Building a Cure for the Next-Generation Data Center

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1 HP Tech Dossier Focus: Healthcare Building a Cure for the Next-Generation Data Center Open, standards-based architectures help healthcare IT organizations deliver mission-critical services.

2 2 HP Tech Dossier: healthcare Healthcare organizations are in the midst of an exciting era. New real-time clinical applications that could positively impact the outcome of patient care are being developed and deployed, health records are being digitized to improve the accuracy and speed of patient care, and medical workers around the globe are collaborating via video and audio conferencing to uncover cures for the most vexing diseases. Healthcare organizations are going to want to choose bestof-breed solutions as they go forward. Zeus Kerravala, Yankee Group However, some hospitals, ambulatory care facilities and other partners in the healthcare ecosystem will find it difficult to support such advances and keep costs in line because of the constraints of their proprietary data center infrastructure. Their legacy switches and routers will force them to manage separate wired and wireless networks, introducing complexity and a lack of flexibility. The reason: Their infrastructure is plagued with complicated architectures, expensive licensing fees and archaic protocols that require segmented management tools and unsustainable staffing levels. In other words, proprietary networks are too costly and complex to allow healthcare organizations to roll out promising new applications. Healthcare organizations that want to thrive in this modern era of real-time medicine, global collaboration and electronic health records (EHR) without breaking the bank must adopt a converged next-generation data center architecture built on open standards, according to Zeus Kerravala, distinguished research fellow at the Yankee Group in Boston, USA. Healthcare organizations are going to want to choose best-of-breed solutions as they go forward. Proprietary solutions can limit such choice and that, eventually, will limit functionality. They need a flexible, scalable, open architecture that will give them options and interoperate with other vendors products, Kerravala says. Such an innovative and open switching infrastructure ensures that healthcare organizations can be nimble and handle the bandwidth, performance, security and compliance demands of the modern data center. With a flexible, standards-based platform, businesses can operate a single, converged network that makes

3 3 HP Tech Dossier: healthcare FlexFabric allows IT teams to provision network resources efficiently and securely to accelerate the deployment of virtualized workloads. deployment and management of real-time applications a fast, simple and cost-efficient task. Healthcare s Infrastructure Challenge All of the applications mentioned above real-time clinical diagnostic tools, high resolution digital imaging, EHR and global collaboration present incredible opportunities for healthcare organizations to significantly enhance patient care and add value back to the organization. However, that potential could be lost if the underlying architecture used to support them is too restrictive, according to Kerravala. Through the years, healthcare has relied on proprietary architecture because, in a culture that is incredibly risk averse, it seemed like a safe bet. Networks were segmented to ensure security and performance. This was sufficient when data centers were smaller and applications were limited in number and less resource-intensive. But in more recent years, the size of the data center has grown tremendously. This leaves healthcare organizations that have proprietary platforms locked in to expensive service and licensing contracts, in addition to begging for more resources to add switches, storage, servers and staff in order to handle the increased load. Many data centers feature elaborate layers and multiple platforms strung together that are the very definition of costly and complex. And while the network is growing, organizations are demanding that IT consolidate data centers using strategies such as virtualization and cloud computing to save money, increase energy efficiency and reduce headcount. Because proprietary solutions aren t easily integrated, taking advantage of cost- and power-saving initiatives such as virtual server and storage environments and cloud computing might be cumbersome if not off the table altogether, says Philippe Michelet, distinguished architect for Data Center and Core Switching in HP s Advanced Technology Group. Another obstacle is the growing number of wireless devices that are coming online in most healthcare organizations. Many proprietary solutions require IT to run wired and wireless networks separately. As wireless device usage has risen, so has the burden on IT to maintain disparate infrastructures. The management of wired and wireless networks in a proprietary architecture is often decentralized, leaving IT to deploy, secure, configure, patch and update each switch individually. According to Kerravala, one-third of network downtime is caused by human errors that occur in routine maintenance, such as configurations and updates. In addition, IT is left to manage multiple management consoles in what Kerravala calls swivel chair management. IT staff has to turn their chair back and forth between panels to see events happening and then try to correlate them in their head. Proprietary solutions leave no opportunity to integrate a third-party tool to manage everything together, he says. Finally, a legacy architecture, which keeps technology in silos, makes it incredibly challenging for organizations to meet the numerous regulatory and compliance demands that exist today in the industry and in certain geographic regions. In some instances, the IT group might have to create workarounds that aggregate information from all the network and security logs to generate a report for auditors. Not addressing these mandates could result in a security breach, fines such as those dictated by the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or a loss in patient confidence. The Need for HP Converged Infrastructure and FlexFabric Architecture Healthcare organizations that want to reap the rewards of next-generation applications and collaboration need a next-generation data center architecture that is open, flexible and agile. This standardized platform should enable IT to avoid vendor lock-in and choose best-of-breed products that suit the organization s requirements and environment. IT should also be able to manage and audit these devices from a central console, Kerravala says. The HP Converged Infrastructure is designed to

