Case Study: How Service Matters for Maine Medical Center

READ MORE

Maine Medical Center is a nonprofit, community hospital for the people of greater Portland, Me. It has more than 400 beds in Portland and an additional 200 at locations in other parts of the state. It is one of the highest rated hospitals you will find. It has been rated the fourth safest hospital in the United States and its nurses are in the top 3% in the world for nursing excellence.

This is an organization that demands excellence in its healthcare services. To provide that excellent service, the organization requires world-class management of its technology infrastructure.

In this respect, storage is an integral aspect of Maine Medical’s infrastructure and has become a critical component to the IT organization’s overall mission. Here’s their story.

The Problem

Dennis Ryan is a senior engineer who helps manage the data storage for Maine Medical. Storage requirements have morphed over the past several years. They used to have 55 terabytes of storage. Today, Maine Medical has hit the 825 terabyte mark.

That data increase is not unusual for most healthcare organizations. New regulations require better record retention and there’s the shift from paper to digital records.

Virtualization

In the meantime, Maine Medical has used virtualization to go from 300 to about 50 servers. It is about 70% virtualized. Going to a virtualized infrastructure has made managing storage easier. It’s faster and more simple to track down when there is a failure. It has made the storage administration job easier rather than more complicated.

Business Reasons

Maine Medical plans to move its data center and wants to do more with less. The goal is to manage all storage and services with a budget that is not increasing.

Services Angle

EMC was chosen in large part because of the service it provides. The company keeps its field engineers well-trained and does not rely on third parties to provide support. Field engineers keep Maine Medical updated with what patches are coming and what should potentially wait. It’s a worldwide organization so issues can be resolved around the clock. If an issue comes up on a SAN or switch, EMC will know about it before Maine Medical is aware of it.

Ryan said EMC’s service is superior to other vendors for a few reasons:

  • Education services offered are par to none that he’s experienced
  • When storage is purchased, EMC provides a year of free training.
  • Its Web-based training is some of the best  of any vendor.

“EMC has become more of a partner ,” Ryan said. “We took bids from other vendors and EMC was the only one who came in and discussed needs, designed solutions  and met the needs of the organization. They nailed it the first time, We don’t look at EMC as a sales team – but as a partner. They are not just trying to sell, sell, sell. They are genuinely trying to help meet business needs.”

Conclusion

The storage business is more competitive. Ryan said EMC once had a lock on the storage business. They did not have as much of an emphasis on service. Today, the market is more competitive. Excellent service is the difference that customers are looking for when choosing a vendor.

The problems to address are what are often viewed as the solution, too. Data is scaling and that’s an issue that affects any size organization.  But it also means organizations are realizing that a more efficient, virtualized infrastructure has benefits that can make the storage easier to manage.

About Alex Williams

Alex Williams is an editor for SiliconAngle and lives a charmed life in Portland, Or.