database where they are compiled and made available in the form of web-based reports and alerts. The CCHB Network Operations staff can access realtime information to see current and recent statistics on many variables.
The service can provide reporting on: CPU performance, up/down status, latency from the DataSink to the device, availability, free memory, and buffer utilisation.
IPClarity is a fully managed service, provided and managed offsite and accessed via a web interface.
Reporting can be carried out on live data or historical data. Filter reporting can allow the site to identify any potential bottlenecks or trouble points (eg list the 10 most error-prone ports) and therefore allow opportunity for better optimisation of the network.
CCHB has access to the last week’s worth of data in online, realtime reports to view any recent trends. The service can provide up to a year’s worth of data for live reporting and data is stored for 3 years.
The IPClarity service includes threshold alert functionality, where thresholds can be configured and alerts raised if the threshold is exceeded. Alerts can be sent using SMS (short messaging service), or email, or simply logged. Additional configuration options allow the site to specify the period for which the level is sustained before alerting; a period of time or counter in which not to raise the same alert again, or request not to be notified again unless it drops back to a pre-defined level. However, CCHB do not make use of the alert functionality – the Network Operations Manager believes that they hear of bottlenecks, issues, etc from users just as quickly as they would from alert reporting. CCHB has 24 hour network support, so any queries are directed to the on-site or on-call staff.
The Internet is widely used by staff members, with a few key websites particularly popular. The Network Operations team use Latency Testing provided by the IPClarity service to monitor the latency on some popular websites, to help ascertain whether any speed problems are internal network issues. This is done using a ping and HTTP request. The XTRA DNS router (closest point), NZ Herald (reliable NZ site) and Recruitsoft (US site popular with hospital staff) are all monitored.
Compaq Insight Manager
Performance monitoring of CPU, PCI and EISA bus utilization in the Compaq Servers is possible with Compaq Insight Manager. It allows the setting of thresholds on parameters such as CPU, bus and disk partition usage for performance monitoring. However, CCHB don’t use the Performance Monitoring functionality of the software. They do use the drilldown capability of the software to view individual details for a server in a Fault Management capacity.
CiscoView is partly used for performance management, with the ability to drilldown to view current performance statistics on individual routers (Layer 3 switches), however, CCHB generally make use of CiscoView for Fault Management.
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