IBM Partner Puts Big Data To Work At Seattle Children's Hospital


Brightlight's expertise is business intelligence and data warehouse solutions, especially for health care, retail and digital media companies. The company works with a broad range of platforms (IBM, Oracle, Teradata, Microsoft, SAP/Business Objects and EMC/Greenplum) and technology (MicroStrategy, Tableau, Information Builders and ParAccel) vendors, as well as major solution providers and systems integrators such as Sirius Computer Solutions and Ascendant Technology, among others.

Overcash described IBM as Brightlight's "deepest competency," noting that the solution provider was working with Netezza, a developer of data warehouse appliances, before IBM acquired it in September 2010 for $1.7 billion. Along with consulting and managed services, Brightlight developed a number of its own technologies around the Netezza system, including the nzDIF data integration framework software and nzExpress deployment and systems management offerings.

The Netezza system is the core of the PureData System for Analytics IBM launched last year. The PureSystems line, which IBM debuted in April 2012, is the vendor's entry into the booming converged infrastructure market. Earlier this year IBM said it sold 2,300 PureSystems in 2012.

The PureData System for Analytics is a key element of the Seattle Children's Hospital project, according to Overcash. "We literally do 100 percent of the data processing on the PureData box," he said. "None of the other technologies can compete on that side of the equation."

Nightly processing tasks that used to take eight hours are now down to two, he said, with some analytical queries that took all night now performed in 10 minutes. And more routine queries that took minutes now take seconds.

Another selling point of the PureData system is the appliance model upon which it's developed, Overcash said, making it relatively simple for the hospital's data analysis team to operate it without a lot of involvement from the health-care facility's IT department.

All but four or five of the 30 Windows servers that had been running the business analytics system were replaced with the one IBM system, providing a significant return-on-investment on the infrastructure change alone, Overcash said. "That made it a no-brainer for the [hospital] CIO." That's before taking into consideration the benefits for the analytical team, such as the ease of adding new analysis projects to the system's scheduled tasks, he added.

Overcash said Brightlight is seeing demand for the PureData Systems because of its power for analytical processing. The solution provider is seeing demand for the PureSystems line overall because converged infrastructure systems are "changing the dialogue" solution providers have with CIOs who are trying to get control of their proliferating IT infrastructure so they can focus on higher-level services.

PUBLISHED JUNE 10, 2013