Auckland network speeds patient info

Two Sun servers and a lengthy 100Mbit/s ethernet link have been instrumental in the implementation of patient information management software at Waitemata District Health Board.

Two Sun servers and a lengthy 100Mbit/s ethernet link have been instrumental in the implementation of patient information management software at Waitemata District Health Board.

The UK-developed PiMS, a database-independent management system installed earlier at Counties-Manukau DHB, is now, after an 18-month implementation project, running at Waitemata.

The two Sun V880s servers, four-processor machines installed in December, house the two DHBs’ PiMS databases, says Alistair Neave, infrastructure planning manager at healthAlliance, the organisation which administers IT for the two boards.

The servers also host “a small Delphic Labs database for lab reports for both boards”. The bill for the two servers was $229,000 “with a trade-in of two old Sun 4500s”.

At present PiMS and the Oracle 11i financials package the two boards share are running across the metropolitan area network, or MAN, which has the potential to be scaled up to 1Gbit/s.

The network also has termination points at Waitakere Hospital and Auckland DHB’s Grafton and Greenlane sites.

The 100Mbit/s IP-based ethernet link was provided by Telecom. It is being utilised at 2% of its capacity, peaking at 15%. That will change in the future. “It will be used for other things, like sending images.”

Neave says the MAN is performing well, with very low latency.

“There’s only one switch and no routers and latency times aren’t noticeably different from that of a LAN.

“There’s no detectable difference between local servers and servers across the link. That gives us the ability to locate servers where they’re most appropriate.”

Another part of the project was implementing a server farm.

“We’re running PiMS as a thin client, with 10 Windows 2000 terminal servers.”

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