A hybrid solution to the cloud
Jacqueline Blok: “Dr. G.R.J. Melles founded the NIIOS in 2003. Under his leadership, together with the NIIOS team, fundamentally new transplantation techniques have been developed for corneal diseases in the past 15 years that have now been adopted internationally as the gold standard. Furthermore, Dr. Melles has developed ophthalmic instruments and dye solutions for cataract surgery, for example.
Thus, more than 20 million patients worldwide have now been operated on with the surgical techniques developed by Melles or under the use of the products he developed, resulting in improved vision. For many, it has even been possible to prevent blindness.
These techniques are also used in our cornea clinic in Rotterdam (the Melles Cornea Clinic). NIIOS Research & Development focuses on the research and development of tissue treatment methods. Another component within NIIOS is the Eye Bank. In the Oogbank, donor tissue is processed into a high-quality end product supplied to ophthalmologists in the Netherlands and abroad.
Jacqueline Blok: ‘’Our mission is to be able to help as many patients with corneal problems as possible while minimizing the patient's discomfort from the surgery.’’
‘’It’s our mission to help as many patients as we can with cornea conditions as possible, while always putting the well being of our patients first. Our techniques are being adapted by a growing number of doctors abroad. Doctors from around the world come to our clinic for a two-day course to learn the techniques from Gerrit Melles first hand.’’
Arnaud van Herk: ‘’I was active as a freelancer back in 2010 when an acquiantance of mine adviced me to pay a visit to the owner, Gerrit Melles. They needed help with their IT and I was the one they hired to do the job. When I started working for Referit in 2017 we mutually agreed to keep NIIOS as a client.
That year NIIOS also decided it was time for a big update in IT-landscape. Not only to create a modern environment, but also faster, more efficient and safe. This was very important because of all the personal datafiles of their patients. They trusted me and Referit for this important decision.”
Jacqueline Blok: ”We have known Arnaud for quite some time, Gerrit prefers to work with people he knows and trusts. And the trust in Arnaud is great. We can always rely on him, he saw us grow into the company that we are today. Which means he also has a lot of background information about our company.
Our files were all stored on a local server at the time, we now partially transfered to the Cloud with a hybrid solution and started using Microsoft Office 365, which was a big change for us.”
Arnaud van Herk: ‘’There were two different projects rolled out at the same time: the migration of their local mailserver to Office 365 and replacing all of their local hardware.
NIIOS’ data was spread out over a lot of different systems. Our goal was to centralize all of this data in one place. The first thing I noticed is that they were working with five different physical servers at that time, I changed this to one physical server combined with multiple virtual servers. An extra benefit is that it saves a lot of energy and produces much less heat.
For the migration from the Exchange server to Office 365 I checked the number of accounts, shared mailboxes and public folders. After a big inventorisation we came up with a plan to make sure the transition would go down smoothly, so that the end-users would notice as little as possible.’’
Arnaud van Herk: ‘’After a big inventorisation we came up with a plan to make sure the transition would go down smoothly, so that the end-users would notice as little as possible.’’
‘’To ensure this smooth transition we first built an entirely new computer environment without altering the existing one. We made sure all data was synchronized while the new IT-architecture was perfected. During the development stage both environments were constantly being synchronized.
To improve their e-mail we chose to build a hybrid implementation. This means you can still use the old way to access your e-mail for a certain period of time but also the ‘’new’’ login function within the Office 365 environment.
Because of this hybrid solution the data and e-mail messages linked to your account are connected and available on both locations. We then migrated all e-mail boxes to Office 365, a copy as it were, the end-users didn’t notice a thing during this process.’’
Arnaud van Herk: ”The migration to the new hardware was done using Hyper-V.
The old environment of NIIOS existed of four physical servers and we migrated/consolidated all of them to one physical server using Hyper-V. Within Hyper-V several virtual servers were conducted in order to replace most of the physical servers.
For their transition to Office 365 and the hybrid environment between Exchange and Office 365 we used a Hybrid Configuration Wizard. We also used Azure AD Connect for synchronizing certain objects. Lastly, we used ReliefJet Essentials for Outlook to transfer all the public folders.”
Jacqueline Blok: ‘’The guidance we received from Referit and Arnaud in particuluar was more than satisfying. Before the implementation we were well prepared so we both knew exactly what to expect during the transition and how this would affect end-users. My collegues feared that the new sytem would take a long time to get used to. To prevent any issues we started a project group that ran several tests with Arnaud.’’
Jacqueline Blok: ‘’Before the implementation we were well prepared so we both knew exactly what to expect during the transition and how this would affect end-users.’’
Arnaud van Herk: ”The entire migration took place during the weekend. I worked there on location for two weeks after the migration and it’s been nothing but smooth sailing since then. They went from ‘’old’’ to ‘’new’’ within one weekend without any issues.
Of course it did take some getting used to, from working with the older Office 2010 to working with Office 365. But we chose to design the evironment in the same way so there wouldn’t be much confusion.
Behind the scenes there was a lot going on but NIIOS-employees didn’t notice a thing.”
Arnaud van Herk: ”NIIOS definitely noticed many advantages of working with the new system. Especially because they now have access to their files and e-mailaccounts using OneDrive, from any device and any place. There was a big power cut recently that affected most of Rotterdam, where NIIOS is located. They quickly realised that they were now able to work from home. If this would have happened before the office would have been down for hours.”
Arnaud van Herk: ‘’There was a big power cut recently that affected most of Rotterdam, where NIIOS is located. They quickly realised that they were now able to work from home. If this would have happened before the office would have been down for hours.’’
Jacqueline Blok: ”The accessibility of our files and e-mailaccounts is much improved. It’s great that we can easily find and view all of our documents. And that it’s now possible for us to work remotely because we’re always looking at the correct and most recent documents. In my experience this new system is faster too.”
Arnaud van Herk: ”For now this solution is a huge step forward already, it’s possible that they will transfer to the cloud completely, since they’re working with a hybrid construction now. We’re always brainstorming about how to further improve the efficiency of the workflows and processes.”
Jacqueline Blok: ”Efficiency is a top priority here at NIIOS, always with the safety and privacy of our clients in mind. Of course this is an ongoing process for which we will continue to need the expertise of Arnaud and Referit.”
Jacqueline Blok: ”Their service is great and so is their level of expertise and availability. We really appreciate the fact that we know exactly where we stand at all times. It’s a very professional way of working and what was promised is always delivered.”