4 4 HP Tech Dossier: healthcare HP s comprehensive portfolio of healthcare solutions includes desktop, server, storage and mobile device hardware, software and services. HP also provides customers with access to a global multivendor network of more than 5,000 experts. 1 Info-Tech, Analyzing the Hard Numbers for Your Campus LAN: A Total Cost of Ownership Comparison. October help healthcare organizations cost-effectively and securely reach these goals. With HP networking solutions as a cornerstone, the HP Converged Infrastructure delivers an architectural blueprint that integrates servers, storage and networking, which eliminates technology silos and frees up resources for more business innovation. Central to HP s design for an agile network infrastructure is the FlexFabric architecture. FlexFabric allows IT teams to provision network resources efficiently and securely to accelerate the deployment of virtualized workloads. It combines intelligence at the server edge with a focus on centrally managed connection policy management to enable virtualization-aware networking and security and predictable performance. A standards-based switching architecture enables IT to easily consolidate and scale data centers without jeopardizing patient care or data security. HP s portfolio of core-to-edge switches are purpose-built to handle the rigors of real-time, global healthcare applications; deliver significantly more performance than proprietary solutions; and consume far less energy. The open nature of the switches ensures there is no vendor lock-in, and they are interoperable with other solutions. Using centralized management tools, IT can manage the data center environment through a single pane of glass. All told, the HP Converged Infrastructure s data center offerings lower total cost of ownership by as much as 40 percent. 1 IT can unify management of the organization s wired and wireless networks and develop, deploy, enforce and audit security policies across the enterprise from the HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC). Using a combination of network access control, user authentication and devicelevel management, the IMC ensures that patient privacy and corporate assets are protected and that compliance demands are met across all enterprise access points. For instance, IT can set rules that dictate data must be encrypted on certain mobile devices and that a device should be wiped clean remotely if it is lost or stolen. HP s FlexFabric architecture also simplifies the role of IT by flattening out network designs and utilizing virtualization technology. IT can carry out its consolidation mission by virtualizing its pool of core, aggregation and server edge switches. HP offers a line of virtualization-optimized HP Blade- System-integrated network connectivity devices that reduce the number of server and storage I/O connections needed in the data center, which can realize as much as a 94 percent reduction in cabling. At the same time, the network infrastructure required to connect servers to the LAN is reduced by up to 75 percent, which represents a significant cost savings. Within this comprehensive network environment, healthcare organizations can create a virtual switching fabric that delivers geographic independence, distributed high availability, and resiliency using HP s Intelligent Resilient Framework (IRF). The IRF is built to fail over to other switches in case of an outage or other disaster. Kerravala says this type of resiliency is critical in healthcare where a doctor might be consulting a real-time image to decide how to proceed during surgery. He adds that network downtime cannot be tolerated in such a scenario. With HP s networking solutions, healthcare organizations can design and manage fully virtualized network connections and resources that allow for dynamic provisioning from the edge to the core and support application mobility, enabling connections to move with workloads as they migrate across the fabric. This allows resources to be created, moved and scaled from centralized connection pools on the fly. The FlexFabric architecture also improves data center security. HP s secure architecture provides consistent, unified security across virtualized and physical data center network infrastructures. It features industry-leading TippingPoint vulnerability detection capabilities and intrusion prevention solutions backed by Digital Vaccine Labs. A 2008 Infonetics survey found that 76 percent of customers deploy TippingPoint, which is integrated into the network fabric, in less than two hours

