Major Linux rollout at Beaumont Hospital

29 Sep 2004

IBM has implemented a major IT infrastructure upgrade at Beaumont Hospital that saw the computer giant replace 45 existing servers with a consolidated Linux environment based on three servers.

Beaumont Hospital had approximately 45 servers running numerous applications which were resulting in high maintenance costs and a lack of space in its IT centre. Its aim was to reduce fixed IT costs and implement a flexible IT infrastructure which could grow in line with business needs. A Linux platform was an obvious choice, the hospital says.

The hospital invited vendors to offer solutions via an open European Journal tender, which resulted in responses from most of the major players in the market pitching for the six figure contract. It then had an internal team evaluate the selection process which was made up from various departments, auditors and medical consultants from within the hospital.

Peter Connolly, IT manager at the hospital and one of the panel members, explained: “To help us make the decision on which vendor to go with, our evaluation team weighed up the potential return on investment, risk and flexibility of each solution. Following a closely contended tendering process, IBM proved to be ahead with a cost-effective solution, proven technology and experience in a Linux/Open Source environment which was a key requirement. We also consulted with Gartner and other external organisations that had used IBM in a mixed environment in order to get a third-party opinion, and we were impressed with what we saw.”

The combination of the three eServer xSeries 455 machines will replace the 45 servers, consolidating its infrastructure and providing a more powerful on-demand environment that scale to the hospital’s business needs.

The new infrastructure will see one 8-way x445 eServer at the centre of the infrastructure, replacing the numerous servers that were previously employed. A further 4-way xSeries 445 machine will sit alongside this to take any peaks in the work load.

The machines will run VmWare virtualisation software and feed two IBM enterprise storage servers running Tivoli Storage Manager. Another xSeries 445 machine will reside in the hospital’s business continuity and recovery service (BCRS) site, in a separate location creating a mirrored infrastructure with help of IBM’s Flashcopy and Peer to Peer Remote Copy software to ensure that any failure is avoided.

Tony Kenny, IT Director at the Hospital, added: “In Beaumont Hospital we are acutely conscious of the delivery issues in the health care industry in the 21st century. The IBM solution that we have chosen will enable us to meet those issues. We chose a Linux platform because of its engineering stability, its superior performance and its cost saving benefits. The consolidation of our servers into one mainframe architecture means that we are able to manage the multiple business applications from one machine, avoiding random failure patterns that plagued us under the old infrastructure. The IBM eServers will give us a greater reliability and a more manageable and secure environment.”

The implementation is being handled by IBM Integrated Technology Services and will be up and running in within the next month.

By John Kennedy