Medical Imaging Northwest (MINW) is a group of 25 private practice radiologists, technologists, and staff committed to providing the finest medical imaging technology to its patients and the communities they serve around Washington. The practice consists of approximately 150 employees operating at multiple locations including five diagnostic imaging outpatient locations and three hospitals.
Medical Imaging Northwest’s IT environment consisted of four racks of servers with direct attached storage (DAS) running Microsoft Windows 2003. The practice had discussed virtualization with its reseller, Black Box Network Services, and had even tested a small Hyper-V deployment on a limited basis but had never committed to a full deployment. “We were operating on the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ framework,” said Chuck Myers, System Administrator at MINW. “Sixty to seventy-percent of our servers were beyond end-of-life and we were trying to squeeze every last day out of them that we possibly could,” he continued.
MINW had a handful of aging servers that were showing signs of failure. The practice was faced with a decision: reactively purchase new servers to replace their existing servers as they failed, or proactively invest in a virtualization solution. Virtualization would enable them to take advantage of high availability, a smaller footprint, and efficiency in deploying new servers as virtual machines. However, the traditional virtualization solution being considered (a typical do-it-yourself solution combining HP blade servers and Microsoft’s Hyper-V) would introduce complexity that would require a considerable amount of effort and training to deploy and maintain.
MINW was introduced to Scale Computing’s HC3 by the same reseller that they were initially testing a traditional virtualization solution through. As the industry’s leading hyper-converged solution built specifically for midmarket companies, HC3 could solve the complexity and time management issues that MINW had seen with the Hyper-V test environment. “I think I could have gotten the same thing done [with the HP blade server and Hyper-V solution], but it would have been infinitely more complex, time consuming and nowhere near as redundant as what I’ve got with HC3,” said Myers.
HC3 was built with the availability of a virtualized server and SAN, the scalability of a clustered infrastructure and the simplicity of a single server. By deploying HC3, the practice was able to realize the benefits of a fully virtualized environment without the added complexity of a typical virtualization deployment – all at a fraction of the cost of the other solutions they had considered. With no virtualization software to license, no external storage to buy and the hypervisor already integrated in the system, HC3 radically simplifies the infrastructure needed to keep applications running.
Reflecting on the benefits of consolidating his servers onto the HC3 system Myers said, “We currently have four racks of equipment and by the time we are finished with the virtualization project, I expect to decrease that by half.” In addition to a smaller footprint, Myers was particularly taken with the simplicity of managing his VMs using HC3. “In just two clicks, I’m able to pull up a console of my server in front of me from the HC3 user interface. I can see my servers and the resources they are using at a quick glance.”
Electronic Health Records and HIPPA requirements made the decision of HC3 versus a cloud-based solution easy for the security conscious practice. “With HC3, I get virtualization as an appliance that provides cost savings, a smaller footprint in the server room, ease of use in the UI and I don’t have any of the security concerns that you have with a cloud-based product,” said Myers.
Myers is well aware of cloud-based email solutions and file server solutions, but firmly believes that once physical control of the data is relinquished, no guarantee can be made on data security. “As other practices research the idea of virtualizing servers for the cost savings, they’ll begin to realize that it is beneficial from start to finish to go with a product like HC3 onsite.”
Healthcare – Radiology Practice
4 Node System
“In just two clicks, I’m able to pull up a console of my server in front of me from the HC3 user interface. I can see my servers and the resources they are using at a quick glance.” – Chuck Myers, System Administrator
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