CAM meets the changing needs of healthcare and the private sector with its flexible and future-proof CAMCUBE private cloud platform

With a customer base narrowly focused on mid-range healthcare and public sector organizations, CAM IT Solutions B.V., a Gold Citrix Solution Advisor based in the Netherlands, is acutely aware of the distinctive needs of these verticals. Both types of customers typically have stringent requirements for data security and regulatory compliance and a broad and complicated array of applications, which lend themselves to internal administration and control. On the other hand, tight budgets, lean IT staffs, difficulties in hiring skilled engineers and architects, and reliance on high system availability and performance (particularly to support 24/7 hospital operations) are prompting them to look at outsourcing.

Adding more complexity to this mix is the strong mobility trend in healthcare, where clinicians increasingly use tablets and smartphones as a replacement for traditional PC desktops.

To address these challenges, CAM offers its CAMCUBE private cloud platform, which can be implemented at the customer site (platform on premise), hosted by CAM (platform as a service, or PaaS) or combined to provide, for instance, a secondary hosted site for business continuity. The platform, which is identical regardless of implementation model, has two parts:  the “engine room” comprising the resources needed for the private cloud; and the “workspace,” which provides delivery of apps and desktops to users.

Transitioning to PaaS

CAM CEO Willem Drijver commented, “In the Netherlands, there are a lot of volume-based infrastructure as a service providers, but we chose a different path. Although there is only one letter separating IaaS and PaaS, there is a world of difference.” In other words, CAM not only provides the underlying infrastructure resources, including networking through a partnership with Vosko Networking, but also the application platform. This approach enables customers to retain control over their apps and data while relying on CAM for the robust and high-performance platform on which the apps run.

Although the vast majority of CAM customers are currently using the on-premises flavor of CAMCUBE, this model is in transition, according to Drijver. “Among our healthcare customers, particularly the care organizations, the PaaS model is really gaining traction because it is an attractive alternative to a fully hosted model. It allows the IT team to retain control over apps and data, and also provides assurance that although the platform is shared, each customer’s private cloud is completely isolated within our hosted environment.” In addition, CAM is able to extend its historical key performance indicator (KPI) guarantees documented in the on-premise model to PaaS customers, because the two run exactly the same way.

App and desktop delivery powered by Citrix

Citrix solutions power the “workspace” portion of CAMCUBE. As the platform has evolved with new technologies, CAM has expanded its one-dimensional delivery model – the traditional Windows-based desktop – to three “delivery stores”: 1. Desktop: VDI desktops with Citrix XenDesktop; 2. Web: web-based apps; and 3. Mobile: mobile apps with Citrix XenMobile. Citrix NetScaler Gateway provides secure, remote access to these delivery stores.

To support mobile workstyle trends such as BYOD, the CAMCUBE platform enables apps and desktops to be delivered to three categories of devices: company-managed devices, supported devices (user owned) and controlled devices. This third category came about because of customers’ desire for some level of control over user-supplied devices. Therefore, CAM established a simple self-service registration process that allows a BYO device to be set up in the platform and receive access to corporate apps and data. The Citrix Receiver and WorxHome apps are installed on all devices, together with signed certificates and Citrix XenMobile-pushed mobile device management (MDM) policies.

CAM was an early adopter of the XenMobile solution, which plays a key role in mobile app delivery. “With XenMobile, users can access Citrix Worx enterprise-ready mobile apps and data from the delivery store, which run in a secure container on their personal devices. The organization can be sure that these sandboxed business resources are kept completely separate from private apps and data, and users can avoid concerns that the employer is accessing their private information.”  CAM uses XenMobile Enterprise for mobile app management (MAM) as well as MDM.

The partner piloted XenMobile in 2012 and then conducted a small production rollout at several hospitals. Recently, two major hospitals signed up for an organization-wide implementation of XenMobile. One of them, St. Jansdal in Harderwijk, is delivering apps to 2,150 users, who can choose from the three CAMCUBE delivery stores. However, Drijver said, “This hospital expects that, eventually, 500 or more of these users will no longer need to touch a Windows desktop for anything. Instead, they are using web-based diagnostics apps and some nice mobile apps, and also unified communications for video conferencing.”

He continued, “Citrix has allowed us to provide a highly flexible solution for app delivery, which is critical because today’s users are not looking at Windows desktops but at apps, and they are not focused on PCs but on mobile devices.”

Future-proofing the platform

One of the major advantages of the CAMCUBE platform is assurance of the latest technologies, which are provided through a bundled program of managed services: CAMCUBE|SERVICES. “Customers invest in our platform for at least five years and they want to be sure it will be kept up-to-date over that period. From our centralized platform management research and testing facilities, we conduct monthly enhancements to all of our platforms in the field,” he explained. In addition, twice a year, CAM offers customers the opportunity to be upgraded to the latest platform release of CAMCUBE, and provides workshops to educate them about the new capabilities. Customers can decide if and when to upgrade.

According to the CEO, Citrix technologies – which CAM has used since the days of MetaFrame – have been the enablers of app delivery to end users throughout the four generations of CAMCUBE, and will continue to support the platform as it evolves. “Citrix is always ready with the right technologies, and we trust the company to fulfill the expectations of our customers.”