The actual UHC system comprised of three components; StorageTek FLX280 to store data gathered from member hospitals, Microsoft® SQL Server as the primary database application, and 180 servers – out of which 25 percent were virtualized with VMware ESX.
Back in 2007, UHC network administrators acknowledged a strain on disk input/output (I/O), caused by detail level data mining and complex queries spanning multiple years. As the workload increased, their response times gradually decreased for members-facing reporting. While the frequent unplanned outages were observed, administrators realized that the UHC database size had been doubling every two years.
In this video: Steven Carlberg, Manager of Infrastructure at UHC.
Steven is responsible for the technology supporting the collection of data from academic medical centers in North America that is used for comparative studies. He is responsible for technologies like data center, servers, storage and networking components, as well as the support personnel. (0:51)
(interviewed in February, 2011)
UHC’s goals for system overhaul included:
Don Naglich, UHC Director of technology infrastructure, and Steven Carlberg led a rigorous search process, which included exploring solutions from EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, and IBM.
After three months of exhaustive research, site visits, and interviews with current clients of each provider, Naglich and Carlberg narrowed down the contenders to HP and Hitachi Data Systems. Though solutions offered by both companies appealed to UHC due to their capability for tiered storage through virtualization, UHC chose Hitachi Data Systems as they offered a superior service model with a key provision. Carlberg stated that Hitachi Data Systems was the only vendor out of all the contenders to put their uptime guarantee in writing. This assurance and excellent customer service response time distinguished HDS from other competitors under consideration.
Carlberg informed that one of the initial challenges was migrating from their existing storage vendor to the new HDS system, without disrupting the day-to-day operations of the legacy system. Besides, it was required for UHC team to learn operating the new equipment, and seamlessly transition between technologies.
In this video: Carlberg discusses UHC’s vendor selection process to meet UHC’s needs successfully. (0:49)
University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC)
Alliance of academic medical centers and their affiliated hospitals
Products & Services:
Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V, Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning software
Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)