Staff at Trillium Health Centre’s offices in the Ontario cities of Etobicoke and Mississauga were running into two critical problems: having to constantly upgrade the direct attached storage system and extremely slow application speed.

“”I think the greatest problems for us at Trillium was as

servers got to capacity we had to continually go back to the well again and again and again for additional capacity,”” says Lori Driscoll, director of IT for Trillium. “”By going with EMC we’ll ultimately be able to plan our storage needs in a proactive way versus being reactive.””

And while IT staff were busy replacing hard drives, office staff were busy waiting. Trillium’s manager of applications and service operations Mike Mendonca describes system bottlenecks as severe, thanks to heavy use.

“”Finance, for example, would run month-end reports and it would take four days to compile, and that’s if it didn’t crash because of slowness,”” says Mendonca, adding that the old system was replaced over a weekend.

“”Unsolicited, Monday morning I got a call from the director of finance, who said, ‘I don’t know what this SAN (storage area network) thing is, but I really like it. Our month-end report that used to take four days got done in an hour.'””

Driscoll says the other speed increase is apparent during software upgrades. She says the hours of downtime users were subjected to are a thing of the past.

When all is said and done, Driscoll says she expects the system will be expanding at a rate of about 25 terabytes per year.

A good portion of this will be comprised of diagnostic imaging files — X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, etc. — and the load is only expected to increase as the cardiac applications come online.

Mendonca says the three-dimensional and moveable images are highly resource-intensive.

Mike Stivaletti, area manager for EMC Canada, says imaging systems are the primary driver behind more and more health-care facilities purchasing SANs.

“”If someone told me a couple of years ago a hospital was going to go to 25 TB a year I would have been flabbergasted,”” Stivaletti says. “”I don’t know where the end is going to be.””

The SAN is located at the Mississauga office and is connected to Etobicoke via Trillium-owned fibre.

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