New server OS may benefit hospitals

Windows Server 2003 could have significant benefits for Counties-Manukau and Waitemata district health boards, says healthAlliance, the body which runs IT for the two boards.

Windows Server 2003 could have significant benefits for Counties-Manukau and Waitemata district health boards, says healthAlliance, the body which runs IT for the two boards.

HealthAlliance infrastructure planning manager Alistair Neave says his organisation has had Server 2003 running in the lab and plans to have it in a production environment this week.

HealthAlliance, which is moving from Windows Server 2000, says the main benefit the 2003 version potentially offers is allowing high-resolution images to be accessed remotely by radiography staff over a dial-up connection.

“We have a need for radiographers to be able to look at images of x-rays and ultrasounds,” says Neave, “and in the past radiographers on call at the weekend have had to come in.”

It is already possible to send high-resolution radiography images over broadband, “but JetStream isn’t available to everyone”.

Windows Server 2003’s terminal server features enable those images to be sent via a dial-up connection, using a virtual private network and thin client software, Neave says.

“We limit VPN access to terminal server — people on a VPN session can only gain access via terminal server.”

Refreshes and keystrokes are sent via a thin client in that arrangement and high-resolution images can be successfully transmitted that way with Windows Server 2003, but not with 2000.

HealthAlliance is planning to implement Windows Server 2003 on one server this week so that radiographers can test it.

“If it’s successful, we’ll upgrade the whole terminal server farm.”

Windows Server 2003 promises other improvements on the 2000 version, including better load balancing between servers, but the radiography benefit was the key driver to healthAlliance taking part in the New Zealand early adopter programme, Neave says.

  • Microsoft gave distributors less than a week’s notice in late March that it was discontinuing Windows 2000 from April 1.

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