Kindred Healthcare Increases IT Efficiency with Cisco- Based Storage Area Network
Cisco positioned in leader quadrant of ’Magic Quadrant for SAN Fibre Channel Switches’
SAN JOSE, Calif., March 7, 2006 - Cisco today announced that Kindred Healthcare, a Fortune 500 provider of long-term healthcare services nationwide, has selected Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer directors to upgrade their storage area networks (SANs).
Headquartered in Louisville, Ky -- with 73 hospitals, 245 nursing centers, 39 institutional pharmacies, and 51,000 employees -- Kindred Healthcare is one of the nation’s largest long-term healthcare providers. The main data center is responsible for storing all the data for Kindred’s corporate applications including enterprise resource planning, digitalized patient records, and clinical applications, while also providing centralized data backup.
In planning their SAN upgrade, Kindred’s IT staff considered their current SAN switch vendor but also decided to look at other possibilities, including Cisco. “We did side-by-side product comparisons, overviews of the software, went to executive briefings-and engaged in months of evaluation,” said Tim Hesson, corporate manager of storage management at Kindred. “In the end, after selecting Cisco, we realized we also had an opportunity to look at the entire storage environment and redesign our SAN with next generation features. We weren’t just swapping ports, we were designing for the future.”
With the assistance of Cisco Professional Services, the Kindred storage team planned and configured a cost-effective and flexible design to eliminate the existing 26 non-modular switches and consolidate into two new SANs based on Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer directors.
“The consolidation alone freed up 100 ports that had been used just for inter-switch link connectivity,” said Kris Kostyo, senior systems programmer at Kindred. “In addition, managing the four new directors was much simpler and more cost-effective than managing 26 switches.”
The new SANs support all of Kindred’s mission-critical applications, which include payroll, medical appointment and lab scheduling, financials, web-based applications, and email for all of Kindred’s organizations nationwide. With every subsidiary organization depending on them, the new SANs were designed for end-to-end fault tolerance. Each SAN has dual fabrics for redundancy, as well as dual components for everything else, creating a truly fault tolerant environment. The actual transfer of data to the new SAN environment was accomplished over a 70 day period, without impacting any of Kindred’s users. The migration was assisted by Cisco Virtual SAN (VSAN) capability, which allowed the team to segment the data by function.
“We were able to make this transition with virtually zero downtime,” said Hesson. “No one at Kindred would have been aware of the change if they hadn’t been told. We designed our new SANs to be extremely stable and reliable.”
Efficiency and cost reduction are also very important to Kindred Healthcare: Kindred’s entire storage networking system is successfully managed by an in-house team of just four people. The automation and efficiency of the new design improves IT staff productivity and will help the staff to continue adding capacity without adding head count. To further reduce their operational costs, the Kindred team has future plans to use Inter VSAN Routing (IVR) to accomplish LAN-free data backups and to take advantage of iSCSI for connecting midrange servers on IP networks.
Kindred’s accomplishments are being repeated by enterprise customers across the globe that are taking advantage of Cisco storage networking technology. Cisco was recently positioned by Gartner in the Leader Quadrant in the 2005 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SAN Fibre Channel Switches,* based on an evaluation of vision and ability to execute.
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* Magic Quadrant for SAN Fibre Channel Switches, 2005, by James E. Opfer and Robert E. Passmore Publication Date: 28 December 2005 ID Number: G00136520
The Magic Quadrant is copyrighted 2005 by Gartner, Inc. and is reused with permission. The Magic Quadrant is a graphical representation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner’s analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the Magic Quadrant, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors placed in the “Leaders” quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is intended solely as a research tool, and is not meant to be a specific guide to action. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
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