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The Migration to Nutanix HCI is Simple—Even with Slim Resources

Today’s healthcare organizations must deal with IT initiatives like digital transformation, while still delivering better patient outcomes. They must also protect the investments their communities have made in them by cutting the costs of IT infrastructure. Cloud-based solutions for infrastructure are changing the traditional dynamic between healthcare providers and IT with consolidation, simplification, and cost reduction.

Healthcare organizations routinely operate in a cost-constrained environment, but the cloud isn’t necessarily cheaper than on-premises infrastructure for all applications. The primary advantage of public cloud over other architectural options is its greater agility and flexibility. Hospitals are typically reluctant to make sudden changes to their infrastructure, and the cloud allows them to consolidate infrastructure on a piecemeal basis.

Healthcare IT teams that struggle with limited resources and ever-changing competing priorities can benefit from upgrading their infrastructure to Nutanix HCI to support their increasingly digital environment. Nutanix HCI brings storage, compute, virtualization and networking capabilities together in a centrally managed hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

Traditional Infrastructure Lacks the Scalability of Nutanix HCI

What is hyperconverged infrastructure? HCI is an infrastructure defined by software that virtualizes all elements of a traditional hardware-defined infrastructure. Its minimum components include a hypervisor, software defined networking (SDN) and software defined storage (SDS). The primary difference between HCI and converge infrastructure is that HCI virtualizes both the storage area network and its underlying abstractions whereas converge infrastructure only virtualizes one of these components. The implementation of these software-defined elements allows resources to be shared across all instances of an HCI.

Hyperconvergence departs from the discrete systems defined by hardware and moves towards a purely software-defined environment. It typically runs all of its components on a commercial, off-the-shelf server, with a hypervisor managing those components. The physical data center’s resources all reside on a single platform for both hardware and software architectural layers. Consolidation of these HCI elements and shared resource management eliminates inefficiencies that often exist in physical data centers, thus reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of infrastructure.

HCI provides a simple path to upgrading infrastructure that isn’t resource-intensive. It’s particularly beneficial for organizations with limited resources that want to migrate from legacy IT to the cloud, integrate siloed platforms or scale their data storage capability.

Real-World Use Cases of Nutanix HCI

Real-world scenarios in healthcare that Nutanix HCI helps with include migration, virtualized workloads and data storage.

Migration to Future-Focused Infrastructure

Nutanix supports the migration of infrastructure with minimal reliance on internal resources. Managed IT providers like Comport handle all steps in this process, including environmental analysis, strategy development and deployment. They also provide software and form 1:1 relationships with the client for continual optimization of IT environments.

Handling Virtualized Workloads with Speed

Nutanix HCI’s virtual environment offers benefits such as greater security, reduced latency, real-time streaming data and scalable databases.

Enhanced Security with DR Capabilities

The enhanced security of Nutanix HCI is due to its disaster recovery. This capability is particularly important for healthcare facilities, as the improvement in data security helps ensure continuous business operations. Nutanix HCI is also more robust because it’s designed for hybrid clouds, which aids in the prevention and detection of security threats.

Latency Reduction by Minimizing Data

Latency is an especially important design consideration for Internet of Medical Things (IMoT) due to the quantity of data it requires cloud data centers to process, analyze and filter. The use of IMoT is increasing rapidly with an estimated 50.1 billion devices available in 2020, 30.7% of them in healthcare.

HCI reduces latency with a hybrid approach that uses reinforcement learning and fuzzy logic to integrate IMoT devices into the cloud, a technique known as the Fuzzy Reinforcement Learning Data Packet Allocation (FRLDPA) algorithm. This algorithm processes IMoT in batches, providing the capability of automating reasoning and decision-making in edge nodes. This approach reduces latency by minimizing the data that needs to be transmitted to a data center for additional processing.

Real-Time Data Streaming

Scientific applications in healthcare often deploy many interconnected sensors that monitor a subject’s health status. The data these sensors collect must be processed in real time, requiring a cloud platform with a highly elastic scaling capacity to support this type of real-time streaming operations. An adaptive MapReduce framework at the task level is one solution to this problem, which creates each Map and Reduce task as a consistent running loop daemon. The advantage of this approach is that scaling occurs at the task level instead of the node level, which supports data streaming applications.

Database Scalability to Manage Unprecedented Volumes

Healthcare organizations must process unprecedented volumes of data due to factors such as increasing regulation, an aging population and more simultaneous user requests. The latest technologies from companies like Intel, InterSystems and VMware offer the possibility of significant improvements in database scalability for workloads that reflect real-work workloads in healthcare operating environments. The Intel Xeon E7 v3 family of processors provides the foundation for large healthcare systems to implement and optimize solutions that address their customers’ requirements by leveraging the scalability of these platforms.

Potential for More Efficient Data Storage

HCI provides greater data storage at a reduced cost by deduplicating data before compressing it for storage. It also keeps IT administrators in control of storage while reducing the staff members needed to manage data by keeping the entire infrastructure in one location. The advantages of this approach also include fewer user errors, greater visibility over processes and stronger security. However, the decision to resolve data storage issues by migrating to HCI requires an organization to understand factors such as its expected growth, ability of current applications to support HCI and whether it can make the transition by itself.

Case Study: Delaware Valley Community Health Migrates to Nutanix

This case study describes the efforts of Delaware Valley Community Health (DVCH), a federal health center for primary care, to improve its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Comport and Nutanix were partners in this endeavor to maximize the number of patients that DVCH could service each day.

The initial investigation of DVCH’s existing information system identified several challenges that were generally caused by overburdened servers. For example, it took hours to backup and recover data, resulting in increased downtime. It also required providers and staff almost three minutes to log into DVCH’s system, which took time away from patient encounters. Similarly, prescription processing took up to five minutes.

Chief Information Officer (CIO) Isaiah Nathaniel began exploring solutions to address these issues and prepare DVCH for future needs, especially COVID vaccine administration. Nathaniel considered several possible solutions and ultimately selected Nutanix for its scalability and seamless integration. Comport’s contributions included its expertise in implementing managed services and networking infrastructure for healthcare organizations. Nutanix Move allowed Nathaniel to migrate DVCH’s infrastructure from the existing servers to new clusters in only seven hours over a weekend, ensuring continuity of care for its 74,000 patients. Comport also provided a comprehensive network assessment and site plan that increased bandwidth to the necessary levels by using an Aruba network.

One of the most notable improvements resulting from the transition to Nutanix is that it provides DVCH with the agility it needs to meet increased demands caused by COVID. They were able to transition three-fourths of their workforce to remote offices in only one week, and implemented a fully functional and compliance system for telehealth visits. The transition to Nutanix also included a great reduction in backup and recovery times, providing better protection against cyberattacks.

In addition, average login times dropped by 98 seconds, which will save about 1,850 hours per year. Furthermore, the prescription submittal process decreased to about 15 seconds, allowing DVCH to increase the number of patients it services each day by expediting their treatments. Read the full case study here.

Get Started with Nutanix HCI by Requesting a Cloud Readiness Assessment

Cloud computing offers healthcare organizations significant opportunities to improve efficiency, increase productivity and reduce IT costs. Selecting the best cloud offering for your needs can be a daunting task, but our Cloud Readiness Assessment will help you make this decision based on your applications and workloads.

Comport has more than 30 years of experience helping hospitals and healthcare systems upgrade their IT environments. Our certified technology consultants can help your team take the next step forward based on your applications and workloads. Request a Cloud Readiness Assessment to get started.

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