Mille Lacs Health System Case Study

Achieving Modern Server and Storage

Mille Lacs Health System (MLHS) is a community-owned, non-profit organization located in the resort community of Onamia, MN. Their mission is to assist residents and visitors in the Mille Lacs area to achieve and maintain optimal health. For over 50 years, MLHS has been delivering world-class care in their rural community.

MLHS staffed their own IT team and built an on-site data center in their hospital. Having the information technology infrastructure on-site was necessary because advanced telecom wasn’t mature enough to support the hospital operations.



The IT infrastructure at MLHS was built using physical servers for each application resulting in redundancy of effort and equipment underutilization. It was wasteful. As the physical infrastructure reached its end of life, MLHS considered the challenges with how they managed their IT. They felt their primary pain points were:

  • Utilization of physical vs. virtual technology
  • Insufficient disaster recovery plan
  • Difficulty attracting and retaining IT expertise to a rural setting
  • IT staff encumbered with day-to-day operations and not leading strategic initiatives



With MLHS facing these infrastructure and staffing challenges, MLHS decided it was time to consider outsourcing to fill critical gaps. After vetting a long list of service providers they chose Netgain because of their business outcomes approach and their many previous successes with other healthcare clients.

“Most of what we were looking to do in our environment, Netgain has already done in their data center or for other clients, so why not use them to reach our goals more timely and less expensively,” said Mike Benda, MLHS IT Manager.

After considerable due diligence and a thorough evaluation of MLHS’s IT pains and business goals, Netgain proposed an onsite, private cloud solution. Netgain’s PremiseCloud™ is an onsite server virtualization and storage platform that adheres to industry best practices in monitoring, measuring, and maintaining to ensure a high degree of uptime and fast performance. Built into the platform is remote replication to fulfill disaster recovery needs, and it’s all overseen by Netgain’s staff who each have a deep knowledge of healthcare IT requirements.

Netgain worked with MLHS’s IT team to augment their in-house skillsets and set ongoing operation plans. Together they determined server workload and migration plans, rights and permissions, maintenance responsibilities, and even on-call duties.



MLHS overcame their challenges and are now receiving continuing expert guidance on their IT roadmap by Netgain. MLHS has a proven platform to operate their hospital from and they are extremely pleased to turn pain into gain. Here are a few general gains:

Augmented Staffing Resources & Expertise

Though MLHS still employs a team of technologists, one of the biggest benefits they feel came from migrating to Netgain’s PremiseCloud™ is access to experts.

“Having Netgain as our IT partner is like having an IT staff of over 100 technologists. They have such a range of knowledge we would never be able to employ internally,” Benda expressed.

Fully Virtualized Environment

Netgain’s experience with virtualization removed all of the guesswork from the virtualization project at MLHS. Netgain deployed the environment based on best practices and proven processes in a fraction of the time it would have taken MLHS to evaluate, test, budget, implement, and learn.

Deployment of New Technologies

Since implementing Netgain’s PremiseCloud™, the MLHS team has been able to deploy some of the new technologies they were previously evaluating.

“Having the scalability and flexibility of PremiseCloud makes it significantly easier to deploy new technologies because we know the resources are available to us,” Benda said.

Comprehensive Disaster Recovery & Replication Solution

Netgain’s data center facilitates the disaster recovery needs of MLHS. PremiseCloud™ is connected via a fiber network to Netgain’s data centers, allowing critical servers and storage to be replicated to Netgain for a comprehensive disaster recovery solution.

Completion of Strategic Initiatives

MLHS’s internal IT staff were all busy managing the daily operations of the IT environment and did not have the extra time to research, plan, and deploy new technologies that would increase hospital revenues or improve the patient experience. Netgain does most of the daily tasks while MLHS staff now implements new services.

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Quote“Having Netgain as our IT partner is like having an IT staff of over 100 technologists. They have such a range of knowledge we would never be able to employ internally.
-Mike Benda, MLHS IT Manager