EMC Provides Good Storage Medicine

Case Study: EMC helps Bassett Healthcare address the issues of storage and business continuity.

Physicians are typically on the leading edge when it comes to technology, and, at Bassett Healthcare, so are the IT managers.

With ever-growing data and the need to comply with regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), IT managers at the regional health care system decided to put a storage strategy into effect that would allow them to address consolidation, business continuity, disaster recovery and tiered storage. Bassett Healthcare also has been able to consolidate applications from a variety of vendors onto one platform, increasing data security and reliability, as well as earning significant savings in energy, manpower and space.

"If you look at health care, the most critical element of all that we do is the data," said Kenneth Deans, vice president and CIO of Bassett Healthcare.

Based in Cooperstown, N.Y., Bassett Healthcare has four hospitals and 23 community health center sites. Bassetts CIO office manages all the data for these sites.

In 2001, as Bassett Healthcare began implementing new systems and updating others, Deans and William Greco, Bassetts manager of IT systems engineering, decided to address business continuity and disaster recovery at the same time by purchasing EMCs Symmetrix 8730 enterprise storage array.

While system update times improved threefold with the arrays implementation, the size and nature of the Symmetrix system meant that Bassett Healthcare couldnt do upgrades internally. Deans and Greco decided they wanted more hands-on control of their storage solution, and, as a result, they purchased EMCs midrange Clariion CX700 in 2004.

Currently, Bassett Healthcare is using the CX700 to manage data from several core business applications, such as human resources, payroll, finance and more than 2,600 Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 mailboxes. The CX700 also is used to handle data from health-care-related applications, including imaging files.

Earlier this year, Bassett Healthcare decided to build a storage strategy on EMCs CX line to address consolidation, tiered storage and disaster recovery. Deans also wanted to provide more options for greater capacity and increased throughput. Keeping these requirements in mind, Deans and Greco purchased a second midrange storage system, EMCs Clariion CX3-80 UltraScale.

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One reason Deans and Greco purchased the CX3-80 is its support for tiered storage. This allows Bassett Healthcare to use, for example, fast and sophisticated types of disks for mission-critical applications and lower-end disks for less important data.

The CX3-80 supports high-speed (2G-bps and 4G-bps) Fibre Channel, as well as high-capacity FC disk drives.

The tiered storage infrastructure, including an online archive, has allowed Bassett Healthcare to place data on the most appropriate and cost-effective tier of storage without affecting application performance, Deans said. Combined with the use of virtualization technologies to optimize CPU and storage utilization, as well as virtual tape technology to reduce the number of tapes used and the time required for restores, Bassett Healthcare officials expect to see significant savings on media.

Bassett Healthcare is looking to migrate its surgical information systems and anesthesiology application data from IBM and Hewlett-Packard systems onto the CX3-80, which packs 100TB of storage into a small enclosure. Deans and Greco are also looking at VMware applications to consolidate the many smaller servers in Bassett Healthcares data center.

In addition, Deans and Greco are designing a disaster recovery plan that includes mirroring data between the Clariion CX700 and Clariion CX3-80 from a new disaster recovery site. Eventually, the two want to use the CX3-80 as their primary production SAN (storage area network).

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at anne_chen@ziffdavis.com.

Case File

  • Company Bassett Healthcare
  • Location Cooperstown, N.Y.
  • Challenge Bassett Healthcare wanted to deploy a solution that would enable its data to remain secure and accessible—covering consolidation, business continuity, disaster recovery and tiered storage.
  • Solution Bassett Healthcare decided to deploy midrange storage systems from EMC that would allow IT managers at the regional health care system to improve performance and manageability while working with more than 100TB of data.
  • Tools EMCs Clariion CX3-80, Clariion CX700 and Symmetrix 8730; servers from IBM and HP; Microsofts Exchange Server 2003.
  • Whats next Bassett Healthcare is developing a disaster recovery plan that includes data mirroring. In addition, IT managers are looking to migrate surgical information systems and anesthesiology data from IBM and HP systems to the Clariion CX3-80.

Source: eWEEK reporting

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