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World Wide Technology, a solution provider and early adopter of Cisco's UCS technology, put its experience to good use in a deployment to help a radiology services provider store and migrate about 10,000 radiological images a day.
Working with Cisco, VMware, and NetApp, St. Louis-based World Wide Technology built a complete virtual data center infrastructure in only 30 days, making it possible for NightHawk Radiology Services to not only manage its existing customer base, but also prepare for an expansion of its services offerings to a completely new set of customers.
That infrastructure was built around Cisco's Unified Computing System, or UCS, which combines networking, blade servers, storage, core switching, routing, security, and voice over IP (VoIP) into a single architecture.
NightHawk Radiology Services is a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based provider of radiology interpretation services to about 780 radiology providers serving about 1,600 hospitals around the country.
The company provides over 3 million radiological studies each year. Each study consists of a hospital or imaging center sending its radiological images to NightHawk, which then forwards them to one of its team of radiologists who interpret the results for the clients.
Each image averages between 30 MBs and 50 MBs in size, meaning that NightHawk needs to be able to handle the receipt of 500 GBs of data each day, and forward about as much data to radiologists around the world to do the interpretations, said Ken Brande, vice president of IT for the company.
Because NightHawk stores between nine and 12 months worth of data, it requires about 120 TBs of compressed capacity to handle the load, Brande said.
Unfortunately for NightHawk, the company built its infrastructure too quickly, with little thought paid to a common architecture, Brande said.
"We deployed technology as needed," he said. "Our customers are mainly domestic, but our radiologists follow the Sun, and include members in places like Sydney and Zurich. So we had a wide range of server rooms, different power requirements, and different ways of error handling. That lead to service problems. In a remote office, using a toaster might crash a server."
NightHawk had a colocation facility in Chicago which housed most of its old technology, but had no room to expand. As a result, many of its servers were deployed in remote locations, Brande said. So the company opened a new facility in Phoenix and decided to implement a virtualized environment for the flexibility and the ability to control costs, he said.