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Oasis Hospital sets pulses racing with virtualised infrastructure

Al Ain's Oasis hospital to deploy completely virtualized server environment

Al Ain’s Oasis Hospital has begun deployment of a virtualised infrastructure as part of an overall move to a new enterprise resource planning system from healthcare specialist MAIDIS.

The hospital is installing a set of completely virtualised servers from Dell with Sun Microsystems’ thin clients also likely to follow in short order.

Luis Perfetti, director of information systems at Oasis Hospital says he and his team are excited at the change: “We just got delivery from Dell for all the rackable servers – so they’re not just blades. The storage is coming from EMC. We’ll have about 20 physical servers for this project including the blades and will run about 40 virtual machines on top of the 20 physical servers.”

The hospital claims that when the deployment is complete, it will be the first fully virtualised environment for a healthcare provider in the Middle East. Oasis’s Perfetti claims that most hospitals have, to date, tried virtualisation only in a piecemeal fashion, leaving the true innovation to other verticals like banking and finance. This, he says, also leaves the healthcare industry with the problem of not knowing where to turn to for implementation advice.

“Other banks and organisations are running virtualised environments. In terms of virtualisation itself, there is some expertise [available] but definitely it’s a challenge,” he explains.

For this project, Oasis Hospital has enlisted the help of consultants from virtualisation specialist VMware, in addition to MAIDIS’s French team, who are well-accustomed to working to virtualisation in their native country.

“We will also include thin clients – we have an agreement to use Sun Rays. It’s not yet confirmed. We are [also] evaluating Wyse equipment. The Sun Ray implementation is the one that we have done a proof-of-concept for and we know that it works with the systems that we need,” he adds.

Thin clients may be particularly useful in the medical arena, where doctors and nurses move frequently between stations.

“The idea is that they will carry the smart card, put it in the system, get their single sign-on. If they have to move, they can pull it off, go to somewhere else and plug it in and they still have their session. It’s easier because they don’t have to log in and waste time doing that. Doctors complain that they have so little time to see patients which is true, of course. Anything we can do to make it faster is the key for us,” he elaborates.

Oasis Hospital’s ERP and infrastructure implementation is expected to go live in the second quarter of 2010.