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Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc is the largest hospital in Brussels, Belgium. As the partner of the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Saint-Luc is the first European hospital to be recognized worldwide for its clinical research, to become one of the top hospitals in Europe alongside the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England.
According to the World Bank, Belgium has 3 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, a slight increase over the 2.5 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants in the United States and 1.5 in China. Hospitals in Belgium provide the best healthcare and nursing services to its citizens, supported by a number of dedicated healthcare centers and world-renowned medical teams.

Background

Saint-Luc attaches great importance to teaching and research, and is committed to provide patients with reliable and convenient healthcare services as well as state-of-the-art medical technologies. The hospital wanted its doctors to spend more time with their patients, reduce the time it takes to search through medical records, and facilitate the access and examination of research reports.

Challenges

IT began to play a more important role at the facility, where hospital operators have built a unified information platform that stores all clinical, administrative, and medical information. The sub-systems include databases, virtualization capabilities, file sharing, email, forensic video, office applications, as well as a long list of other utilities. However, the rapid growth in medical services has caused a slowdown in some of the service systems operating on the platform. The amount of storage space that remained was small. In addition, the old storage devices had reduced performance levels and capacities. Many of these devices could not be expanded. The older systems were unable to meet the growing storage needs at the data center.

The doctors aspired to spend as much time as possible with each patient. Saint-Luc had helped doctors improve productivity in everything from calling up medical records to accessing medical images so their priority would move closer to reality.

To finally achieve their goal, the IT systems required faster response times. The existing systems had proved to be a hindrance.

Solution

The data volume on the unified information platform at Saint-Luc had experienced increases by over 20 percent per year. After deployment of Huawei’s storage solution, employee access to IT systems accelerated by 500 percent while TCO dropped by over 50 percent. The solution ensured critical services remained operating around the clock.

Breakthrough improvements in performance with easy-to-use features

After comparison of a large number of solutions from established vendors, the hospital selected Huawei’s end-to-end data storage solution. This solution included everything from arrays and tiered storage to SSD accelerations, unified O&M, backup solutions, and Disaster Recovery (DR) programs. Huawei provided a tiered storage design to meet the varying application response requirements. The unified information platform, clinical research systems, databases, virtualization platforms, and other features all use high-end SAN storage. The addition of SSDs helped increase performance dramatically. Email, medical imaging, forensic video, and other elements are deployed on mid-range storage appliances, to fully satisfy structured and unstructured data requirements. Deployment of SmartQoS safeguards service performance at varying quality levels, with increased response speeds for some critical services by 500 percent. Doctors do not have to wait for office computers to catch up to their service requests so they can now spend additional time with their patients. This solution was the right choice for the customer.

Huawei’s end-to-end data storage solution has a scaleout architecture expandable to eight controllers, 32 PB in capacity, and up to 800,000 IOPS in performance. System performance increases linearly as more controllers are added. Also, OceanStor V3 storage appliances’ features and specs fully correspond to the building requirements at Saint-Luc. The hospital can now add and configure controllers as needed, so operators do not have to worry about performance degradation as systems are expanded in the future.

Maximum value of limited resources

For years, Saint-Luc had invested in IT with consecutive online systems. Amid technical constraints, most of these systems were deployed in isolation, each with its own storage equipment. This created difficulties in sharing of resources. In addition, equipment from diverse vendors had been deployed throughout the mix to create management complications. Huawei provided the hospital with inline de-duplication and compression functions that helped reduce the required storage media amount, to save in cabinet space and lower TCO.

Saint-Luc was also impressed by Huawei’s eSight management software, capable of storage device, server, and network switch management in a unified method. Everything can be done over one unified interface. Deployment of BCManager disaster recovery software provides the hospital with full data protection assurances to safeguard applications, automate associated management processes, and offer a visualized view of the DR layout. eSight and BCManager have made equipment O&M and service management processes clear. Saint-Luc has been able to improve its management efficiencies across the board without additional staff.

Services online 24/7

For most other industries, IT system failures and data loss would result in a loss of revenue. However, at hospitals, these same outcomes can have potential life-threatening consequences. With this in mind, Saint-Luc needed its systems to provide the best performance and reliability available.

For service continuity at the hospital, Huawei provided an integrated SAN/NAS layout powered by its HyperMetro active-active solution. HyperMetro ensures the high availability of databases and file services, while in-solution mirroring capabilities helps keep loads balanced. These, along with the ability to manage cross-center devices without service interruption, ensure zero data loss and maintain continuous services operations. The solution also allows Saint-Luc to expand into a geo-redundant solution (three centers in two locations for superior DR protection) as they continue to broaden their resources.

Benefits

The Huawei solution has not only resolved the storage bottleneck, slow service response, problematic management, high TCO, and high risk of service interruption, but it has also been able to expand to fit future requirements. Huawei’s end-to-end solution benefited Saint-Luc in the following ways:

  • 500% improvement in application performance
  • 50% drop in O&M costs for storage equipment
  • 24/7 reliability assurances keep critical services up and running around the clock
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