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Case Study: Moffitt Cancer Center Taps Peak 10 Colocation Solution to Secure Mission-critical Systems

Moffitt Cancer Center logo

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center placing it in an elite group of cancer centers “dedicated to scientific innovation and excellence; to interdisciplinary research, training and education; and to coordinated recognition and pursuit of new research opportunities.”1 A full-service, 206-bed hospital, it also houses a 36-bed blood and marrow transplant unit; 14 operating rooms; a diagnostic radiology department with MRI, PET/CT, digital mammography and all other imaging capabilities; and a radiation therapy department with seven linear accelerators.

The Challenge – A Tale of Growth

Since its inception in 1987, Moffitt Cancer Center has experienced tremendous growth – expanding their facility from 373,377 square feet to 2 million square feet. Not surprisingly, this magnitude of growth fostered a tremendous increase in its systems footprint and the amount of data being generated, accessed and stored.

In 2004, Moffitt opened a newly-constructed data center in the basement of the hospital to house its growing systems. While the data center was built with a 10-year life expectancy, by 2011 they were nearing capacity and needed to supplement their space. Moffitt investigated data centers in the local Tampa area and ultimately chose Peak 10’s Tampa data center as an annex. Over the next couple years, Moffitt moved equipment into Peak 10’s space.

As Moffitt’s footprint continued to grow, redundancy of power and the sufficiency of the cooling systems at their onsite data center became unreliable. The Moffitt IT team found themselves having to pull non-critical operations offline to ensure the safety and stability of mission-critical systems. Understanding that their onsite data center was becoming obsolete, the IT team began contemplating business continuity plans and realized that the time had come to replace their onsite data center.

First Step: Cost Analysis – Build vs. Colocation

Initially, Moffitt conducted a cost justification analysis for building a new data center, but given their current footprint, they quickly realized that this option was neither financially viable nor core business driven. Wanting to remain laser-focused on their expertise in cancer treatment and research, leadership
approved the decision to explore colocation providers.

Next Step: Colocation

Moffitt began to consider colocation providers throughout the metro Tampa area and as far as Orlando who could cost-effectively provide the storage capacity, redundancy, resiliency and performance they needed. At the same time, Peak 10 was building a new, state-of-the-art, tier 3 data center close by. Having built a strong relationship with Peak 10 over the previous five years, Moffitt included Peak 10 in its list of potential vendors.

Impressed by their ongoing relationship as well as the robust services offered by Peak 10’s new Tampa 3 facility, Moffitt ultimately chose Peak 10 as its colocation provider. In 2015, Moffitt became the first flagship customer, occupying 1,800 square feet customer at the 19,600 square-foot data center that boasts an additional 10,300 square feet of office and support space.

“Peak 10 Tampa 3’s robust performance and service features made it stand out as the premier data center in the area,” explains John McFarland, director of architecture and engineering for Moffitt Cancer Center. “It provided the opportunity to consolidate our assets to one data center.”

According to McFarland, Peak 10’s commitment to partnering with its customers was another major factor in the decision.

“When we look for partners it isn’t only about providing technology, but also getting behind our mission,” says McFarland. “Some technology partners look at us as the next sale, but we really value ones that look at us as an important part of the community. Peak 10 has proven to be more than just a vendor for Moffitt. They have been a partner in delivering crucial colocation services and support to further our mission of preventing, treating and curing cancer.”

The Peak 10 Solution

Moffitt immediately moved its research clusters to Tampa 3, which includes 600 assets – including all mission-critical systems.

As a premier hospital and treatment center, uptime is critical to Moffitt; they need immediate, unwavering access to patient records and research data. With the bulk of their systems now residing within Tampa 3, Moffitt is banking on Peak 10 to cost effectively provide the reliability and performance they need to
drive their business mission.

To deliver the required high level of availability and ensure there are no single points of failure, Peak 10 employs a 2N UPS power distribution designw ith two independent power sources. This enables Peak 10 to guarantee 99.9+% uptime .The geographic diversity of Peak 10’s other data centers offers further support, resulting in a high level
of redundancy and reliability that is perfectly suited for Moffit’s needs.

Tampa 3 also rectifies the cooling issues Moffitt faced in its own facility. The data center’s N+1 chiller configuration and multiple CRAH offer 960 tons of available cooling to ensure Moffitt’s systems can stay online.

“Moving our primary operations to a Peak 10 facility allows us to focus on our continued growth and by partnering with Peak 10 we can leverage its team to manage the data center facility, HVAC, and power needs,” notes McFarland.

Located outside of Tampa’s flood zone, Tampa 3 is built to industry tier 3 standards and rated for a category 5 hurricane. The facility’s fuel tanks can withstand an 84-hour power outage and can be refueled indefinitely. While Moffitt’s own data center operated back-up generators and took the necessary precautions, McFarland acknowledges that those fallbacks are better suited for patient care.

“It’s nice to know that should a natural disaster occur, the Tampa 3 data center can withstand it,” expresses McFarland, who acknowledges the peace of mind this seamless continuity of services offers.

The Results

By migrating its systems to Peak 10, Moffitt was able to consolidate its systems to a single location while increasing their footprint and simplifying processes and operations. The move also provided an array of additional benefits including an increase in redundancy and availability, lowered costs, and improved performance.

“Moving our infrastructure to Peak 10’s Tampa 3 data center was strategically a good move. It’s closer to our campus and has allowed us to streamline processes and work,” states McFarland. “It also removed complications around lack of redundant power, cooling issues, and bandwidth. It’s comforting to know redundancy and high availability are achievable now.”

Peak 10’s onsite, professional staff has also been instrumental in success of the migration and the ongoing performance of Moffitt’s systems. Its 24/7/365 customer access and support allows Moffitt to access to their cages and connect with support personnel whenever they want.

Peak 10 also simplifies Moffitt’s compliance requirements through yearly independent compliance audits own their own data centers to ensure HIPAA compliant hosting, in addition to other industry regulations. With Peak 10 personnel overseeing the data center, managing access lists and running reports, Moffitt’s internal IT resources are relieved of a wealth of timeconsuming, day-to-day tasks – allowing them to focus on their core competency – running a hospital.

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David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest