I always appreciate the opportunity to speak with folks who actually use technology. It gives me a much better picture of a product than I get when talking with vendor representatives. This time, I had the opportunity to speak with Wes Wright, VP and CTO of Seattle Children's and Jake Hughes, Chief Technical Architect for Infrastructure Systems.
Please introduce yourself and your organization?
We're Wes Wright, VP and CTO of Seattle Children's
and Jake Hughes, Chief Technical Architect for Infrastructure Systems for Seattle Children's. Jake is also responsible for the design and ongoing operations of the VDI solution in use.
Seattle Children's Hospital provides excellent patient care with compassion and respect, and conducts leading-edge pediatric research. The hospital also serves as an educational resource for patients, families and healthcare professionals. It was founded in 1907. It is ranked as one of the top 10 children's hospitals in the U.S. It serves as as the pediatric referral center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. It currently has a 250 bed hospital. They are building another wing right now. The plan is to grow to 600 beds of the next 30 years.
What were you doing that needed this type of technology?
Seattle Children's was using PCs and PCs were slow. It was taking between four and ten minutes from the time the systems were turned on until they were ready to use. This was simply too long for their clinicians.
VDI was the way Seattle Children's chose to improve the speed. It now takes roughly 43 seconds from power on until they are ready to work.
Furthermore, people move from workstation to workstation during the day. They've logged over 100,000 moves during a month. In this case, it takes only 13 seconds for clinician to reconnect to a session during the day. Workers have been trained to log on once during the day and then move from station to station as needed.
What products did you consider before making a selection?
VMware VMview and Citrix XenDesktop were both candidates. Citrix came out with a 2 for one trade-in program that made the decision very easy to make. The cost reduction combined with what Citrix does made the decision easy.
Wyse Zero Clients connect to Windows 7 virtual desktops that is supported by Citrix XenDesktop. The applications are also virtualized using Citrix's XenApp. This entire workload is being supported on a Cisco UCS system.
What tangible benefits have you received through the use of this products?
The number one tangible benefit was more quickly offering IT services to clinicians. In Seattle Children's workflow analysis it became clear that clinicians get about 45 minutes back every day to do other work.
Reducing the overall cost of ownership was an important secondary benefit. The cost due to updating software was dramatically reduced. By replacing PCs with Zero Clients, Seattle Childrens has saved a great deal of money on power as well.
What advice would you offer others facing similar circumstances?
Do a lot of pre-work. You can't just buy the products and slam them in and think that they're going to work. A great deal of workflow analysis is needed before a virtual desktop should be deployed. Our deployment is the result of 4 years of work not something that happened overnight.