languageaccessnetwork

Language Access Network & Real-Time Remote Video Interpretation for Hospitals

Business Needs

Virtualized private cloud infrastructure to support the deployment of a custom real-time video platform to 600 hospitals.

Solution

Nutanix Complete Cluster with VMware vSphere 5

Benefits

  • Ease of Deployment: Nutanix’ converged virtualization appliance enables LAN’s IT team to drop a 2U box at a site that’s immediately ready to go. Integration of the server, SAN, networking and hypervisor make the process amazingly simple compared to traditional models of server and SANs. Nutanix also offers predictable performance as LAN scales its virtualization efforts to support more hospitals
  • Modular Scalability: Additional nodes can be added as needed to meet storage and compute requirements without having to pay huge upfront costs on systems with unnecessary amounts of capacity that LAN would have to grow into.
  • Cost Savings: When comparing to UCS and NetApp offerings, LAN realized that the comparable Nutanix solution in terms of compute and storage not only cost less than the Netapp storage alone, but also delivered greater performance in terms of IOPS.

Company Background

Ohio-based Language Access Network (LAN) provides real-time, on-demand Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) to people with limited English proficiency or who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing at over 200 hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide. LAN provides services 24/7/365 and has over 210 languages available at the push of a button.

With their primary datacenter facility in Columbus, Ohio, LAN recently started virtualization efforts with the goal of more efficiently managing their datacenter and maximizing utilization of hardware. As the company grows to supporting 600 hospitals by 2014, the IT organization will need to scale its supporting infrastructure to keep pace.

Business Needs

As the company began its service expansion to a greater network of hospitals, LAN faced the challenge of how to scale its existing Cisco Unified Communications (UC) video platform while maintaining IT costs. VP of Network Services, Josh O’Brien, realized virtualization would be a key foundation for its expansion strategy. He began by looking at the VCE Vblock architecture due to its support of the Cisco UC video conference platform and his prior experience with Cisco UCS. His team quickly realized this approach would cost at least $100K over their allocated budget and would cut into the team’s core business goals, and thus began to look for alternatives.

To remove the dependency on Cisco UC, O’Brien and team instead took on an ambitious plan to build a custom, in-house video platform that wouldn’t restrict them to one hardware brand, sourcing components from CIC Interactive Intelligence, Microsoft and Polycom. Their platform, known as MARTTI (My Accessible Real-Time Trusted Interpreter), would be the core workload virtualized in a private cloud infrastructure.

Nutanix gives us a predictable building block for our datacenter that delivers plenty of performance for our business critical video platform without worrying about issues like network bottlenecks or performance throttling when storage controllers reach capacity. No other products can offer this level of IO performance and power draw in just 2U.

Josh O’Brien, VP of Network Services

Starting the Virtualization Journey

LAN initiated its virtualization efforts by leveraging older IBM and HP hardware to consolidate several backoffice workloads including Sharepoint and SQL, but knew it would need a next-generation platform to enable the required performance for its MARTTI video platform. To scale from supporting 200 locations to providing their services to over 600 hospitals and healthcare facilities over a multi-year period, O’Brien wanted a modular solution that could scale in a building block fashion as the requirements ramped.

When explaining his decision to choose Nutanix, O’Brien said, “A Nutanix 2U block delivers greater usable capacity than a big Vblock, and with an Arista 7124SX 10GigE switch and VMware vSphere licenses, still fits into our budget while Vblock was $100K over. The choice was easy. We know we can just add another node to the cluster when we need to grow and have predictable performance.”

Nutanix Complete Cluster enables LAN to scale the delivery of their video and communications platform by simply adding a node or block to the system to grow to any size, versus sizing to fit much larger increments of a Vblock. A single node acts as a vSphere host with Dual Intel Xeon x5650 processors for compute and 5 TB of storage built-in, providing a much more granular way to scale-out that manages costs in-line with business needs while maintaining a single system that is easier to manage.

Partnering with Nutanix

With new technology comes the concern about what will happen if any issues arise. The Nutanix Support Engineering Team put all of O’Brien’s concerns to rest with his first support experience. When O’Brien ran into a small hiccup with a workload during initial installation, he explained, “Nutanix Support Engineering reacted faster than any vendor I’ve seen, with a level of transparency and commitment unheard of in this industry. We see Nutanix as a true partner versus just another vendor.”

Nutanix is going to make every new call center datacenter we build incredibly simple. Drop in an appliance, calibrate a couple things and it’s ready and functioning. I also truly believe that this is the way virtualized infrastructure is going. Every major scale-out datacenter in the world like Google, Yahoo, and Amazon are already using this converged compute and storage approach for better performance and scale-out. Nutanix made the leap for the rest of us, giving us access to the technology that only Google has with its vast amount of resources.

Josh O’Brien, VP of Network Services

Building a Private Cloud for the Future with Nutanix

With nearly 1400 endpoints deployed at hundreds of hospitals nationwide and hundreds more coming online, LAN wanted to ensure that the architecture being put in place would support the company’s business needs for years to come. Cost savings in the short term was a key benefit, but core to the IT strategy was the goal of laying the foundation for a private cloud that would provision on-demand resources for the delivery of the MARTTI platform.

In O’Brien’s words, “Nutanix is going to make every new call center datacenter we build incredibly simple. Drop in an appliance, calibrate a couple things and it’s ready and functioning. I also truly believe that this is the way virtualized infrastructure is going. Every major scale-out datacenter in the world like Google, Yahoo, and Amazon are already using this converged compute and storage approach for better performance and scale-out. Nutanix made the leap for the rest of us, giving us access to the technology that only Google has with its vast amount of resources.”

Future plans include using Nutanix to deploy call centers across all US time zones, migrating other server workloads from the older HP and IBM hardware onto the cluster and repurposing this older hardware for disaster recovery. Since expanding the Nutanix cluster for greater private cloud capacity is now such an easy process for the IT organization, LAN is well-poised to reach for its long term goal of integrating with as many of the 6000 hospitals in the United States as possible.