July 20, 2004

eGROUP extends virtual computing infrastructure with IBM hardware and VMWare "VMotion" for Charlotte Orthopedic Specialists

Company Release

(Charlotte, NC) - In another bold move forward for computing agility and platform resilience, the eGroup enterprise services team extended the capabilities of Charlotte Orthopedic Specialists (COS) mission-critical virtual systems fabric.

This virtual fabric, which eGroup designed exclusively with IBM intel server technology, is upheld by IBM xSeries 365 quad-processor and 345 dual-processor servers - all interconnected to an IBM FastT 600 Turbo SAN using redundant fiber-channel controllers and multipath failover support.

The result is a powerful computing infrastructure that offers the best of utility or "grid" computing and resilient processing power for all mission-critical systems within the data center - to include their "virtualized" two-node Microsoft Windows Server 2003 cluster running Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise.

Management of the solution is provided by VMware VirtualCenter - a virtual infrastructure management software that provides a central point of control for their data center's virtual computing resources. VirtualCenter has created a more responsive data center for COS, enabling faster reconfiguration and reallocation of applications and services. It allows instant provisioning of network services, while decreasing user-downtime. Their data center is now optimized to connect their information technology to their business needs.

Despite the cost-efficiency, firepower, and manageability of eGroup's virtual computing solution, the real jaw-dropping, "gee-whiz" feature of the virtual fabric is delivered by VMware "VMotion" VMware VMotion, requiring a SAN and Gigabit network connectivity between servers, provides zero-downtime maintenance and ensures 100% service availability - enabling fast reconfiguration and optimization of resources across the virtual infrastructure.

In COS' environment, VMotion allows IT staff to migrate or "move" running virtual machines to different physical servers connected to the same storage area network (SAN) without service interruption - allowing zero-downtime maintenance by moving servers around so that underlying hardware and storage can be serviced without disrupting user sessions.

Since COS uses both Citrix Presentation Server v3.0 and Citrix Secure Gateway for 24x7 secure remote access to transcription applications or vital patient data, the ability for VMotion to migrate these running virtual machines quickly is a plus. The fact that these virtual Citrix machines can be migrated without dropping user sessions is nothing short of revolutionary.

Michael Brannen, IT Director for COS, refers to the elegance of the solution in a slightly different way; "It gets better by the day. In a few weeks we'll be able to retire!!"

eGroup doesn't think so. With the announcement this week of the merger between Charlotte Orthopedic Specialists and Miller Orthopaedic clinic - quite possibly catapulting the combined group forward as the largest private Orthopedic practice in the country - the COS IT staff is now free to work on the real task at hand... That is, the process of consolidating two business operations into a unified entity with full confidence that the IT systems have the agility and scalability to support it.