Nutanix has delivered Web-scale hyper-converged infrastructure for Mater Health Services Brisbane. The technology will underpin the expansion of Mater’s virtual desktop project from 2000 to 5000 endpoints and allow the organisation to dedicate more resources to patient care.
Mater is a not-for-profit healthcare organisation that operates hospitals and a medical research institute. It employs 6500 staff who provide pathology, pharmacy, and health and wellness services, and discharges around 110,000 patients annually.
To ensure it maintains its high-quality patient care, Mater pursued a virtual desktop project based on Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 in 2010. It aimed to provide both on-site and remote staff with a premium, unified system that could reliably support its 1500 healthcare, management and administration applications, and provide on-demand access to sensitive patient data.
This includes, for example: an oncology system used by nurses in Mater’s Cancer Care Centre to document the care and treatment during chemotherapy; the patient administration system used to process all admissions and discharges; and the clinical portal, a summary-based medical record system used to provide a single clinical view of each patient including clinical orders, pathology and radiology results and internal and external documentation.
Mater’s datacentre formerly comprised storage area network (SAN) and rack mounted server hardware that was struggling to meet growth demands. Consequently, the organisation’s network of 2,000 virtual desktops could not deliver adequate capacity to meet employee workloads. Staff relying on these virtual desktops were hindered and the IT department’s projects stalled as resources were focused on operational duties and could not dedicate time to auctioning capacity and performance of the existing infrastructure.
“We needed a simple datacentre that doesn’t need constant upkeep as our business expands, so we evaluated Desktop-as-a-Service [DaaS] and also looked at Infrastructure-as-a-Service [IaaS], both on- and off-premise,” said Steven Parrish, Mater chief information officer and executive director, information and infrastructure.
“We went with Nutanix’s Web-scale technology because it can scale as we need, runs almost invisibly and provides long-term cost savings in support, management and maintenance.”
Procured through IT solutions provider, BES Information Technology Systems, the Nutanix platform allows Mater to rapidly expand its virtual desktop platform in a modular fashion. As Mater scales to 5000 endpoints – situated in hospitals, clinics, remote sites and on ruggedised devices in the field – over the next 18 months, it can add further Nutanix nodes if and when required without investing in another infrastructure overhaul. The configuration of the Nutanix platform also allows Mater to run a higher volume of virtual desktops in a smaller footprint within the data centre, reducing both power and cooling.
“A slow IT environment is extremely detrimental to Mater’s entire operation as it jeopardises its ability to ensure the wellbeing of thousands of patients each day,” said Wayne Neich, Nutanix managing director A/NZ. “With the Nutanix-Citrix partnership serving as the backbone of the organisation’s virtual desktop project, the right people will have reliable access to the appropriate tools and information to maintain Mater’s high standards of care.”