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The Data Doctor

Alamance Regional Medical Center practices good medicine by updating its storage environment

Alamance Regional Medical Center practices good medicine by updating its storage environment
Illustration by Ken Edmondson

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Customer: Alamance Regional Medical Center
Headquarters: Burlington, N.C.
Business: Healthcare provider
Challenge: Cutting costs related to data storage and improving storage utilization
Solution: Deploying the NetApp IBM-branded N series storage solution to take the place of an expensive, overpowered storage infrastructure
Hardware: IBM Power Systems, System p and System i servers, four IBM BladeCenter chassis and IBM N series N5600 and N5200 storage devices
Software: IBM N series SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure, IBM N series SnapMirror and SnapRestore, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, VMware, and Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop

As IT professionals at nearly every level have discovered over the past several years, server virtualization offers a host of benefits, including reduced hardware footprints, lower power consumption and less administrative overhead. All of this, of course, correlates directly with cost reductions.

What these same people may not know, however, is that their storage infrastructures may not be keeping up with virtualization trends—and may in fact inhibit further savings. When looking at its storage environment, the Alamance Regional Medical Center (ARMC) discovered it faced just that quandary.

ARMC had virtualized many servers—and has even earnestly begun moving to a thin-client computing model—but was stifled in part by an older storage architecture that didn’t quite fit with the organization’s cutting-edge reputation. Realizing server virtualization was a great first step, ARMC also knew something else was missing, something that could help shrink IT costs even further.

Working closely with business partner Yorel Integrated Solutions, ARMC diagnosed the problem and found a cure in the form of the NetApp-based IBM N series storage solutions. Using that platform as a unified storage architecture, ARMC has seen many additional cost savings, including a $90,000 annual reduction in its storage budget, a 65-percent decrease in storage requirements thanks to deduplication, and a savings of $50,000 related to the purchase of new-capacity storage upgrades.

“It's pretty obvious we'll be cutting a lot of overhead, both related to upfront costs and ... ongoing maintenance.” —Jerry Moore, senior network administrator, ARMC

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.


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The Data Doctor

Alamance Regional Medical Center practices good medicine by updating its storage environment

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