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Sentara EHR Workloads in Azure Get 3x Faster Performance with Silk

To make a long story short...

Who are they?

Sentara Healthcare is a not-for-profit healthcare organization in Virginia and North Carolina

What did they need?

Faster performance on Azure for their Epic EHR workloads while staying within their budget

How did Silk help?

Enabled lift and shift of their most complex workloads while offering the ultra-fast performance these workloads need

What were the results?

3x faster performance

20% lower costs offered through 2:1 data compression

Enabled Disaster Recovery


And now for the details.

Sentara Overview

Sentara Healthcare is a not-for-profit healthcare organization serving Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. It offers services in 12 acute care hospitals with 3,739 beds, 10 nursing centers, and 3 assisted living facilities. In addition, Sentara operates its own managed-care plan which covers 1 million subscribers in the region. 

Business Challenges

 Sentara has a professional and expert team that handles its highly advanced electronic health records (EHR) deployment. The team decided that it would be in the company’s best interest to move all of its Epic EHR onto Microsoft Azure. These workloads tend to be large, complex, and difficult to migrate to the cloud. Sentara was leveraging Azure NetApp Files (ANF) to make the move. Yet, ANF didn’t offer Sentara the performance that its EHR workloads demanded. On top of that, it was projected that the company’s current cloud spend would grow 10% YoY, bloating the company’s OPEX expenditure. Sentara needed a solution that would give them the ultra-fast performance their workloads need without blowing through their OPEX budget. 

Introducing Silk on Azure

After careful evaluation, Sentara decided there was only one solution to its cloud challenges: Silk. Sentara’s IT organization was introduced to Silk by healthcare partner, Contineo Health.

The Silk Platform sits between customers’ workloads and the underlying cloud infrastructure, making it easy to accelerate cloud adoption by simply lifting and shifting the entire complex workload onto the cloud – with no need to refactor. Silk delivers up to 10x faster performance compared to native cloud alone, without changing a thing about customers’ underlying applications or infrastructure. The platform includes enterprise data services – such as data reduction, zero-footprint clones, and inline deduplication – that allow Silk users to reduce the number of cloud resources being used, helping to keep their cloud spend in check. And with always-on availability, Silk is the ideal solution for customers who are looking to move their most important workloads to Azure. 

“The performance with Silk on Azure could not be met by any other cloud solution for our most intense workloads, including our EHR. Silk and Azure are a powerful combination for complex workloads on the cloud.”
Matt Douglas | Chief Architect


With Silk, Sentara was able to achieve 3x faster performance than what they would have seen through native cloud alone. And with 2:1 data compression, Sentara’s advanced EHR and Cloud teams were able to reduce the number of Azure resources it uses, helping to cut their cloud costs by up to 20%. 

In addition to the faster performance and lower costs, there were a few other reasons why Sentara chose to adopt the Silk Platform. These included the use of inexpensive and instantaneous zero-footprint clones which come standard as part of the enterprise data services Silk provides. With these clones, the Sentara team would be able to make as many copies of data as they like, without going over their budget. 

In addition, Disaster Recovery was a use case that Sentara needed to leverage. Yet, this hadn’t previously been possible without tacking an additional $28,000 to their cloud bill for a hosting report. Since Silk makes it simple to replicate data and easily lift and shift it to other infrastructure, it is now possible for Sentara to easily move data from production to DR. 

Overall, Sentara was thrilled with the introduction of Silk to its stack. “The performance with Silk on Azure could not be met by any other cloud solution for our most intense workloads, including our EHR,” said Matt Douglas, Chief Architect, Sentara. “Silk and Azure are a powerful combination for complex workloads on the cloud.” 

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