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Liverpool Hospital Goes Virtual

The Liverpool Women's Hospital in northern England expects to shave at least $1 million off its IT costs over the next few years thanks to an ambitious virtualization project.

The hospital, which serves women in England's fifth largest city, started work on a major overhaul of its aging server and storage infrastructure last year in an attempt to streamline its IT spending and boost efficiency.

Virtualization has already been extended to key clinical applications such as patient records and medical imaging, and the hospital is now considering whether to virtualize the applications supporting its systems for baby tagging and staff badges.

Back in 2004, the hospital appointed Zafar Chaudry as IT director to sort out its antiquated hardware. At that time, the organization relied on five HP and Compaq servers and a Compaq SAN. "The servers were very old and a lot of them had very expensive service costs," explained Chaudry, adding that the SAN was even more problematic. "It was more or less broken -- I had the hardest time getting parts for it," he says.

This infrastructure could only deliver about 92 percent uptime, according to Chaudry. "I sit across the hallway from my chief executive, so when email went down, I was right in the firing line," he explains.

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