For Complex Data Center Transformation ABIM Chooses Anexinet!

When it comes to choosing a doctor all of us have heard the expression "Board Certified," but few of us know what that actually means. 

For more than 75 years, certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has stood for the highest quality standards in internal medicine. Certification means physicians have demonstrated they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for delivering excellent patient care. 

With an environment like that, it is imperative that every department in ABIM deliver their services with a matching degree of excellence. In that regard no area in ABIM requires more precise attention to detail than its information technology operation. With internal users developing and publishing exams, providing email services and a data bank pool, and close to 300,000 diplomats who check their exam results and certification status, there is a constant need to provide new applications and increased availability to all users. 

According to Maciej (Matt) Calhoun, ABIM’s Director of System Operations, “When I was first hired by ABIM, I was tasked with completing a virtualization project as part of a datacenter consolidation initiative. We had 45+ physical servers with many applications and unstructured files that demanded shared access. There was no clear role for each server; instead each had 15 to 20 different roles. This effected our ability to address both planned and upland downtime and created exposure when general maintenance tasks needed to be completed. For example, when we needed to reboot a server it took down 20-some applications, which effected uptime on key mission-critical business processes. When considering the power, cooling and maintenance requirements, (as well as the need to deploy new applications in order to meet the organization's demands), the decision to transform the datacenter from physical to virtual was the only option.”
Calhoun distributed an RFP to multiple companies to bid on this project. Of all the bids, he says only Anexinet wanted to do an assessment to determine and address his needs. 

Anexinet is an award winning systems integrator and technology management company that enables clients to optimize the value of their IT investments for improving performance and operational processes. 

Says Calhoun, "Anexinet's assessment methodology gave us a great understanding of what we needed as well as a complete map of how to ‘get to completion.’ All the other companies said 'you need this many terabytes, many servers', with no true discovery of our existing environment. Anexinet came in and measured the performance of the servers, which was key in making a successful transition from a physical to a virtual environment.” 
The result is not only a savings for ABIM that exceeded $200,000, but also the creation of an environment that will allow Calhoun’s IT department to provide improved services. He says, “Better service will be provided by rewriting the software, and our new data center environment will allow for us to meet the demands through the development effort. Virtualization gives us the flexibility to scale our environment as needed." 

Calhoun has since done other projects with Anexinet. A recent project was the procurement of additional storage area networks. “We put out a bid to multiple companies to tell determine the best storage option for ABIM. What I liked about Anexinet is that they have experience with multiple storage vendors -3PAR, EMC and HP LeftHand Storage being among them. They were the only vendor who was able to come in and differentiate between the various technologies. They made the caveats for each system very clear and explained what would really work best for our environment. The knowledge they have of both multiple vendors and industry trends is remarkable. It continues to be a very positive experience.” 

Having a diversity of product awareness and an exemplary technical knowledge of each system is very important to us; but it is honesty and customer service that gives ABIM the biggest reasons for working with Anexinet.
Calhoun adds, “We had a feeling that Anexinet would recommend a specific technology, but they listened to us and were very honest in explaining the pros and cons of the other options. They always tell us the real story without 'sugar coating' anything. Simply put, I trust these guys.” 

As for customer service, “They are very responsive. We have developed a trusted relationship. I can ping them at any time and they'll answer any kind of question. If we have Cisco issues, Exchange issues, anything, they are always willing to help. It's really nice to be able to go to one vendor who knows our infrastructure - from implementation of VMware, to our efforts to update our IP schemes, to putting our Cisco backbone in - their knowledge of our systems makes it much easier to accelerate through our IT initiatives. And that's another compelling factor why we continue to work and stay loyal to them.” 

Calhoun sums it up quite simply: “They are unique. I don’t want to give them big heads, but we are really pleased doing business with Anexinet."

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