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An Insider's Look at HPE SimpliVity: Phelps Memorial Health Center

JanetRunberg

HPE SimpliVity Insiders View.jpgFounded in 1968, Phelps Memorial Health Center is a top critical access hospital in the U.S., providing over 100 healthcare services including medical and emergency services, home healthcare, and community education services. Their focus on patient care and the patient experience helped them earn a 4-star designation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2019.

Network engineer Nate Bennett provides an HPE SimpliVity Insider’s view of their hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) deployment. His small IT team of 3-5 people supports 300+ healthcare professionals, and a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that extends from the central data center to remote clinics. Here is his story.

Growing pains

Five years ago, we set up our first VDI deployment with roughly 100 desktops. We had one big rack of technology – storage, servers, and networking switches. Our data center included components of various ages from multiple vendors. One of our medical clinics was running standalone servers and storage. It wasn’t a cohesive infrastructure.

Our VDI environment ran into performance issues within a couple years: super-long login times, reboots that took half an hour, and painfully slow recompose operations for VMware linked clones. We were limping along. We had tapped out the system, and it wasn’t built for easy expansion. We needed a consolidated solution that was simple for our small IT team to manage.

HCI for VDI – and beyond

We narrowed our choices down to three vendors. HPE SimpliVity stood out for us, because it offered significant cost savings over the lifetime of the product. And the performance, dedupe, and scalability are all beneficial in a VDI environment.

Phelps-healthcare-SimpliVity.jpgIn the last three years, we replaced our VDI stack plus all of our aging production and disaster recovery (DR) HCI’s with HPE SimpliVity all-flash models. Our new system is rocket fast – I can restart a server in 15-20 seconds, and that saves hours when our IT team is performing system maintenance. End users now have much shorter wait times, too. Even in a bootstorm, logins only take 30-45 seconds (about 4x faster than before). HPE SimpliVity gave us the speed and capacity to grow to 300 concurrent VDI desktops, with plenty of storage capacity to handle growth.

HPE SimpliVity is extremely easy to use, simple to manage, and it provides visibility to remote clinic data. Plus, I have choices to expand inside or outside the HCI box. When Phelps Memorial began to provide remote access for two other hospitals, it was simple to add them to the VDI cluster – we just deployed more Gen 10 HCI nodes in the current federation.

Tips for other HPE SimpliVity users

  • Don’t overlook HPE SimpliVity DR features. We experienced boot drive failures over a holiday weekend and were able to failover, reconfigure VDI pools and get them running on our DR site in about 4-5 hours. HPE SimpliVity saved the day.
  • Join the HPE SimpliVity Insiders community. The technical articles are excellent. The Education Corner has tips from other users, and stuff I didn’t know that I didn’t know – information about monitoring, health check info, that sort of thing.
  • Go to the HPE SimpliVity blogsite for deep dive technical blogs that give you a good feel for the interface. Damian Erangey’s recent blog series provides useful advice on VM management.

Moving to a hyperconverged future

In 2019, we began migrating our Windows server environment from traditional servers over to HPE SimpliVity HCI. We were able to free up quite a bit of resources during this process and its performance is fantastic. Someday soon, we anticipate we will be fully HCI and will be able to remove the traditional architecture.

 

To learn more about HPE SimpliVity in VDI environments, download the HPE SimpliVity Client Virtualization Planning Guide. To hear more from HPE hyperconverged customers in their own words, check out HPE SimpliVity Upshot stories.

Janet


Janet Runberg
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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HPE SimpliVity Insiders is a user community for current hyperconverged technology customers. Users share tips, and are eligible for HPE rewards and exclusive access to the extended HPE SimpliVity team. If you’d like to be invited to join the community, contact jennifer.insiders@hpe.com

 

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About the Author

JanetRunberg

I’ve been with HP/HPE for 10 years covering data storage, software-defined storage, and now hyperconvergence and software-defined infrastructure as part of the HPE SimpliVity team.