Healthcare Provider Saves 62% on SAN Upgrade, Gets 92% More IOPS
Business is booming for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions, a Managed Care Organization (MCO) located in North Carolina. Cardinal Innovations manages Medicaid, state, and local funding for behavioral health services across a 16 county service area in the Tar Heel state, covering 2.4 million individuals and more than 1,000 service providers.
But healthcare is a rapidly changing industry these days with medical reform coming. “With additional growth a possibility,” said Chad Currier, Technology Infrastructure Director at Cardinal, “we need to improve IT efficiency so we can adapt quickly and grow cost effectively.”
Explosive Growth in Business
Cardinal relies on a home-grown claims processing application built on Microsoft .NET. The company has a four hour window every night to process all claims, and with the expected rise in claims, they would have outgrown their existing storage infrastructure. Cardinal routinely meets their SLAs to process their current claims volume, but constantly monitors the processing window against expected growth. “There’s a good chance that the number of transactions I need to process will grow by more than 2/3 in the coming months as we scale up” stated Currier. “Processing all of those additional claims in the same window is going to be tight, and buying more and more storage hardware is expensive.”
In addition, Cardinal is setting up a service center to enable other MCOs to utilize their claims processing application and capacity. “I need to be able to setup a new instance essentially on-demand, but I don’t have the time to get a new SAN up, and its not a good use of capital to have unused capacity just sitting around,” according to Currier.
Even as claims volume is expected to grow substantially, Cardinal needs to ensure their disaster recovery plan can hit their target of 2ms latency, a goal that would be a challenge with the existing storage solution.
Decoupling Storage Performance from Capacity
Currier knew he needed both storage capacity and storage performance. But he didn’t want the two to be inextricably linked, resulting in the same challenges year after year. “In a perfect world,” he said, “I can address performance and capacity as two distinct issues with two distinct solutions. That is the only way I can get the flexibility I need without breaking the bank.”
He turned to his trusted solutions provider for options. The partner suggested two alternatives. The first choice was the traditional route: buy a new high-end SAN. The second choice was to deploy a lower cost storage array (EMC VNX 5400) for capacity/data services and augment with Intel 3700 SSDs and PernixData FVP for maximum storage performance. PernixData FVP clusters flash into a logical pool of resources that are used to accelerate reads and writes to primary storage.
With no prior experience with PernixData’s software, Currier decided to try it out in a free Proof-of-Concept. He found that “deploying PernixData was very, very easy. It’s a super simple setup. We had our college intern, who isn’t VMware certified, install FVP in just minutes using nothing but the product manual. Shortly thereafter, we were seeing a 6x improvement in IOPS.”
Currier was convinced that using server-side flash with a PernixData Flash Hypervisor would deliver excellent storage performance. His next step was to do a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the two options.
To his pleasure, the solution leveraging server flash with PernixData FVP not only delivered more IOPS and capacity than the proposed high end SAN, but it was half the cost (see chart below). This made the choice easy for Cardinal.
|Option 1:EMC Symmetrix|
|Option 2:EMC VNX 5400 +|
Intel 3700 SSDs +
|Cost per GB||$21.81||$8.42||62% lower cost|
|Cost per IOPS||$32.46||$2.60||92% more IOPS|
Aside from the above, Currier is also excited about the ability to scale his storage performance easily and efficiently going forward. “With PernixData FVP it’s a lot easier and more cost effective to scale performance compared to the old model of upgrading my SAN. I now have the capacity I need for future growth and I can scale storage performance quickly and cost effectively as the company grows.”
• Saved 62% on storage upgrade
• 92% more IOPS
• New platform supports growth in claims processing
• Easily add more performance as needed
“In a perfect world, I can address performance and capacity as two distinct issues with two distinct solutions. That is the only way I can get the flexibility I need without breaking the bank.”
“With PernixData FVP it’s a lot easier and more cost effective to scale performance compared to the old model of upgrading my SAN. I now have the capacity I need for future growth and I can scale storage performance quickly and cost effectively as the company grows.”
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