Providence St. Joseph Health Uses Puppet to Support Patient Care in 50+ Hospitals with Faster Deployment

Providence St. Joseph Health, formed from the merger of Providence Health & Services and Saint Joseph Health in 2016, is a non-profit healthcare corporation based in the U.S. The organization’s large footprint — including more than 51 hospitals and 1,000 clinics across seven states — relies on Puppet’s enterprise automation and configuration management to ensure consistency in every deployment.

Benefits of Using Puppet:

Focus on high-level engineering

instead of rote manual tasks.

Makes changes in hours, not weeks

for compliance, security, patching + more.

Node-level state reporting

for greater situational awareness across  dispersed infrastructure.

Centralized app + OS configuration management

automates manual post-deployment checks + changes.

Challenge: Weeks-Long Deployment Cycles + a Risk of Low-Quality Care

Providence St. Joseph Health didn’t need to deploy applications they built — “We tend to buy most of our software applications from vendors,” said Jason Forbes, DevOps Manager, Solutions Engineering — but they still needed the large infrastructure to support the self-hosted software they were using to provide patient care.

Before Puppet, in what Forbes calls “the bad old days,” the hospital chain used manual scripts for deploying “everything.” Depending on the priority of the request, deploying any correctly configured application via the old ticket-based system could take weeks.

For an organization with a footprint the size of Providence St. Joseph Health’s, long deployment cycles and inconsistent deployment translate directly into a low quality of care. Doctors can’t access patient information as quickly; nurses and attendants don’t get critical monitoring insights they need to track patient health and care plans; and patients end up with messy scheduling capabilities and less visibility into their own medical records.

Solution: Automation + Configuration Management That Can Support Deployment at Scale

“With the removal of all the manual deployment tasks, a lot of the teams that were doing that work are now focused on higher-level engineering type work instead of the manual processes they were doing before." 
- Jason Forbes, DevOps Manager, Solutions Engineering, Providence St. Joseph Health

By combining Puppet with VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Orchestrator (vRO), the DevOps team at Providence St. Joseph Health was able to accelerate deployment time to hours instead of weeks.

Watch: The Story of Puppet at Providence St. Joseph Health


“We’re able to use vRA and vVRO to deploy servers into diverse geographical regions, then have Puppet maintain and manage the application configuration,” said Forbes. Once deployed, Puppet takes it from there, managing environment configurations to ensure policy adherence, enforce consistency, roll out changes, and more.

“One of the things that has been helpful for us is leveraging Puppet to be able to not only make changes to the environment configuration when things like compliance or security or Windows patching, or things like that come down the pike,” said Forbes, “but also, we’re able to report on our nodes so we have a pretty good situational awareness of what applications we have out there and what state our nodes are in.”

Automating deployment processes for their vendor-supported applications improves access to records, enables better patient monitoring, and improves collaboration within the corporation’s healthcare teams.

For the IT team, the benefits are also internal. With the help of Puppet, their DevOps team has been breaking down siloes, bringing Puppet expertise into the infrastructure teams that support specialty areas of their IT.

Puppet was created to provide secure, consistent, predictable infrastructure management that inspires confidence. Get a demo of Puppet Enterprise or try it for free on up to 10 nodes right now.