Hospital builds data health plan

The business of keeping people healthy was sending the Ottawa Hospital computer systems to the critical care unit. The data generated a backlog of terabytes of information, causing the hospital’s IT staff to look for a more flexible data storage solution.

“We went and selected a few products and evaluated them on flexibility, expandability, warranty and price,” said Jean-Pierre Nault, IS project manager with the hospital’s IS technical services department.

The department needed a storage solution that was compatible with its existing Computer Associates’ ARCserve implementation.

“We needed a storage solution that works as hard as we do,” Nault said. The hospital chose San Diego-based Overland Data as its storage provider. Overland installed two new LibraryXpress systems.

“LibraryXpress provided the capacity we required plus the flexibility to scale up easily as our needs increase in the future. We knew we were likely to double, even triple, our backup load eventually and it was necessary to accommodate that growth in an affordable, easy-to-upgrade system.”

According to Nault, the hospital has expanded from a single campus to multiple sites. “Before we had multiple servers with each server having its own backup unit. It was just getting unmanageable. We decided to go onto a centralized tape library system.”

Each Overland system is equipped with one LXG Global Control Module, two LXB7110 Base Modules, and two LXC Capacity Modules for a total available capacity of more than 2.5 terabytes.

“We sell a product which is a scalable library. It grows as your needs grow. [Ottawa hospital needed] to not only back up data very reliably, but also they knew their needs were going to be growing in the future,” said Steve Richardson, vice-president of marketing at Overland.

According to Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp. analyst Bob Amatruda, this type of backup system is suitable for companies that expect to grow.

“It’s really investment protection. LibraryXpress allows those users to add more capacity, more cartridges. It ultimately adds more flexibility than if they were to buy into a system that had a fixed number of drives and cartridges.”

According to Amatruda, Overland Data is working on making it easier to manipulate user interfaces.

“Down the road, I think there will be features that will allow users to diagnose and manipulate…tape automation from another site.”

Nault said that so far, the new system has made daily operations run smoother. “We don’t rely as much on the operation to do the tape change. We still have a pretty good off-site strategy. Before it was a daily thing for operations to go to every server and do tape mounts. Now it’s being done only once per week, or per month,” he said.

“Time will tell us how we could improve the system, but so far it’s been great.”