Healthcare Firm Combines Data Centers

Care New England embarks on major data center consolidation project

March 24, 2004

2 Min Read
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Care New England, one of the largest healthcare providers in Rhode Island, will soon embark on a major data center consolidation project that has been almost three years in the making.

Three data centers in separate hospital locations currently provide the processing power for the organization. In May, these will be consolidated onto a single site in Warwick, 10 miles south of Providence.

A massive team of people are working to ensure that all goes to plan with the scheme, which is expected to be completed in August. Howard Rubin, director of IS technical services at Care New England, says, There’s a lot of other very large projects going on at the moment, but I have a huge team working on this.”

This numbers some 200 people, including internal IT staff, Care New England end users, and vendors. And Rubin admits that any scheme on this scale is stressful: “I will sleep a lot better in September.

“It’s not easy to move three data centers for hospitals -- it’s a question of moving the systems without interrupting the service.”Two storage area networks (SANs) will be used to mirror data to the new site. Rubin says, “This allows us to more quickly and safely migrate the systems.”

SSL VPNs from Nortel Networks Corp. will play a part in ensuring business continuity. “We have two redundant SSL VPN boxes. One will be moved to the new data center to ensure connectivity, and the other one will stay at the original site until we have completed the move.”

Care New England is also using the scheme as an opportunity to upgrade technology from its primary suppliers -- IBM Corp. and Nortel. As well as implementing a Fibre Array Storage Technology SAN and new pSeries Unix boxes from IBM, the organization will use a Sonet ring from Nortel to link its three main hospitals to the data center.

Nortel will also provide a new IP phone system for the data center, along with new LAN switching gear.

Rubin wasn't able to put a figure on financial benefits of consolidating the data centers, but he foresees a number of efficiency gains, including better deployment of IT staff.“Instead of having to maintain three facilities, I will only have to maintain one. Staff will be deployed onto other Care New England projects rather than simply the data center."

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum

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