Published on 03-Aug-2010
Validated on 02 Oct 2013
"We build hospitals. Data center construction is too significantly different. This data center project was too important and too expensive to risk any missteps. " - David Troy, construction accountant, WVUH
West Virginia University Hospitals
Dynamic Infrastructure, Energy Efficiency, Green/Sustainability
West Virginia University Hospitals (WVUH), headquartered in Morgantown, West Virginia, is part of the West Virginia United Health System, the largest healthcare system in the state. The health network offers a full range of medical, dental and optical services—from primary care to sophisticated specialty services.
The West Virginia University Hospitals healthcare network required a highly efficient, scalable data center to support the growth and technological advancements of its hospitals’ system.
IBM site and facilities services engineered and implemented a highly efficient, cost-effective data center that meets current needs and its anticipated requirements for the next 10 to 15 years.
- Delivers a highly efficient, scalable data center at 40 percent of the client’s initial budget - Reduces facility costs by eliminating costly lease payments and supplying disaster recovery service for its parent hospital - Provides a faster time to deployment using proven site and facilities expertise and project management proficiency
West Virginia University Hospitals (WVUH), headquartered in Morgantown, West Virginia, is part of the West Virginia United Health System, the largest healthcare system in the state. The health network offers a full range of medical, dental and optical services—from primary care to sophisticated specialty services. WVUH prides itself in providing exceptional healthcare derived from its high standards, dedicated staff, outstanding specialists and state-of-the-art facilities.
The WVUH IT group is no exception. Its dedicated staff supports the business and clinical needs of each of the entities within the hospitals’ organizations, as well as several facilities associated with its parent company. The group performed its critical role in a leased data center that was once considered a state-of the-art facility; however, after 20 years of service, the center was nearing a state of emergency. Recognizing “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the team began the strategizing and researching options for its next generation data center—six years in advance of its October 2010 deadline.
Exploratory procedures lead to the best data center solution
As 2010 approached, the team came face-to-face with the grim prognoses of end-of-life systems, end-of-lease location and end-of-available floor space. The team wrestled with numerous data center options and questions. David Troy, construction accountant at WVUH explains, “We realized our challenge was not how to invest in a building. It was how to utilize our investment to meet our IT infrastructure needs for the next 10 to 15 years.”
After receiving numerous requests for proposals, from building contractors, commercial real estate specialists and technology providers, the answer became clear. “When we completed our assessments, we found building a data center was the least expensive option,” states Bill Miller, director of technical services, WVUH and West Virginia United Health System. However, the WVUH team had previously experienced a construction project that had gone awry—and they did not care to repeat the experience. They wanted an organization that specialized in data centers. “We looked around and asked ‘Whose equipment is in our data center?’ It was predominately IBM.” Troy recalls, “We concluded, if anyone would know how to effectively implement this project, it would be IBM.”
Engaging a world-renowned specialist to implement best practices
IBM site and facilities services swiftly evaluated the technology and facility needs of WVUH and made recommendations. “From where I stand, you ask for help when you need help,” asserts Troy, “We build hospitals. Data center construction is too significantly different. This data center project was too important and too expensive to risk any missteps.” The team agreed on a 10,000 sq. ft. facility with 5,000 sq. ft. of raised floor space. Then the IBM Site and Facilities Services team took it a step further: They arranged a visit to a client site where IBM had built a data center with requirements nearly identical to those of WVUH. Troy explains, “That client visit solidified our decision. IBM demonstrated that they completely grasped our vision. That really put my mind at ease.”
Building out, without blowing out, the data center budget
The project was a go. The players were in place. Then, the teams faced a formidable challenge—an unprecedented global economic downturn.
The message from its parent organization was explicit: If the project could not be completed at a cost of US$7 million—40 percent of the initial budget—it would be called off. “It was evident we could no longer afford the US$18 million building we planned.” Rich King, vice-president and chief information officer of WVUH recounts, “We challenged IBM to take our vision and design a data center that meets our needs and budget.”
The IBM site and facilities services team worked with the building construction company and created a design and implementation strategy to dramatically reduce costs—without losing sight of the objectives. The WVUH team took on many project management responsibilities. WVUH employees completed several projects, eliminating the need for some subcontractors. “IBM provided clear direction to enable us to accomplish our goals.” Troy continues, “I don’t think we could have done that with just any team.”
The prognosis: Preparedness and pride for years to come
The project successfully concluded before the October 2010 deadline. IBM relocation services ensured a smooth transition to the new facility. The state-of-the-art data center provides dependable business and clinical systems support with the scalability to expand as needs change. King remarks, “We now have the capacity to meet the needs of WVUH and provide disaster recovery services for our parent corporation’s hospitals.”
The IT team is exceptionally proud of its accomplishments. King recounts, “Seeing the finished result was wonderful; seeing the pride in our staff was amazing.” Miller attributes the source of that pride to the IT team’s participation in the construction. Miller recalls, “One of my employees said to me, ‘Now I can finally show my family where I work.”’
Troy adds, “This data center plan was the poster child for the right way to do a project—very little trouble, very little drama. In contrast, a parallel project was the poster child for everything that can go wrong. The difference between the two projects was expertise from IBM.”
For more information
To learn more about the IBM Global Technology Services, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/services/siteandfacilities
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
GTS ITS Site & Facilities: IT Facilities Assess/Design/Constr, GTS ITS Site & Facilities: IT Facilities Consol. & Relocation, GTS Data Center Services
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