How this health system upgraded its storage and backups while saving money

 In Case Studies, Data Center, Hardware, Solutions

Change isn’t always a good thing. However, if you’ve been using the same legacy storage and backup and recovery platforms for the better part of 20 years, change is exactly what you need. The key question is, a “change” to what?

This was the challenge facing a Louisiana health system’s new IT director, who was tasked with finding a solution to an organizational problem that had gotten out of hand under previous leadership. To put it simply, they were running out of data center space, backing up data took days, and their maintenance renewal fees were growing unwieldy.

The organization turned to SHI, which had become a trusted advisor over the years, to help solve this dilemma.

Examining the extent of the problem: Financial, performance, and spatial

When the IT director began to take a closer look at what had become an extensive operational expense, he saw that the cost of maintaining the company’s legacy storage and backup and recovery features went beyond financial.

Updates interrupted production, and even brought down some subsystems, hamstringing the organization’s virtual desktop environment.

These performance issues limited nurses’ and doctors’ ability to provide patient care. They had difficulty getting into the EMR system after storage updates, slowing down access to patient information.

On the backup and recovery side, there were incidents where the company would go to restore something and find that, for one reason or another, it hadn’t been backed up. Sometimes, it would take two to three days to back up the entire system, immediately making those backups out of date.

The organization was also running out of space. The number of racks required to house its storage solutions was creeping up on the physical limitations of the data center. The sheer footprint, along with how many systems the organization had to deploy throughout the environment in multiple centers, was no longer feasible.

Saving space, speeding backups

Tired of dealing with an overly complex and expensive environment, the company turned to SHI for advice on what other solutions the market had to offer.

The organization had the idea to move to an all flash environment and wanted to know if that was affordable. However, given the company’s previous history, SHI wanted to go beyond outfitting the company with a solution that would just take care of performance problems.

SHI’s goal was to make sure the organization wasn’t constantly dealing with maintenance costs or needing to continuously buy more storage. It was time to get out of the traditional SAN model.

SHI helped the company settle on Pure Storage. This would give the organization predictable maintenance, new storage controllers every three years, and the added benefit of Pure Storage’s “guarantee” model, where if you purchase the correct size in the beginning for a certain set of workflows, Pure guarantees a certain amount of compression and storage capacity for that given workload.

In terms of backup and recovery, the company was looking for both an enterprise solution and the ability to store data within the platform while hosting additional secondary workloads. SHI recognized that Cohesity, a multipurpose solution that does a great job hosting file services on the same platform as backup and recovery, would solve both needs. The organization agreed.

Navigating the transition

SHI didn’t just offer solutions for the company, it provided support throughout the entire transition process.

The best part is that the maintenance costs the organization saved with the switch more than covered the investment in the new Pure Storage and Cohesity solutions. With both operational and capital expenditures down the organization is poised to save money over the next several years.

Now this health system can work without interruption to serve its patients’ needs.

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