Pivot3 Blog

Does Hyper-converged Infrastructure Really Work for Hospitals?

For hospitals and healthcare clinics, building a VDI infrastructure with separate servers and storage can be challenging. Most often, healthcare facilities only have one or two IT professionals on staff, and rolling out VDI becomes a lengthy, complicated proposition. However, the security of patients’ personal and health information is paramount. How can healthcare facilities gain the benefits of VDI without spending too much time and money on virtualization?

Hyper-converged infrastructure appliances are designed to ease the pain and length of time usually associated with deploying and managing VDI. But do these appliances really work in the healthcare market? Let’s take a look at some real-world examples from industry experts to find out.

Matthew Grey, worldwide cloud client computing sales enablement specialist at Dell Inc., says he’s seen many examples of hyper-converged infrastructure appliances creating success – even for the most challenging VDI deployments. Grey has seen hyper-converged infrastructure be particularly beneficial in the public sector and healthcare facilities.

“Their primary business is focused on something other than IT,” he explained. “But they are very concerned with what data can be delivered and how.”

For example, hospitals must comply with strict federal standards for data management to ensure that patient medical information is secure. Today, many clinics and acute care facilities are moving toward virtualization as a way to give their clinicians the ability to leverage that data – even over mobile devices – without having to worry about its security.

For many VDI customers, the most telling benefit of hyper-converged infrastructure appliances is this: It actually improves quality of life for the physicians. For example, if a doctor in the UK got a call in the middle of the night and needed to look at a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR), they would have to get in the car and drive back to the hospital. With VDI, that’s no longer the case. They can examine an EMR securely, remotely and in the comfort of their own home. Within the hospital or clinic, VDI helps doctors and nurses work more efficiently, often enabling them to see one or even two more patients a day. Even in small clinics, this could lead to millions of dollars of additional revenue every year.

And what happens if a doctor walks out with a PC that has 25,000 patient files on it? With virtualization, IT administrators at the hospital can sever that device’s tie to the VDI and protect that data.

By leveraging hyper-converged infrastructure appliances, most hospitals are able to quickly and easily deploy a VDI environment, even with limited IT resources. Ernest Nichols, end user computing sales engineer at VMware, has experienced the difference of using hyper-converged appliances first-hand.

“Every week, we see [VDI] success stories,” he says. “One healthcare customer had been working on a VDI conversion for a year, trying to figure out how to get the perfect desktop. We brought in the Pivot3 device, and had desktops up and running within two days. They could already see that it was better than everything they had worked on for the previous year. The desktop just needed a little tuning out of the gate. Since the Pivot3 device already comes with everything installed on it, we were able to use our vCenter Operations Manager software, take a look at it, and make some adjustments.”

Within five days, the customer was able to migrate 500 users over.

Similarly, Jeremy Hall, senior sales engineer at Pivot3, worked with a large European healthcare facility that tried to implement VDI for the better part of a year.

Every time they went from proof of concept to production, they would experience huge problems,” he said. “Horizon suite had a left a very bad taste in their mouth. We came in, [installed hyper-converged infrastructure appliances] and they had people up and running on desktops later that day. We took the desktop they had set up, put it on our appliance and just started scaling up from there.”

As these examples illustrate, VDI actively helps deliver improved healthcare, providing benefits to both patients and doctors. And by implementing VDI through hyper-converged infrastructure appliances, customers avoid the headache and lengthy timelines of traditional VDI deployments – saving time, money and complexity at every turn.