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The FlexPod Standard Extends to MEDITECH Software

Bruno Messina
Bruno Messina

An earlier blog showed that FlexPod, like electricity, has become a standard in converged infrastructure.

We made the case that FlexPod is a converged infrastructure standard because of its:

  • New and growing solution portfolio (MEDITECH EHR solutions and software, artificial intelligence, machine learning)
  • Wide acceptance
  • Success
  • Large number of application solutions (more than 170 Cisco Validated Designs, workload solutions)
  • Industry-leading components (NetApp® FAS and AFF storage, Cisco UCS Server and Nexus network switches)
  • Integration of leading-edge technologies (NetApp Data Fabric, Converged Systems Advisor, 100GbE, UCS M5 servers, end-to-end NVMe)

How can a FlexPod® converged infrastructure standard be expanded to the healthcare market? The new FlexPod for MEDITECH software demonstrates how a converged infrastructure standard can translate to a healthcare setting.

FlexPod for MEDITECH software creates a patient-first infrastructure—a converged infrastructure that allows a healthcare organization to improve patient outcomes. It is designed to handle MEDITECH software’s current and future requirements. It can automatically expand and contract to handle all MEDITECH’s integrated electronic health record (EHR) solutions. It is a holistic and synergistic hardware and software combination that shapes better patient results, while having the flexibility to include new technologies and adapt to other healthcare IT needs beyond MEDITECH software. It performs exceptionally well, delivering simplicity, bullet-proof availability and reliability, and it adapts to smaller or larger healthcare organizations.

FlexPod for MEDITECH software delivers standardized infrastructure and allows hospitals to focus on patients, not IT infrastructure. FlexPod is a platform for innovation with unmatched versatility that is trusted worldwide. Its leading position and advantages in general-purpose applications easily translate to healthcare workloads.

With FlexPod, the needs of the patient, not the infrastructure, come first. Let’s look at a few reasons why this statement is true.

The FlexPod standard is the result of solid, long-term partnership between industry leaders NetApp and Cisco. A few numbers really underscore this fact:

  • Produced more than $10 billion in revenue in just 9 years
  • Added more than three new customers every day since launching
  • Totaled a cumulative investment of more than 250 person-years of engineering and growing
  • Is deployed in more than 9,000 customer sites, with more than 5000PB of capacity shipped
  • Gained more than five points of market share over the past 2 years
  • Offers more than 170 validated designs (the “appliances” of the standard), including nearly all data center workloads

Availability and reliability. All data paths throughout FlexPod are redundant. End-to-end redundancy (storage, compute and network) helps FlexPod withstand any hardware or component failure.  Dual, redundant paths with no single point of failure are part of FlexPod. Specifically, for NetApp storage, NetApp MetroCluster, and RAID, dual controllers and data paths offer superb overall reliability with no single component causing a failure or downtime.

MEDITECH's distributed database also benefits from the ability to recover servers from a failure in minutes through UCS service profiles. If a server fails, simply drop its service profile on another spare server, and the server is exactly cloned in minutes.  Automation increases, errors decrease, infrastructure is standardized, and healthcare organizations can concentrate on patients, not infrastructure errors. This is one scenario, but the benefits of FlexPod automated infrastructure extend to almost all deployment, maintenance, and redeployment scenarios.

Availability and uptime are crucial to overall patient care, and FlexPod delivers.    

Performance. Both the NetApp AFF storage array (SPEC_SFS 2014) and the Cisco UCS Servers (150 world records to date) in the FlexPod solutions have set numerous performance records, allowing crucial patient data to be available fast, without error.

Flexibility. FlexPod has over 170 Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) and NetApp Verified Architectures (NVAs). These are step-by-step blueprints for deploying and setting up FlexPod for nearly all data center workloads, including Oracle, SQL Server, SAP, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), VMware, Hyper-V, and Exchange. FlexPod has the flexibility and blueprints to be a standard for not just MEDITECH, but for nearly all healthcare and general-purpose data center workloads. After it is deployed, a FlexPod solution is easily scaled to workloads of different sizes. Scaling is done in software through the UCS Manager and its service profiles and through NetApp OnCommand® workflow automation.

Adaptability. With automated management and scaling, FlexPod can also handle many different data center scenarios such as multiprotocol, storage (block or file), all-flash or hybrid storage arrays, and almost all workloads.

Simplicity. Some MEDITECH customers are smaller hospitals with limited IT resources, and they, too, can benefit from deploying FlexPod converged infrastructure. FlexPod enables faster time to value with its end-to-end blueprints (CVDs and NVAs) that can save healthcare organizations significant time and money in initial deployment. In addition, because FlexPod is automated in its scaling, monitoring, it can also simplify adding new compute or storage or even new FlexPod instances. Finally, FlexPod can be ordered in a rack and stack configuration, greatly simplifying procurement and primary installation.

Future proof. Because the FlexPod standard is so successful, FlexPod solutions incorporate new technologies quickly.  Some of the more recent technology updates include the NetApp Data Fabric, NVMe, the latest server technology, NetApp MAX Data, and 100GbE switching.  New technologies continue to be tested and integrated into FlexPod regularly.  FlexPod solutions change, grow, and evolve, assuring potential healthcare customers that their investment is protected.

These standardized technologies and solutions have delighted many FlexPod customers. Happy customers are the best predictor of success for FlexPod, and FlexPod has thousands of happy customers running mission-critical workloads worldwide. Take a look at these videos to get a sense of FlexPod running mission-critical applications.

To learn how the FlexPod standard can help your healthcare organization better serve its patients, please visit:

Bruno Messina

Bruno Messina joined NetApp in 2018 and works in product marketing for FlexPod. His previous experience includes a career in product marketing of UCS servers for Cisco Systems and Solaris server marketing and competitive analysis at both Oracle and Sun Microsystems, where he joined in 2000. Bruno spent ten years in various roles of competitive analysis and product management at Sun Microsystems, leading analysis in both the workgroup and enterprise servers. Prior to Sun Microsystems, Bruno spent time finishing his MBA education and worked for two years at Cadence working on product marketing for both board-level and board timing tools. Bruno holds both a BSEE and MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

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