Healthcare in the United States forever changed when the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) passed in the senate on December 24, 2009, and passed in the house on March 21, 2010. But it took four years before Americans could start enrolling, and after the catastrophic launch of healthcare.gov, the ACA still managed to sign up more than 7.5 million people, all of whom will be entering the healthcare system. An influx of this amount of people will undoubtedly strain a system that is already doing all it can to manage a shortage of healthcare professionals around the country. In order to manage its resources more effectively, the industry has been implementing information and communications technology (ICT), and it has paid great dividends.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, which provides healthcare services to three million customers living in and out of the state, has been upgrading its networking and virtualization solutions with new technologies. In an article written by Timothy Prickett Morgan on EnterpriseTech.com, he reports on the recent upgrade BCBS of Alabama implemented to improve its overall operations and introduce new levels of efficiency.
The organization adopted new networking equipment from Hewlett-Packard’s (News - Alert) BladeSystem blade servers and also opted to drop VMware’s ESXi server virtualization hypervisor for Microsoft’s (News - Alert) Hyper-V. This new technology will give the BCBS of Alabama a platform for managing its workforce of 4,000 people and the $4 billion in revenue it generates to deliver better healthcare that is more affordable to all of its customers in and out of the state.
According to the report, Russ Stringer, server engineer and virtual architect at BCBS of Alabama, the combination of HP blades and Windows Hyper-V is allowing him to support more virtual machines (VMs) per node. With a new generation of blades from HP, more memory and upcoming Intel (News - Alert) “Haswell” Xeon E5 v3 processors, Stringer sees more than 50 VMs per node. The higher the VM count in the same physical footprint, the fewer servers will be needed, saving BCBS of Alabama costs in managing and maintaining the servers.
The HP BladeSystem has transformed the converged data center network with innovative solutions allowing centers to achieve double the performance and the simplest way to connect servers using Virtual Connect module and adapters. Beyond the performance qualities of the blades, Forrester (News - Alert) Research has revealed HP BladeSystem has delivered greater reliability, flexibility, scalability, and improved productivity to its customers, resulting in lower total costs and better return on investment.
As the pressure of managing datacenters continues to increase, operators have to remain alert and be aware of new technologies that can improve the overall efficiency of the center. While initial CAPEX might be discouraging, holding on to a legacy system eventually proves to be more expensive in terms of human, capital, energy and facility resources.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson