Gwinnett Medical Center relies on HP to help meet care goals
Leverages HP storage and server solutions to manage growth and costs
“Our No. 1 technology challenge continues to be managing explosive
growth – particularly when it comes to data. Five years ago, we were
managing about a terabyte of data. Today, we have more than 250 TB with
no signs of slowing.”
− Rick Allen, Assistant Vice President – Information Systems, Gwinnett Medical Center
Industry: Healthcare
HP customer case
study: HP
Enterprise Virtual
Arrays, HP Medical
Archive solution, HP
ProLiant servers and
server blades, HP
Modular Smart
Array, McKesson
applications and HP
Continue patient care excellence while managing
explosive growth in service demand, medical
information volume and technology costs
Team with HP and other business technology
leaders to develop and deploy innovative new
solutions that promote quality care, information
access, cost efficiencies, flexibility and service
Business technology improvements:
• Add storage “on the fly” and on demand
• “Work smarter” through integration and
• Save valuable computer-room floor space
• Improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness through
server virtualization and consolidation
Business benefits:
• Faster time-to-diagnosis and treatment
• Continuity and disaster protection for critical
applications and image archives
• Improved patient billing and accounts
• Lowered power and cooling costs
• Increased efficiency frees staff for more
productive projects
• Achieved compliance with HIPAA and other
regulatory requirements
Gwinnett manages growth pains with teamwork
Gwinnett Medical Center serves Georgia’s Gwinnett
County – one of the fastest growing counties in the
United States. Located northeast of Atlanta, the
county’s population has increased by more than 11
fold in the past 40 years. The Gwinnett Medical
Center – with four hospitals, 500 beds and 800
physicians – provides care to more than 400,000
patients annually. In recent years, the hospital system
has experienced nearly 100 percent occupancy,
prompting the construction of new facilities including
the Gwinnett Medical Center in Duluth, GA, and a
155-bed patient tower addition to the Gwinnett
Medical Center in Lawrenceville.
Despite the challenges posed by unrelenting demand
for new and expanded services, Gwinnett has
consistently maintained the highest levels of patient
“With the HP StorageWorks EVA’s virtualized
storage and the MAS grid architecture, we can
simply snap in new storage whenever we need it –
growing on demand. We never have too much or too
− Rick Allen, Assistant Vice President – Information Systems,
Gwinnett Medical Center
Gwinnett recently upgraded its HP SAN fabric with HP
StorageWorks 4/256 SAN Director B-series directorclass switches. The powerful 4 Gb/s Fibre Channel
switches provide robust, continuous operation with
built-in redundancy and hot-pluggable components.
“Our upgrade to HP director-class switches was
another step in our goal of 100 percent uptime,” Allen
says. “In the past, to upgrade a small switch we would
have to take the whole thing down. Now, we can
perform upgrades and failovers from one switch to
another and maintain availability across the fabric. HP
pre-sales engineers validated our design and we
implemented the switches ourselves.”
Clear choice for image archiving and availability
HP EVA-based SAN and HP MAS systems enable
Gwinnett to efficiently manage explosive growth in
storage demands. “Just five years ago we had about
one terabyte of total storage on the floor,” Allen notes.
“Today, we’re managing 250 TB, and we are about to
care quality. According to Rick Allen, Gwinnett’s
add another 40. That’s huge growth, and represents
Assistant Vice President, Information Systems, one of
the ways in which the hospital system has been able to one of our biggest technology challenges. With the HP
EVA’s virtualized storage and the MAS grid
continue to provide top quality care and expand
services is by working closely with key partners such as architecture we can simply snap in new storage
whenever we need it – grow on demand. We never
HP and McKesson Corporation. “For instance, we
have too much or too little.”
were one of the earliest users of the HP Enterprise
Virtual Array (EVA) storage systems, and we worked
hard to certify the HP Medical Archive solution (MAS)
with our McKesson Picture Archive and Communication
System (PACS) back in 2003,” Allen explains. “We
have worked with both HP and McKesson on many
other applications that are critical to our operations.”
