DataCore Software and VMware Virtualization Deliver Virtual Infrastructure Productivity to Munich's Largest Multi-Hospital Network

Posted by dcparris on Jul 11, 2006 5:42 PM EDT
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. and MUNICH, Germany, July 11 /PRNewswire/ -- DataCore Software today announced that because of the notable success its customer Munich-Schwabing Hospital has achieved through its technology, the five hospitals in the Bavarian capital of Munich are currently centralizing their information technology in order to save costs and provide a more efficient data management system. With its positive experience in the field of virtualization tools -- in particular, VMware for servers and DataCore Software's SANsymphony(TM) for storage -- the Schwabing Hospital is now expanding its operations multi-site and helping the other hospitals within its network. The Schwabing Hospital is now responsible for storage and server architecture for all five hospitals due to the successes already achieved in improving productivity and resource utilization through its deployment of a comprehensive virtual infrastructure.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. and MUNICH, Germany, July 11 /PRNewswire/ -- DataCore Software today announced that because of the notable success its customer Munich-Schwabing Hospital has achieved through its technology, the five hospitals in the Bavarian capital of Munich are currently centralizing their information technology in order to save costs and provide a more efficient data management system. With its positive experience in the field of virtualization tools -- in particular, VMware for servers and DataCore Software's SANsymphony(TM) for storage -- the Schwabing Hospital is now expanding its operations multi-site and helping the other hospitals within its network. The Schwabing Hospital is now responsible for storage and server architecture for all five hospitals due to the successes already achieved in improving productivity and resource utilization through its deployment of a comprehensive virtual infrastructure.

Consolidating IT and Providing Central, Virtual Infrastructure Schwabing Hospital opted to move its Direct Attached Storage (DAS) to a Storage Area Network (SAN) so that the data storage resources could be more easily added and connected to more systems. Another reason was that IT administrators wanted to consolidate and virtualize a portion of their system landscape using VMware's ESX-Server software as part of their plans in the medium term. To do so, they knew that VMware best practices dictated that a SAN infrastructure would be a necessary requirement. "When choosing the SAN solution, the overall costs were decisive for us," explained Kosmas Schutz, the chief IT administrator at the Schwabing Hospital in Munich at that time, who is now in charge of the IT infrastructure across the entire multi-hospital network.

"We wanted to move away from hardware and supplier constraints and provide ourselves with the opportunity to expand storage as we needed, in a linear fashion. This is only possible with a SAN, which virtualizes and centralizes storage management and storage services. After taking a good look at the market, we were certain that a software-based virtualization solution was what we needed." For Schwabing Hospital, what DataCore adds in terms of flexibility and better productivity on the storage side is what VMware does on the server- side. Virtualized systems are precisely tailored to the hospital's requirements and overall the utilization of the IT systems has improved greatly -- enabling the hospital to avoid the scenario of having very expensive hardware standing around in computer centers that doesn't get utilized enough.

"Today, we can manage far more systems with the same number of employees," said Schutz." Without SANsymphony, that would never have been possible. We also have the advantage of the scalability of our systems due to SANsymphony, which allows continuous expansion. We began with one terabyte (TB) and two applications. Today we have 14 TBs and another 20 applications!"

The combination of server and storage virtualization offers the hospital real advantages. Whereas earlier the IT team had to order and set up servers, today they can simply copy images in the SAN and assign them to the applications. With this solution, the team can set up systems within minutes or hours that would have previously taken days. One productivity example that has made a big difference is the use of large virtual volumes of up to 2 TBs each which can be served to the applications so that they can continue to operate without running out of capacity.

The actual physical storage used across the site and per machine is obviously much less. The virtual capacity only uses storage when actually needed; the physical storage pool utilization is optimized since the true capacity of the pool is managed centrally and shared across many systems. Various Applications on the SAN: Centralized Storage Management It was a big job to consolidate the five computer centers. SAP R/3 applications were running on Sparc servers under Sun Solaris as well as on Opteron servers under Linux. Blade Servers with MS Cluster for Windows 2003 were deployed for central Filer, Exchange 2003 and SQL 2005 Server applications.

