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VCE Vblocks help healthcare provider fix data center footprint issues

When Molina Healthcare installed all-flash converged infrastructure, it was able to reclaim precious floor space in the data center while satisfying its most sensitive apps.

Seeing a decrease in floor space as well as an increase in performance and capacity is a great story to tell management. That's a story Ben Gordon, VP of enterprise infrastructure services at Molina Healthcare Inc., got to tell after installing all-flash VCE Vblocks in his data center.

Molina is a healthcare provider based in Long Beach, Calif., with additional offices across the United States. The company was growing so quickly that they were beginning to run out of floor space in their New Mexico data center. On top of that, they needed to support a high-volume call center and member-based applications which experienced performance spikes each year during periods of open healthcare enrollment.

Molina had already been a VCE customer -- they had Vblock 700 and 300 series already installed. But as their existing hybrid Vblock systems were aging, they used the opportunity to replace some with VCE's newest addition to its converged infrastructure lineup: the higher-capacity, all-flash Vblock 740.

Converged infrastructures combine data center components from several different vendors that are pre-tested to work together in one chassis. The Vblock 740 converged infrastructure uses Cisco UCS servers, Cisco switching and EMC VMAX all-flash storage. That's opposed to hyper-converged infrastructure (which VCE also sells) which includes a hypervisor as well as software that typically provides additional management and features.

"We were trying to be very conscientious about our use of data center space, and with the all-flash technology VCE came out with we went from one petabyte of data sitting on six floor racks down to one," Gordon said.

According to Gordon, that reduced floor space, in addition to the cooling savings stemming from the lack of moving parts in flash storage, also led to an 18% savings in overall power and cooling costs.

Performance, management are pluses for VCE Vblocks

The ease of installation of converged systems was also a big selling point for Molina. "They spend a lot of time making sure all the components work together, and that's almost like a mythical unicorn, trying to chase that down in IT," Gordon said. "The cool thing about VCE, and convergence in general if it's done right, is it's engineered to work together and it solves a lot of those compatibility problems."

The cool thing about VCE, and convergence in general if it's done right, is it's engineered to work together and it solves a lot of those compatibility problems.
Ben GordonVP of enterprise infrastructure services, Molina Healthcare Inc.

Easier management was another reason the all-flash VCE Vblocks were attractive for Molina. Gordon said that in the past, the IT team put a lot of time into determining which applications and data should reside on what type of storage in order to maximize capacity and storage cost savings. By using all-flash Vblocks exclusively for mission-critical apps, Molina was able to step away from spending as much time on tiering.

Today, Molina's 10 most mission-critical applications reside on the VCE Vblocks. Gordon said response times are now down to less than .5 milliseconds for demanding workloads, and he's confident that environment will be able to easily scale to handle the expected traffic spikes this coming January.

"We went from 301 to 201 in the Fortune 500 list so I'm guessing we'll be buying more, but the cool thing is now I've got floor space to accommodate it," Gordon said.

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