Virtualization Featured Article

Baystate Brings IT Infrastructure into 21st Century

April 14, 2016

According to Ferris Bueller, “Life happens pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” While this statement can apply to a veritable cornucopia of subjects, today it is a perfect fit for the data center space. From SDN and NFV to the cloud and beyond, network infrastructure is transforming before our eyes.

Recently, Springfield, Mass – based Baystate Health launched its own transformation project. The healthcare business brings with it inherent challenges for meeting HIPAA and other various regulatory requirements. In 2014, Michael Feld came on board as Baystate’s interim Chief Technology Officer and since has been tasked with bringing the organization’s data center up to the 21st century.

“My mandate is to basically forklift the entire IT department and move it from what’s called a siloed, traditional, less than fully efficient model to something much more modern. And, Baystate’s CIO has tasked me to do this with declining budgets and increasing demand,” Feld says.

When laying out the issues regarding its current deployment and weighing options virtualization stuck out as an obvious choice. The health system’s siloed operations were holding the group back, as it lacked flexibility and limited speed. Feld explained, “The biggest problem was the data centers,” which he refers to as ancient, and data flows.

Leadership at Baystate selected a virtualized hyperconverged infrastructure environment that would reduce footprint and overall expense of the project, and in addition improve overall performance.

Feld notes, “With this hyperconvergence model, we are always available, at all times, with all data, so nothing is failing over, everything is operating communally across all these facilities,” Feld says. What he does not mention here is the cost savings.

A project with a budget of $8 million was completed for nearly half that amount, and in return received a more flexible, stable and scalable infrastructure to adjust with the firm’s growth.

Baystate is responsible for 12,000 employees, an academic medical center, four hospitals, a children’s hospital, a hospice, a health insurance company, the only level-one trauma center in Western Massachusetts as well as several outpatient and primary care facilities – there is no time for downtime.

The Baystate project is a perfect example of a firm recognizing a need for modernization and doing something about it.  Clearly, they took Bueller’s advice.

What’s in your data center?

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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