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IBM Virtualization Technologies Simplify St. Louis Hospital’s Data Center


IBM (NYSE: IBM) and St. Anthony’s Medical Center of St. Louis today announced that IBM has been selected as the strategic technology vendor for the healthcare facility. By consolidating its data center and implementing IBM virtualization technologies, St. Anthony’s Medical Center estimates it will save more than $1 million in administrative and IT costs. The consolidation includes the hospital’s entire computer operations, including archiving of patient test results and X-rays to enhance overall patient care.

In September 2003, St. Anthony’s Medical Center’s IT department was facing a common technology challenge -- the lack of data center space. Departments within the organization had separate IT budgets and were working with different vendors which caused the group to operate in a siloed environment. The center’s IT department was charged with overseeing the entire infrastructure but saw little coordination within the hospital in terms of requests for hardware and defining the system requirements needed to run applications. Due to increased computer and hardware requests, St. Anthony’s considered either adding additional racks full of servers to their already full data center or possibly even building a new data center within the hospital to help support the growth of the hospital.

“The demand from around the hospital was surging against us like a tidal wave,” said Rick Faszold, Manager of IT Systems for St. Anthony’s Medical Center. “Without IBM’s recommendation and thought leadership around virtualization, we surely would have drowned.”

Because of space constraints, St. Anthony’s turned to IBM and IBM Business Partner Lowery Systems, Inc., to simplify its data center requirements with the use of storage and server virtualization technology to reduce its server sprawl in half.

“St. Anthony’s came to us with the problems of exponential server and storage growth,” says Jack Russell, Manager of the Advanced Technologies Group at Lowery Systems. “Together, we determined the time was right to introduce Virtualization technologies not only to meet their current challenges but, perhaps more importantly, to be sure their data center would be ready to accommodate future growth of the hospital and the services it would offer.”

St. Anthony’s data center is now 75 percent virtualized -- running 160 virtual servers on eight servers and staffs 10 employees to manage more than 240 applications in the data center.

“There is a growing need for enhanced patient care in today’s medicine -- advances in technology, both in the examining room and technologies that simplify and optimize IT for the healthcare industry are helping meet that demand,” said Rich Lechner, Vice President, Virtualization and Optimizing IT, IBM. “Through the partnership with Lowery Systems, IBM has created a solution to help St. Anthony’s Medical Center exploit the power of virtualization to not only reduce costs but also provide access to critical information in order to provide their patients with the top-notch care they deserve.”

St. Anthony’s has deployed the following IBM virtualization technology:

-Servers: IBM System p5 550 servers that utilize logical partitioning, which allows processing resources to be shared across multiple independent operating environments; IBM BladeCenter servers to help reduce the footprint of the infrastructure and streamline server management; and IBM System x 345 servers with virtualization.
-Storage: IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Servers running partitions that provide 14 terabytes of storage capacity and help to ensure high data availability; IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller to help virtualize and manage the entire pool of storage and Tivoli Storage Manager to manage automated backup and recovery operations.
-Software: IBM Systems Director management technologies to view both the physical and virtual systems from one common dashboard.
The medical center will complete its data center implementation later this year.


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