A national nonprofit health system was seeking reduced costs and improved efficiencies through a standardization of their systems infrastructure. Their existing systems were spread across over 100+ locations and the same number of infrastructure strategies.
Multiple partner vendors had been talking to the health system about how their single solutions could fit their needs. They were inundated with recommendations that converged, hyper-converged, or software-defined infrastructure solutions would help them reduce costs and improve efficiency, but exactly how these different solutions would do so — and in what ways they would do so differently — was still unclear.
The healthcare system had no objective way to spin up, test, compare and evaluate the four vendor solutions they were presented with, so they turned to us as a capable and knowledgeable third party to help them evaluate and select the infrastructure solution that would fit best in their organization and meet their business needs.
The health system had selected four vendor solutions to assess: HP CS700, Vblock 540, SimpliVity and EMC ScaleIO. After a number of tech briefings and workshops to understand the health system’s infrastructure requirements and proposed solutions, we helped them navigate and evaluate the initial standup of each technology through a proof of concept (POC) in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC).
To provide realistic loads and data for testing, we created a number of custom workloads to stress test the infrastructure system, including VMs to simulate VDI, database and file server workloads. Once we finished creating a full-scale, “apples-to-apples” testing environment, we began testing each vendor’s compute, storage, network and system monitoring capabilities. We spun up the viewing portals for each solution, so the health system could clearly see what happens inside each infrastructure when various stressors are applied to the system.
The health system also required the infrastructure must be a “single unit” solution capable of sustaining itself for 10 minutes should someone inadvertently unplug something they shouldn’t. We helped them understand their options when it came to the hardware investments given the different solution providers, and how to ensure that their backup power needs would be provided for in the underlying solutions.
The health system was able to complete its exploration and testing, and is now in the final selection phases of their upgrade. By using hardware and provisioning capabilities we already had, we were able to spin up multiple technology solutions for the health system to explore, test and evaluate in a quick, cost-effective way.
We were able to create an environment in which each vendor was able to show their solutions’ full capabilities, and our customer was able to determine which solution was the best fit.
By providing a lab environment and assistance in the health system’s testing and evaluation, we were able to help them be more confident in their decisions going forward and reduce the overall risk of going with one vendor without fully exploring the possibilities for their infrastructure.