John T. Mather Memorial Hospital puts patient care first with IBM XIV

Community hospital thinks big with storage cloud for PACS

Published on 21-Aug-2012

"IBM told us about the XIV concept, and we were very excited. We liked the innovative technology, we liked the cloud-like configuration and, most of all, we liked the practically unlimited scalability." - Vinnie McGee, Operations Manager for Information Services, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital


Deployment country:
United States

Business Resiliency, High Availability , Information Integration, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:
Siemens Healthcare


John T. Mather Memorial Hospital is a 248-bed community hospital, serving a large portion of Port Jefferson and Central Long Island. The hospital is rated as a top performer by The Joint Commission—out of 3,100 applicants, it was one of only eight New York State hospitals to receive the honor.

Business need:
John T. Mather Memorial Hospital wanted to improve availability, reliability and redundancy of patient records by digitizing and installing new, high-resolution imaging modalities.

Implemented the IBM XIV® Storage System, asynchronously mirrored, providing high-performance data storage for applications running in a VMware vSphere landscape on IBM BladeCenter® servers.

IBM XIV has given the hospital the performance, capacity and scalability to support strategic plans for further digitization and the deployment of the latest high-resolution medical imaging modalities.

Case Study

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital is a 248-bed community hospital, serving a large portion of Port Jefferson and Central Long Island. The hospital is rated as a top performer by The Joint Commission—out of 3,100 applicants, it was one of only eight New York State hospitals to receive the honor.

Pushing the boundaries of patient care
As a community hospital with big ideas, the organization is always on the lookout for ways to improve. As Vinnie McGee, Operations Manager for Information Services at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, explains: "We’re extremely fortunate to be backed up by a very forward-thinking administration; they’re always striving to secure the latest and greatest equipment to augment our level of patient care. For example, they recently purchased a da Vinci surgical robot for our operating rooms, as well as a state-of-the-art 320-slice CT unit for our diagnosticians. We even have a solar farm outside to offset our carbon footprint.

"Our objective is to push the boundaries of patient care, and a key enabler of this strategy is undoubtedly our IT infrastructure."

New systems, new challenges
John T. Mather Memorial Hospital was an early adopter of electronic medical records, using a Siemens solution (Soarian Enterprise Document Management) to scan the paper documents, or receive data from interfaced information systems such as Radiology, Laboratory and the clinical information system and store these records for future reference.

"At first, we piloted the system in our billing area. Once that was a proven system, we moved onto electronically capturing clinical information," continues McGee. "However, as we began scanning in all of our medical records, we really started burning through our available storage. When we threw in the prospect of new, data-hungry medical imaging modalities on top of that, we could see that we were running out of road, and fast.

"We had to make a decision—replace our end-of-life legacy storage with more of the same or look for something completely different. We needed a cost-effective solution that would scale up without a punishing reduction in performance."

Choosing a scalable solution
The IT team investigated almost every kind of storage architecture. "From the traditional SAN setup with fibre drives to high-speed SCSI interfaces, we saw it all, but it left us cold," says McGee. "We judged everything on price and scalability, but nothing jumped out as good value for our IT spend. We asked ourselves: ‘Is there anything else out there?’"

As very high density drive technology was starting to come of age in the SAN market, the hospital approached IBM to see if it could bring something different to the table.

"IBM told us about the XIV concept, and we were very excited. We liked the innovative technology, we liked the cloud-like configuration, and, most of all, we liked the practically unlimited scalability," says McGee. "One of the biggest selling points of XIV was its intuitive user interface. You can see multiple systems through one GUI, which makes mapping volumes and allocating disk space very simple."

The hospital engaged IBM to install an asynchronously mirrored IBM XIV Storage solution connected to nine IBM BladeCenter servers and virtualized with VMware vSphere. The virtualization of its physical servers enabled the hospital to significantly decrease its data center’s physical footprint. Its new cloud platform, built on VMware with an IBM XIV storage layer, enabled a cost-efficient shift to virtualized enterprise desktop management that also improved availability and performance of user application services.

Higher performance with IBM XIV
The hospital migrated the Siemens document imaging system using the built-in XIV migration tool—and with only 20 minutes of scheduled downtime.

"During the migration, I expected a performance hit, but it was the exact opposite," says McGee. "We actually saw an increase in the performance of the system. We were moving about a terabyte and a half of data during the day while people were working, and nobody noticed. It was very satisfying to get all that data moved that quickly with minimal downtime. When the system went live, we saw an immediate speed increase over our old SAN technology, which was state of the art when we purchased it."

Today, the hospital has standardized on IBM XIV for all its mission-critical data, including billing and user information, electronic medical records, picture archiving and communication system (PACS), and even Word and Excel files. Unlike traditional storage architectures, the massively parallelized architecture of IBM XIV enables an increase in system performance when capacity is added, making the system optimal for dynamic scaling.

"Scalability was a very big concern of ours," says McGee. "In this day and age, every medical device we buy generates more and more data. With XIV, our administrators are free to continue purchasing the latest diagnostic equipment without worrying about if our storage infrastructure can cope."

A vision for the future
Says McGee. "Going forward, we’re planning to purchase more XIVs—our aim is to have multiple copies of data replicated to multiple locations to give our patients and staff maximum peace of mind."

"Our overall satisfaction with XIV is extremely high," says Vinnie McGee. "We haven't had any issues with data availability or corruption, and we’ve saved a lot in potential license costs, as XIV includes all the management tools we need. What’s more, the support is fantastic. One time, we got a call from the front desk. They told us: ‘There's an IBM tech here with a part for your system.’ It turned out that XIV detected a pre-failure on one of its drives and contacted IBM automatically. IBM opened a ticket and sent a technician out to replace the part before we were aware that there was a problem."

McGee concludes: "I've been in this business for about 24 years, and I think it's a sweet system; I’d definitely recommend it."

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

BladeCenter, Storage, Storage: XIV

Operating system:

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America August 2012 IBM, the IBM logo,, and XIV are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at Microsoft, Windows and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.