After speaking with suppliers, I find it enlightening to speak with someone actually putting technology to use to learn more about what they are doing and why. I recently had the opportunity to communicate with Jason, Beckham, the VP of Information Technology for PayFormance Corporation about his organization's use of NetApp's storage and software combined with VMware vSphereTM, QLogic QLE8152 Converged Network Adapters, Cisco Nexus 5010, EMC CLARiiON arrays and Hitachi Data Systems . Here is what Jason had to say.
Please briefly introduce yourself and your organization.
My name is Jason Beckham, I am the Vice President of Information Technology for Payformance Corporation, a company operating in the healthcare payment industry. Payformance facilitates payments to providers such as doctor’s offices and hospitals from payers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield. We streamline the payment process and correlate claims data with the disbursements. Providers can then log into our system via the internet and rectify their payments with their claims. Our process greatly reduces the overhead costs involved and speeds up the time for a provider to be paid, especially if they are being paid electronically via EFT/ACH.
What were you doing that required this type of technology?
We were in the process of refreshing our infrastructure in support of company growth. The aging equipment was not keeping up with the demands of our database and virtualization platforms IO and bandwidth requirements.
What products did you consider before making a selection?
We evaluated EMC VMAX, Hitachi USP-V, and 3PAR during the selection phase.
Why did you select this product?
NetApp demonstrated versatility for connectivity and innovation in the form of intelligent caching of read data as well as offering multi-protocol support such as FC, FCoE, i-SCSI, CIFS, and NFS. NetApp was the ideal solution for our infrastructure’s varied needs. NetApp offered a “single pane of glass” approach for block and file access whereas, at the time, other vendors had to integrate multiple disparate products to accomplish the same functionality.
What tangible benefit have you realized through the use of this product?
Significant performance improvements in database responsiveness and batch processing times. Ease of management.
What advice would you offer others?
Understand your infrastructure and business needs. Ensure they are aligned appropriately. Be prepared for unexpected growth. Fully understand the product’s benefits so that you are able to leverage it to the fullest extent.
As Jason Beckham points out, it is very important to start with a basic understanding of the organization's requirements, what it is doing and only then start planning a solution. The solution needs to include plans for both growth and for changing technology.
I've seen failures occur far more often when the organization began with a product and then built around it. I'm reminded of something Ambraham Maslow said, "He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail." How many products have failed because the problem looked perfect for a favored, familiar product.