– Written by Troy Brick-Margelofsky and Stephan Stelter. 

It seems like every year the data center conversation turns more and more around the need for IT simplification. Terms such as “data center modernization,” “digital transformation,” “private cloud,” “public cloud,” “hybrid cloud,” “automation” and “orchestration” hold the promise of a simpler, more efficient infrastructure. However, instead of simplification, the data center landscape is becoming more complex and more confusing due to the variety of options available.

After all the buzzwords are stripped away, data center infrastructure should be:

  • Fully supported by healthcare application providers like Epic and Meditech
  • Easy to deploy
  • Simple to manage
  • Adaptable to multiple workloads
  • Trivial to scale
  • Secure
  • Flexible
  • Cloud connected

Simpler Architecture for Today’s Workloads

But how do healthcare organizations determine which of the above attributes are most important – how should they be stack ranked? Organizations need to take an inventory of their human capital in IT. What skills do their staff have and what does their organization need to develop? Many in healthcare are realigning existing resources to software development to refine the patient experience. As such, infrastructure needs to be even easier to deploy, upgrade and ultimately manage.

While the goal for many development teams is new applications that utilize the most modern development methodologies, the reality is that many teams support existing, legacy applications. These applications still run in a traditional model due to budget constraints, inter-system dependencies and, more often than not, culture.

What if your organization could leverage a proven, pretested, prevalidated architecture that:

  • Supports existing applications
  • Is API friendly
  • Protects multiple workloads from each other
  • Connects to clouds to leverage their capabilities and benefits
  • Is proven to have predictable performance, reliability, scalability and supportability in healthcare environments

Updating Infrastructure with FlexPod

NetApp delivers exactly this architecture jointly with Cisco in the form of FlexPod: the fast-growing and widely adopted converged infrastructure platform. FlexPod is not a new offering but an eight-year proven infrastructure concept utilizing industry-leading compute, network and storage technologies from Cisco (UCS/Nexus) and NetApp (ONTAP-based storage).

The more than 140 available FlexPod solution designs are the result of thousands of hours of Cisco and NetApp engineering investment. The solutions are called Cisco Validated Designs (CVD) and are the design and deployment “recipes” for the most common data center architectures that support mixed workloads on the same hardware. There are even CVDs for Epic and Meditech.

These solutions can be scaled easily and cost-effectively without downtime. They can also be easily incorporated into workflows with leading automation and orchestration solutions such as Cisco UCS Director. And workloads can be isolated and protected from one another using storage quality of service. Finally, these solutions can leverage cloud resources from the major cloud providers through replication and automated storage tiering.

As healthcare organizations increasingly look for ways to modernize not only their application development process but their entire IT organization, they need to take a hard look at data center infrastructure. The real value of the infrastructure is not just having the newest, shiniest widget to run applications or to store petabytes of data. The value is in how to exploit that data to make the best decisions possible for your business in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible. As you modernize your healthcare IT infrastructure, keep FlexPod on the short-list of technologies to evaluate.

Learn more about CDW and NetApp’s partnership and discover you FlexPod might benefit you.

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