In health care what does one do when faced with growing storage requirements, shrinking budgets, and limited staff resources? One sits down and develops a comprehensive strategy to minimize the risks.
At my new position I am faced with these opportunities (sorry been hanging out with too many project managers) here is a rough outline of my thoughts.
1. Image Archival - implementation of an image archival solution that will integrate with our current EMR will allow us to remove the copious amounts of PACS images to a HIPAA compliant, redundant storage system. This will free up space on our primary SAN empowering a move towards virtualization.
2. Backup - implementing a new backup system such as EMC's Avamar, CommVault, or HP's solution for backup will eliminate the daily struggle with DPM, reduce the across the wire backup traffic, and ensure the long term availability of disk to disk backups. Additional benefits are de-duplication (reduced backup sizes) and no tape backups or management.
3. DR - Disaster recovery is critical in health care. The ability to quickly fail over and restore clinical systems is mandatory. VMWare Site Recovery manager will allow us little downtime in the case of catastrophic Data Center failure or network failure. Combined with vmdk backups we will quickly be able to restore server systems and applications. (network also needs to be addressed)
4. Virtual Infrastructure - The move towards Virtualization has begun. The reduction of server sprawl and consolidation of infrastructure is the future. A very conservative beginning will get us 60-70 servers on 8 HP blades in a C-7000 enclosure with another duplicate enclosure at our DR site. The amount of savings in hardware, electric, and cooling will be considerable.
5. Virtual Clinical Workstations - Once the archival, backup, DR, and virtual infrastructure is in place it will be time to plan a VCW solution. VCW will provide a multitude of benefits for our organization. See my earlier post for some general thoughts, there will definitely be more on this in the future.