5 5 HP Tech Dossier: healthcare For more information about HP networking solutions visit networking. Click here for more about HP healthcare solutions. and report blocking 2.3 times more threats as compared with the nearest competitive solutions. HP s open infrastructure is also helpful in reducing staffing costs. With no underlying network fragmentation and the use of standard protocols, IT is free from having to add headcount and provide specialized training to handle proprietary products. HP s FlexFabric architecture utilizes the networking skills that IT already has in-house, and the centralized management tools and collapsed architecture reduce the amount of staff needed to maintain the switching environment. IT will notice a boost in switch performance over competing products because of the higher throughput of the tightly integrated, powerful architecture. HP networking switches handle the 10G Ethernet I/O that healthcare organizations are starting to rely on as well as the 40G and 100G Ethernet loads they will inevitably adopt in the near future for resource-intensive applications, such as real-time imaging and diagnostics. The architecture also supports standards that are in the works, such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet. HP s comprehensive portfolio of healthcare solutions includes desktop, server, storage and mobile device hardware, software and services. HP also provides customers with access to a global multivendor network of more than 5,000 experts. Curing Proprietary Network Ills There is little doubt that most healthcare organizations will want to deploy advanced clinical applications, EHR and collaboration tools. Migrating from a proprietary data center architecture to a converged, standards-based platform can ensure success and solid ROI. Despite rolling out some of the most bandwidth- and resource-intensive applications, healthcare organizations will no doubt see a boost in performance and enjoy simplified management. IT will also be able to redeploy staff that has been caught up maintaining sprawling, segmented switch architecture to more strategic and innovative projects. The HP Converged Infrastructure and FlexFabric architecture will let healthcare organizations assure patients, care givers, auditors, and others in the healthcare ecosystem that the network is resilient, compliant and secure.; ADDITIONAL READING Data center upgrades demand attention now To start data center projects in 2011, evaluations need to be completed by this fall s budgeting By Tim Greene, Network World, June 21, 2010 School is out for summer, but it s time for IT executives to hit the books to prepare for a 2011 data center refresh that will deliver cost savings enabled by virtualization and flatter architectures with lower latency. Enterprises need to tap major data center infrastructure vendors, not necessarily to choose one but to hear what they propose and determine how their proposals align with the needs of the company, says Tom Nolle, president of tech consulting firm CIMI Corp. The 2011 data center refresh will be the most complicated thing ever attempted by enterprises, Nolle says. Reading specific proposals from data center vendors is the best way for decision makers to educate themselves about the real architecture issues, he says. So far, education is lacking. Based on CIMI Corp. surveys, general ignorance about data center issues is high. Ideally, technology literacy should be identical whether a business has a related project underway or not, Nolle says. That way, potential customers are informed even if they have no immediate need for the technology. But in the case of data centers, there is a 70% difference in literacy between those who have no ongoing data center projects and those who do, he says. So businesses just beginning to plan data center projects have a steep learning curve, especially if they plan to make a purchase near-term. That means you re flying by the seat of your pants, and the decision-making pro-

