Private Cloud Helps Italy’s INAIL Shift to Smart Working

Before the pandemic, Italy’s National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL) IT project manager Flavio Mancini helped INAIL move to private cloud. Mancini explains what it was like to prepare INAIL’s IT for the unforeseen crisis and an uncharted future of IT.

By Jason Lopez

By Jason Lopez July 10, 2020

Flavio Mancini is a IT project manager in Italy’s National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work also known as INAIL. Before COVID-19 hit the country hard in March 2020, Mancini and his team helped INAIL move to private cloud. Having that on-premises, scalable IT system allowed the agency to scale its remote worker capabilities to thousands of employees when the country was locked down for two months. Speaking from Rome, Mancini explains what it was like to prepare INAIL’s IT for the unforeseen crisis and a future that will require more smart working.

TRANSCRIPT (unedited)

Flavio Mancini: Our story began in 2016 with the project to create the service control room in which the requirements of performance, ability redundancy, but above all reliability had to be respected given the crucial role that the service control room must have. We started with three nodes per site. We have two sites. We start with three nodes per site with the hypervisor of VMWare, and then scale with another four nodes per site in 2019.

Jason Lopez: A computer engineer in Rome, Italy talks about it in his organization before COVID-19. This control room project paved the way for hosting services and the data center. In 2018, his it team implemented a VDI service for training purposes, for interns, for systems engineers using their own personal laptops.

Flavio Mancini: The story now is different because COVID-19 shifted our project to find a solution to our users. Our users are my colleagues. We are about 1,000 users. Our priorities shifted to find the solution for employees. It was fortunate for us to have a Nutanix infrastructure available for this emergency. We exploited the nodes that already hosted the VDI, but in order to have more resources given to the large number of users we reconvert their notes for other purpose and in a health a day of work we had them available.

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Jason Lopez: Because of the pandemic they changed IT services. The number of users increased as they were now working from home. And the IT team needed tools with simplicity of configuration and management.

Flavio Mancini: Because the Nutanix philosophy, it's the one-click, allows a single operator to manage all the necessary configuration from storage to networks to add nodes, to cluster, to manage virtual machines, and performing and reliant hardware.

Jason Lopez: The organization we’re talking about here is Italy’s National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work. Its acronym is INAIL, spelled as it sounds, I-N-A-I-L. It has four main objectives: preventing work related accidents, providing insurance for accidents and occupational diseases, providing benefits, and conducting research, which includes things like deploying new medical technologies. INAIL is known for best practices in fields like new technologies in orthopedics, where injured people can be re-integrated back into their jobs, with their families, and into society.

Flavio Mancini: Project manager, mainly focused on the infrastructure of the related projects, as well as capacity manager for the DCOD, Central Digital Organization Department that is the intersection that deals with information technologies.

[music]  

Flavio Mancini: I love IT since the Commodore 64. Maybe I have 10 years old. I have a fortunate to have my brother that is older than me. So his presents are my presents.

Jason Lopez: Flavio, how did you become an IT professional? When did that happen?

Flavio Mancini: The Commodore 64 was the starting point. I try with some manuals to write simple code for construct a game. When I was 16, and was a self made man, okay, in IT. And so I practice some courses, during the here and I have the fortune to meet people working in the world of it, so I developed a specialization in databases.

Jason Lopez: Flavio Mancini has been an email since 2011. He says he has championed various technologies to bring them into the organization – and the Nutanix implementation originally had nothing to do with a crisis like the pandemic. It was part of the roadmap before the coronavirus hit.

Flavio Mancini: With COVID-19, we have reconverted most of the nodes in very short time, in a half a day. And we add nodes to the VDI clusters with extreme speed, the simplicity. This is a very important feature of Nutanix. With the console of Nutanix we do everything, I don't need to stay in my workstation.

Jason Lopez: He’s been staying home where he works. And as he has recounted in this story, Flavio's team rapidly reconfigured things in order to provide video services to INAIL workers… which included himself.

Flavio Mancini: I have a time to stay with my child, cooking with my wife. Before COVID there was no time for this, or maybe less time. The real question is that not all of us understand the need to stay home. Some people go out, I see in the morning running people. So we have to change also.

Jason Lopez: Flavio Mancini lives in Rome where he talked to us from his home. Recently INAIL reported that COVID-19 infections at work have actually risen a bit during the period of mid-May to mid-June by nearly 2,000. But most of those were in the health care industry at places like hospitals and nursing homes. Overall, Italy is a success story, having driven infections to manageable levels as the country reopens. This is the Tech Barometer podcast.  I’m Jason Lopez. Check out our other stories about technology and the people in tech at The Forecast. Just go to the forecastbynutanix dot com.

Jason Lopez is executive producer of Tech Barometer, the podcast outlet for The Forecast. He’s the founder of Connected Social Media. Previously, he was executive producer at PodTech and a reporter at NPR.

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