As IT teams transition from legacy physical data center infrastructures to hyperconverged, cloud-based platforms, it’s important to remember that newer systems, like the old ones, might require certain certifications to maintain compliance with industry-specific regulations.
Forward-looking companies eyeing software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), for example, might need their new platforms sanctioned by their software supplier and possibly by industry regulators before they can transition to a production system. HCI virtualizes the traditional hardware components of a data center – namely, compute servers, networking equipment, and storage devices – and runs them in software instances, typically on commercial, off-the-shelf servers.
In software form, this “equipment” becomes easy and fast to provision, reconfigure, move and decommission. As a result, companies gain greater agility to be responsive to new and emerging requirements.
Agility in Healthcare
Healthcare providers, for instance, can reduce patient risk by using more agile, modern systems that better enable them to quickly respond to change. While replacing legacy systems can be painful and costly in terms of reskilling or hiring new IT talent, waiting until a system is broken to advance to more dynamic, virtualized infrastructure can ultimately harm patients, wrote Elizabeth Dowd in a July 2018 article for Healthcare IT Infrastructure.
Throwing good money after bad could also be more costly for healthcare providers in the long run, according to Dowd.
Consider, for example, the MEDITECH healthcare information system (HCIS) and electronic health record (EHR), which has been around for decades and is used by more than 2300 institutions worldwide. Healthcare providers using this system must operate it on equipment that has been officially certified to support it. Patient care is highly dependent on the data in the HCIS/EHR, so it’s imperative that the systems run with near-100 percent uptime.
Because patient data is highly confidential and regulated by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules, the certified system must also pass muster on security and privacy capabilities.
“MEDITECH is a concrete solution on which the medical experience rests,” said Jon Kohler, technical director of healthcare solutions at Nutanix.
“It’s one of the top electronic health record systems in its market space, but from a virtualization and storage infrastructure perspective, it’s one of the more challenging applications to deal with…which means certification [of its underlying platform] is absolutely required.”
Optimized for Improved Productivity
Nutanix is among the first HCI software platform in the industry to receive MEDITECH certification in support of MEDITECH’s Expanse, 6.x, Client/Server, and MAGIC systems, Kohler said.
“This certification is important because customer's look for a high level of assurance from their HCIS ISV that the underlying infrastructure is fit for purpose. If you don’t have it, your customer will be on to the next supplier.”
Nutanix collaborated with MEDITECH, BridgeHead and CommVault to develop an optimized platform for the HCIS/EHR. The effort delivered a set of features that helped to improve physician productivity with faster results “so they can get what they need, when they need it,” said Kohler.
Leveraging new technologies such as non-volatile memory express (NVMe) for accelerated storage access means that the platform is enterprise-ready and can support even the largest healthcare providers, he said.
“With Nutanix, you can virtualize your entire MEDITECH environment on a single cost-effective, hyperconverged platform,” said Kohler.
“Scaling is simple. You can go from pilot to production and grow your business without redesigning your architecture or incurring downtime. To manage costs, you can pay as you grow your HCIS environment,” he said.