6 6 HP Tech Dossier: healthcare Data center upgrades demand attention now continued cess will be stressful, Nolle says. That s a tough position to be in when management is demanding success and ROI. However, the urgency to make decisions may not be as great as Nolle projects, suggests Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with the Yankee Group. Redesigning and building virtualized data centers are major projects that warrant time spent choosing the right alternative. Mainstream adoption might not occur until 2012 or 2013, he says, giving more time for consideration while the technology matures. It needs to be proven that it works, and that s a big leap of faith right now, he says. One indicator of customer commitment to data center upgrades is what they spend on data center switches, says Matthias Machowinski, an analyst with Infonetics. Sales of data center switches worldwide were $3.2 billion in 2009 and are projected to be $3.7 billion this year. The average growth from 2009 to 2014 is expected to be 10% per year. That may not seem like extraordinary growth, but during the same time period, the price of 10Gbps ports are expected to drop, so total revenue growth registers a lower rate than growth in numbers of ports, Machowinski says. Infonetics projects 8 million 10Gbps ports will ship in 2010 and 14 million in Regardless, the technology is complicated and vendor offerings are different enough to make decisions challenging. Kerravala says the choices vendors offer are more different vendor-to-vendor than they have been for past technologies. It s unlike what networking has been for a long while Cisco led and others were either cheaper or faster, he says. Data center differentiators The latest player to articulate its data center plans is Enterasys, which hangs its strategy on well-known partners, but anchors it on its own switches and the ability to manage based on preset policies. This means it relies on interoperability with virtualization software from vendors including Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, as well as server and storage vendors including Dell, HP and IBM. With input gathered from these other vendors, Enterasys will support visibility into data center functions as well as set automated policies. These policies can allocate better access to priority applications as determined by business needs. The plan was outlined this week and will be fleshed out over the coming months, including the specifics of the partnerships that will make it fly, the company says. Key to the Enterasys architecture is the ability of its S-series switches to authenticate applications and apply policies to them regardless of the port they connect to. These policies can include factors such as QoS, bandwidth and access control. Brocade s approach, called Brocade One, relies on a virtual access layer (VAL) that links typical data center resources where they reside via software rather than via physical deployment and proximity. VAL imposes QoS policies. A second component is called virtual cluster switching (VCS), which enables managing the virtual switch as a single logical Ethernet multipath switch that is lossless and low-latency. The goal is to support IEEE standards for virtual bridging. As virtual machine topologies form to meet demand, VCS makes sure that each VM gets the appropriate port profile regardless of where the VM is located. Brocade hardware announced this month relies on a new operating system called Brocade Network OS (BNOS), which can converge fibre channel and IP onto a Linux core. Meanwhile, Cisco, HP and Juniper all announced their strategies earlier, but each has its own variations. Cisco s Unified Computing System (UCS) creates a well-integrated environment of virtual servers, storage, applications and networking with some reliance on support from vendors including EMC, Microsoft, VMware and Novell. UCS relies on a data center fabric that can handle storage-area networks, network-attached storage and iscsi, creating opportunities to save costs by reducing provisioning time, more efficient management and reduced power costs. Cisco plans to sell UCS as a system, locking customers in to the vendor for more of their data center infrastructure. That may not be as much of a concern as it has been in the past, Nolle says, based on recent surveys by his company. Enterprises are less interested in best-of-breed than they used to be, he says. They re more interested in having a single point of contact. The reason for the mindset change is that despite black-box performance testing of individual devices, the performance differences in the real world are not noticeable, he says. The bigger draw for customers is if a vendor addresses high-level architectural issues effectively, he says. Juniper has also been in the data center game for a while and in February announced its Stratus project with other vendors to blend management, storage, computing, switching, networking and appliances. The company is focused on cutting latency tenfold, boosting reliability and beefing up virtual security. HP, with its purchase of 3Com, has many of the elements needed to upgrade data centers, Kerravala notes. With its roots in Asian markets, the company can be expected to develop its own technologies rapidly as needed and at a low price, he says. There are enough differences among the different strategies that no enterprise should just go along with its current data center vendor s recommendations without looking around, Kerravala says. In evaluating vendors, the major issues decision-makers should address include: How does cloud/virtualization fit in? What are the effects on operational costs and support? How significant is real-time communications within the data center? How compatible is the data center with a multivendor environment? No vendor has all the elements -- servers, networking gear, storage networking, storage, a virtualization platform, Kerravala says. No single vendor has that. ;

7 7 HP Tech Dossier: healthcare ADDITIONAL READING IT execs release guidebook on e-health records implementation Nearly 170 technologists offered their insights for the guidebook By Lucas Mearian, Computerworld, August 20, 2010 The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) on Friday released a guidebook to help health-care CIOs with the implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) so they can meet the government s so called meaningful use in order to receive reimbursement funds. The publication, The CIO s Guide to Implementing EHRs in the HITECH Era, includes best practices and steps health-care organizations should take to successfully implement EMRs, from the initial planning through the final documentation of results. The 80-page guidebook is available free to the public and can be downloaded here. According to CHIME, the research for the booklet involved almost 170 of its members, who offered information based on their own experiences in planning and implementing EMRs. As the nation s leading professional organization for healthcare IT executives, we felt it was important to gather the collective wisdom of our members and produce a guide that could help the nation s providers through the next few years, said CHIME Board President Timothy Stettheimer. CHIME said the guidebook came out of an earlier collaborative effort it had undertaken with the American Hospital Association. The two groups worked together to create the Healthcare Leader Action Guide on Implementing Electronic Health Records. CHIME said the new guide is a companion piece that focuses on the challenges facing CIOs and senior health-care IT leaders. The guide provides just a sample of the experience that CHIME s members have in implementing these complex systems, Stettheimer added. CHIME offers a variety of professional and educational support to its members, which is crucial to IT executives embarking on the EHR journey. ;

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