Robust HP storage solutions are highly manageable
and vital for hospital information
Gwinnett uses its HP EVA storage-area network (SAN)
system – which features five EVA systems split between
its two data centers – to support almost all of its critical
clinical and enterprise management applications. For
example, the EVA SAN supports the hospital system’s
full range of McKesson applications, including
electronic medical record, pharmacy, physician portal,
surgical management, PACS and radiology operations.
“We have a small staff to manage all of our storage
resources,” Allen notes. “When we originally made the
move to a SAN environment, we compared the HP
EVA systems to everything else on the market –
including IBM, EMC, Xiotech and many others. I came
from banking and would have bought Big Blue if given
the chance, but the HP EVA was the easiest to manage
– bar none. For each expansion since then, we have
looked at all of our options and made sure that the
EVA was still the right choice. It gives us the
availability we need and the virtualization layer makes
it easy to manage. If it’s important to us, we put it on
the EVA.”
Along with painless storage growth, HP MAS provides
Gwinnett with essential image archive management
capabilities, uptime and performance. The hospital
system performs and stores more than 350,000 new
digital imaging studies annually. HP MAS gives
Gwinnett asynchronous replication of its PACS image
data between the hospital system’s two main data
“When you start talking about things that make me
lose sleep at night, online medical data access is the
biggest concern I have,” Allen says. “We’re quickly
getting to the point where every piece of medical
information will only be available online. There will
soon be no paper records or charts. Our systems must
be built for near 100 percent uptime; nothing else will
The hospital system recently migrated its entire
cardiology image archives – including catheterization
lab, echocardiography and vascular ultrasound – to
HP MAS. “We had been storing cardiology images on
DVDs,” Allen explains. “Our data center operators
were spending valuable time chasing DVDs, rather
than doing their proper functions. Moving the cardiac
image archiving function to HP MAS has saved us at
least one-quarter FTE (full-time equivalent person) –
time that was previously tied up mounting, moving and
storing DVDs.”
“Our HP-based technology solution ultimately
yields faster time-to-diagnosis and treatment for
our patients. On the business side, we’re more
protected, efficient and compliant. In addition,
we can recoup patient payments faster, and save
money on power and cooling – a huge plus in these
hard economic times. HP has also helped us
improve our bottom line while becoming greener,
and that’s a great combination.”
− Rick Allen, Assistant Vice President – Information Systems,
Gwinnett Medical Center
Katrina teaches importance of continuity
According to Allen, Gwinnett plans to protect patient
data even further by replicating medical images to a
remote HP MAS grid at a secure storage facility at Iron
Mountain. This off-site disaster recovery will provide
additional protection in case a regional disaster wipes
out Gwinnett’s two main data centers.
“I learned a powerful lesson in the Katrina disaster,”
Allen explains. “Most of my family lived in the New
Orleans area and they were forced to move when the
hurricane struck. My grandmother’s medical records
were completely lost in the flooding. I know what level
of protection we have to provide to our patients. If we
lose everything here at Gwinnett, we’ll just need to get
a PACS system up and running anywhere in the world
and we can point it to the copy on the HP MAS at Iron
ProLiant DL580 servers to support the Oracle 10g RAC
database layer and ProLiant c-Class server blades for
the new solution’s application layer.
Explains Allen, “We are deeply involved in the
development of this new McKesson solution and,
therefore, influence many design decisions – including
the platform it would run on, HP servers. It’s perfect for
us because we get an end-to-end HP solution that we
know is going to deliver the availability and
functionality we demand.”
For many new and some existing applications,
Gwinnett relies on VMware virtual servers running on
HP ProLiant physical servers; whenever possible, the
servers are HP server blades. “By emphasizing HP
blade technology and virtualized servers we are
beginning to achieve greater efficiency in floor space
and energy use. We are very space challenged in our
data centers, so saving space has been our number
Healthy mix of HP ProLiant servers, blades and
one objective. The fact that we also save on cooling
virtualization yields savings
In addition to critical storage, Gwinnett relies on HP for and power is a welcome bonus.”
an increasing percentage of its server resources.
