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Hospital Attaches LeftHand

When Denver Health started running out of storage space a couple of years ago, hospital CTO Jeff Pelot didn't go for tried and tested brand names. Instead, he set his sights on LeftHand Networks' virtual IP SANs, which at the time were barely even prototypes.

Pelot says he stumbled on LeftHand by accident. He was having lunch with a former employee about two and a half years ago, when she started talking about her new job in brand-spanking-new startup LeftHand. "She told me about the product, and I was intrigued," he says. "I thought, 'Oh man, this could really answer some of our problems.' "

At the time, Denver Health (formerly called Denver General) didn't have any networked storage -- it was storing all of its data on direct-attached storage and servers' internal disk storage. The hospital's data, from emails to highly sensitive records for its more than 1.2 million patients, was stored in the data center. With the amount of stored data growing at more than 30 percent a year, the hospital's storage needs were rapidly outgrowing its existing infrastructure. In addition, Pelot worried that a single natural disaster, like a flood, could wipe out all the hospital's stored data, since it was all located in the data center in the basement.

Trawling the industry for the best way to get out of the fix, Pelot looked at equipment from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), but when he saw LeftHand's prototype for its Network Storage Module (NSM) hardware running its Linux-based Distributed Storage Matrix (DSM) software, it was love at first sight. Pelot says he especially liked that the boxes could be distributed anywhere in the network and still look -- and be managed -- as if they were a single SAN.

"It's disaster-proof," he says. "And its interface is almost intuitive."

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