New Orleans, Louisiana skyline.

May 01 2017
Data Center

How a Hyperconverged System Transformed Louisiana’s Health Department

The state’s public health agency added big savings and flexibility to its computing environment by modifying the IT infrastructure.

Sometimes new technology provides such a positive transformation for an organization that it becomes difficult to capture the impact.

It happened for Louisiana this year when the state moved forward on a project to deploy Dell-Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure for the Louisiana Department of Health.

Louisiana will deploy 26 Dell-Nutanix hyperconverged systems in each of its two data centers. The systems will handle the server computing for LDH and all future state modernization programs, including the state’s Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS).

As a result of the upgrade, Louisiana Chief Technology Officer Michael Allison notes that in some instances the state will replace 40-year-old mainframe systems.

“The decision to move to Dell-Nutanix saved the state millions of dollars on this project and allowed us to procure additional technologies to bolster the state’s virtualization and cloud computing strategy,” says Allison.

The impetus for the project was for the state to comply with the technology requirements for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS project was funded 90 percent by the federal government and 10 percent by the state. The new systems will start by running eligibility and enrollment for the state’s health department.

Allison says the project was so high-profile that state executives spoke directly with top-level executives at Dell. A few years ago, Dell launched a strategic agreement to resell Nutanix’s hyperconverged platform.

“The Dell people talked about the future of the Dell-Nutanix relationship and how it would be a strategic platform for them moving forward,” Allison says.

He adds that new systems will let the IT team spin up services easily as virtual machines. This design aligns with the state’s cloud-first strategy and will allow seamless scalability between on-premises and public cloud solutions.

Creating a More Flexible, Software-Based Environment

Scott Lowe, partner and CEO at consultancy ActualTech Media, says hyperconverged computing can get organizations into a pay-as-you-go environment in which organizations buy only the computing resources required at the time.

“Hyperconverged computing really lets organizations rightsize an environment, which is much more difficult to do with traditional infrastructure,” Lowe says. “Plus, from an operations standpoint, it’s much easier to manage. Storage exists in the server and is not managed as a separate resource.”

While the Nutanix technology has impressed Allison, what really sold him on the technology project was adding VMware’s NSX technology as a software-based network overlay.

“NSX was the piece that completed the solution,” he says. “Not only did it address the concerns of managing data traffic, but it provided an additional layer of security for the state’s defense-in-depth strategy by leveraging the microsegmentation and security policies within NSX.”

The LDH project is scheduled to go live in August of this year, while other LDH and DCFS systems will come online throughout the remainder of 2017 and 2018.


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