Treating the enterprise as a whole: Exchange 2007
“While we currently run a pretty evenly mixed shop
e-mail for all
between HP and IBM systems, we are using HP server
Until Gwinnett implemented Microsoft Exchange Server
blades whenever possible going forward,” Allen
2007, only about half the hospital system’s 4,300
explains. The hospital system uses about 450 servers.
employees had an official e-mail address. The new e“We have HP-UX, Microsoft Windows® Server 2003,
mail system runs on clustered IBM servers and uses the
Red Hat Linux and AIX. However, for our newest
HP EVA SAN for centralized storage. The Gwinnett
applications, we’re turning to HP ProLiant server
Exchange 2007 implementation team relied on HP
blades and server virtualization through VMware in
pre-sales engineers to help validate its infrastructure
order to reduce operating cost and improve
design and consulted HP best-practices white papers
for additional guidance.
HP ProLiant server blades play a major role in the
“We brought Microsoft Exchange 2007 up for our
hospital’s innovative new McKesson Horizon Enterprise
Information Systems department soon after Exchange
Revenue Management™ system. McKesson, HP and
was released,” says Allen. “Four months later, we cut
Gwinnett developed the solution jointly using HP
Customer solution at a glance
Enterprise infrastructure management with HP StorageWorks Enterprise
Virtual Arrays (EVA), HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Arrays, HP
Medical Archive solution (MAS), HP ProLiant servers and blade servers,
VMware virtual servers, McKesson healthcare management applications
Primary applications
• Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS)
Primary hardware
• 5 HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVA)
• 2 HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) systems
• 3 HP StorageWorks 4/256 SAN Director B-series director-class
• Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
• 150 HP ProLiant servers, including models DL360 G3/G4, DL380
G3/ G4 and DL580 G3/G4
• Laboratory and pharmacy management
• 50 HP ProLiant c-Class server blades
• McKesson healthcare management applications:
• Horizon Medical Imaging™
• 2,500 HP desktop systems, including models dc7700, dc7800 and
• Horizon Radiology Manager™
• 450 HP printers, ranging from LaserJet 4si to LaserJet 4250
• Horizon Patient Folder™
Primary software
• HP Medical Archive solution (MAS) with 60+ TB of storage
• Horizon Business Insight™
• Horizon Meds Manager™
• HorizonWP ® Physician Portal
• Horizon Surgical Manager™
• Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management™
• Pathways Financial Management™
• Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
• Oracle Database 10g
• Red Hat Linux 4 operating system
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system
• HP-UX operating system
• IBM AIX operating system
• HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM) software
HP Services
• Design validation through the HP Presales organization
• White papers to assist in design and implementation
• 24x7 support for all systems
• Proactive 24 support for storage systems
over the entire organization – including the 2,000 who
had been on GroupWise and more than 2,000 others
who had no enterprise e-mail. Because of Exchange’s
single-instance storage capability and continuous
replication, we were able to implement e-mail for the
entire organization in the same storage footprint and
provide a high level of availability and continuity.”
Rx for a healthy medical center
“Our HP-based technology solution ultimately yields
faster time-to-diagnosis and treatment for our patients,”
concludes Allen. “On the business side, we’re more
protected, efficient and compliant. In addition, we can
For more HP StorageWorks customer stories, go to
© Copyright 2008 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to
change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty
statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an
additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. This
customer’s results depended upon its unique business and technology environment, the way it used HP products
and services, and other factors. These results may not be typical; your results may vary. Microsoft is an HP
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Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open
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4AA2-1652ENW, August 2008
recoup patient payments faster, and save money on
power and cooling – a huge plus in these hard
economic times. HP has also helped us improve our
bottom line while becoming greener, and that’s a
great combination.”
About Gwinnett Medical Center
Gwinnett Medical Center ( is
a not-for-profit healthcare network providing high
quality facilities and services to Gwinnett County and
surrounding communities. With over 4,300 employees
and 800 physicians, GMC provides care to over
400,000 patients annually.