EMC, VMware Build Private Cloud for New York Hospital

EMC and its VMware unit have assembled a private cloud for the Orange Regional Medical Center to exchange medical data and EHRs securely.

IT giant EMC has built a secure private cloud for ORMC (Orange Regional Medical Center), a 450-bed hospital system in Middletown, N.Y., as the medical organization undergoes a major consolidation of facilities.

ORMC is combining two existing hospitals onto a single 600,000-plus square-foot campus in Middletown. The new facility will be the first new hospital in New York State in 20 years.

VMware, a unit of EMC and a leading manufacturer of virtualization software, deployed its vSphere platform to virtualize 80 percent of ORMC's servers, according to the company. EMC and VMware announced the deal with the hospital on Nov. 8.

VMware's vSphere allows IT departments to reduce their cost and complexity through management automation at the service level and scaling of enterprise applications.

In addition, the hospital system is currently installing an EHR (electronic health record) platform from Epic Systems, a health care software company based in Verona, Wis.

"As our business continues to evolve, we needed a solution that would enable us to transform our IT infrastructure while keeping our operations running smoothly for optimum patient care delivery," said Dr. Shafiq Rab, ORMC's vice president for IT and CIO.

"EMC and VMware are providing the private cloud infrastructure to enable our campus consolidation and transformation to electronic care processes today while helping our physicians retain access to the information they need when they need it," Rab said. ORMC chose to create a private cloud to bring a simpler IT setup for the hospital, according to Rab.

"Private clouds allow more secure, on demand computing for hospitals and allow them to be more agile in their IT planning by separating the need to buy hardware each time they budget for some software," Shahid Shah, CEO of IT consulting firm Netspective Communications and author of the Healthcare IT Guy blog, wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK.

"Instead of forcing all software and hardware purchases to be coupled, private clouds allow decoupling of the software implementations from the hardware they will run on," Shah wrote.

"Private clouds are the only real sustainable way of growing the IT capabilities of a hospital without the commensurate growth in personnel and significant increases in operations budgets," according to Shah.

"EMC and VMware are tried-and-true technologies with over a decade of 'it just works' experience, and hospitals should look to this deployment as a how-to guide on what to do when setting up new IT environments," he added.

The hospital system also implemented EMC's Clariion and Celerra storage platforms, featuring SSDs (solid state drives) to help it with storage and retrieval of EHRs.

In addition, EMC's Avamar deduplication software and Centera storage system allowed ORMC to perform deduplication and boost its backup, recovery and archiving of medical data.

The EMC and VMware "technologies go hand in hand to reduce our expense and complexity and will provide us with the control needed for a secure and trusted private cloud," ORMC's Rab said.

Meanwhile, on Nov. 1 IBM announced that CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) will deploy its Federal Community Cloud. The private cloud allows organizations to use scalable data centers to manage data at a fraction of the cost, without individual infrastructures or software licenses, according to IBM.