"We wanted to make it easier to manage, and therefore we set up a single and central storage network using DataCore SANsymphony for as many of our systems as possible," said Schutz. CEMA, DataCore's authorized partner, installed the initial Fibre Channel SAN infrastructure and storage in just four weeks. Two Dell Servers running Windows 2003 were transformed into storage servers using SANsymphony and they formed the basis of a dual high-availability architecture, which was connected to two redundant Silkworm 3800 Fibre Channel-switches from Brocade. Since first installed, additional applications were integrated into the SAN, and the SAN was extended to 14 TBs.

After continual expansions, the Schwabing Hospital now has data storage functionality and capacities of varying types, performance levels and quality, which are used for different purposes depending on the application need and requirement. The more expensive, high-performing FC Systems (FC interfaces, FC disks) are used for "mission critical" applications, such as SAP. The laboratory system runs under FC/SCSI. FC-/SATA disks are used for other applications with lesser demands. "This was a fundamental decision," noted Schutz.

"We get around the possible higher risk of system failure from cheaper hardware by implementing a fully redundant system. The ability to support different classes of storage and the ability to deploy a completely redundant storage architecture enables protection and a choice of hardware -- heterogeneous storage managed by SANsymphony. Interestingly, this is still cheaper than a single, high-end solution from other providers and it protects our data just as well, if not better." Munich-Schwabing is now providing the central infrastructure for servers and storage in the integration project for the five hospitals.

"When choosing the SAN solution, high availability, central storage management, and flexibility were decisive for us," explained Schutz. In terms of utilization, maintenance and administration of servers and storage, Schutz estimates that the use of virtual infrastructure improved overall resource utilization by at least 10% -- and possibly as much as 30%. "Our virtual SAN solution fully meets our expectations. We have attained mainframe like features at Intel server prices," he concluded. An extended interview and full case study documenting this multi-site hospital deployment is available in PDF via the following link: http://www.datacore.com/downloads/CaseStudy_Munich_Schwabing...

About Municipal Hospital Munich GmbH On January 1, 2005, the five Munich hospitals of Bogenhausen, Neuperlach, Harlaching, Schwabing and Thalkirchener Strabe as well as the Institute for Nursing, Blood Donation Service, and even the central laundry service for the Munich hospitals were merged. With 3,800 beds, 230 day clinics, and 9,000 employees, it is the largest provider of health services in the south of Germany. Almost one-third of all patients in the Munich area are treated and looked after through the Municipal Hospital Munich GmbH. The Munich-Schwabing Hospital on its own is the largest hospital in the Bavarian capital with 1,253 beds, 26 specialist wards, and currently 2,900 employees. It is an academic, teaching hospital affiliated to the Ludwig- Maximilian-University and is run in close collaboration with the ISAR hospital and the Technical University of Munich, which runs the pediatric hospital.

About CEMA CEMA is a specialist in IT and network solutions as well as ASP and is based in Mannheim, Frankfurt a. M., Berlin and Munchen. Since CEMA was founded in 1990 it has been working in consulting, conception and implementation and in the operation of IT projects and services, with the emphasis on innovation, practice orientation and economic viability. This IT knowledge lead is an advantage for the customers with consulting, conception, conversion and enterprise of IT projects. The service and support concept of CEMA extends from a 24x7 helpdesk and individual training to complete IT outsourcing. Whether customers realize IT needs with market-well-known standards or with individual special solutions, CEMA always pays attention to a healthy balance between technology, organization and economy. As a partner with numerous certifications and authorizations from the most important vendors, CEMA has direct access to support and specialist knowledge.

About DataCore Software DataCore Software fundamentally changes the economics of managing storage. DataCore's disk server software easily adds capacity expansion and centralized storage management for Windows, UNIX, Linux, VMware, MacOS, and NetWare systems. DataCore is privately held with corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information, visit http://www.datacore.com. DataCore, the DataCore logo, SANsymphony, SANmelody, SANmaestro, SANmotion and Powered by DataCore are trademarks or registered trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. Other DataCore product or service names or logos referenced herein are trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. All other products, services and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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OK now, this is REALLY not FOSS jimf 1 509 Jul 11, 2006 5:55 PM

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