The DS4800, a recent addition to IBM's DS4000 midrange line, features a 4-gigabit per second Fibre Channel architecture, providing Rex Hospital a clear upgrade path to meet its data storage requirements. "We're not going to use 4-gigabits per second right away, but the [DS4800] provides us with that capability as we upgrade our storage area network," says Dave Bullamore, manager of systems integration at the hospital.
Bullamore considered upgrading to IBM's higher-end DS6800, but concluded that the 4800 was a better match for the hospital's performance needs. The system replaces an IBM 2105 disk array that had reached the end of its maintenance life cycle, he says. The 4800 is faster, has greater storage capacity, and takes up less room.
The hospital's data center is being called on to store ever-increasing amounts of data such as X-rays, radiological images, and CT scans. The hospital recently implemented a cardiovascular picture and archiving communications system, which requires ultra-high bandwidth. "Those are videos, not still pictures," Bullamore says.
Bullamore has plenty of company in having to cope with an explosion of data. Spending by health-care facilities on storage hardware was $845 million in 2004 and is projected to hit $1.3 billion by 2008, according to market-research firm Frost and Sullivan.