REVIEWER: Craig Richardville, vice president of information services for Carolinas HealthCare System. Richardville also serves as chairman of the System's HIPAA efforts.

BACKGROUND: Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) is the largest healthcare system in the Carolinas and one of the largest public systems in the nation. CHS owns, leases and manages hospitals, nursing homes, physician practices, home health agencies, radiation therapy facilities, physical therapy facilities and other healthcare related operations, comprising more than 4,300 licensed beds and approximately 25,300 employees.

PLATFORMS: AIX; Windows 2000, 2003.

PROBLEM SOLVED: There are two major challenges for our business. One is business continuity, and the other is increasing the availability of information to our caregivers. Information is increasingly moving toward a centralized electronic format in the healthcare industry. Consequently, the availability of this information is critical. Information must be available electronically at all times, at all locations, on campus and off campus. To assist in this delivery of information, CHS needs continuous uptime from client to network to server. CHS is virtualizing more than 16 terabytes of data; and, like any other healthcare provider, we are faced with managing exponential storage growth with the increasing amount of online availability. We are using IBM's TotalStorage Open Software family to provide the required flexibility and availability for our clinical applications.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The IBM TotalStorage solution functionality includes backup, archive, hierarchical storage management, electronic vaulting, semiautomated disaster recovery, disk and SAN performance, and topology monitoring.

STRENGTHS: A major benefit of IBM's TotalStorage Open Software is its ability to provide end-to-end storage solutions, ranging from virtualization to the latest storage infrastructure management software. This ensures we get the most out of our heterogeneous infrastructure already in place. There was minimal retooling or training involved, making IBM TotalStorage a cost-effective solution.

WEAKNESSES: The main weakness found with this solution is ensuring its long life due to constantly changing technology.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our selection of IBM TotalStorage software was based on total cost of ownership, high availability, product integration, scope and resource skill set. Our industry demands 100-percent uptime, and Carolinas HealthCare needed a storage software solution that could help us move to a disaster recovery model that ensures recoverability under almost any circumstances. We wanted to use storage software to get the most out of what we already had in our heterogeneous infrastructure. As our staffing level remains flat, Carolinas HealthCare selected a solution that didn't require excessive retooling or retraining for our personnel. IBM's TotalStorage solution had the lowest total cost of ownership and the greatest value proposition.

DELIVERABLES: Deliverables include SAN topology, disk performance trending, alerting and backup results.

VENDOR SUPPORT: IBM is focused on the issues and continues to provide an on- going relationship.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is available within the products and in separate hard-copy forms.

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