Q&A with Kirk Larson, Vice President and CIO at Children’s Hospital Central California

Recently we sat down with Kirk Larson, Vice President and CIO at Children’s Hospital Central California, to find out how NetApp solutions are helping them treat patients and grow for the future.


Welcome to NetApp 360! Can you tell us about Children’s Hospital Central California and your role there?


Kirk Larson: I’m the Vice President and CIO for Children’s Hospital Central California. We’re a 348 bed not-for-profit children’s hospital in Madera, California with a medical staff of 525 physicians. We’re one of the ten largest pediatric hospitals in the country and the busiest in the state of California. Since 1951, we’ve been working hard to provide high-quality, comprehensive healthcare services to children, regardless of their ability to pay, and to continuously improve the health and well being of children


What was the reasoning behind your decision to upgrade your storage infrastructure?


KL: Our previous storage solution was end of life. Considering the strategic importance of data storage, we were looking for someone to partner with.  We need to maintain a high level of system uptime, provide quick access to patient data, and ensure reliable data protection and we do so with strict service level agreements (SLAs). We determined that the best way to meet these SLAs was to implement a new data storage solution to support and protect our PACS, access control, inventory management, email, file sharing, billing, and other mission-critical applications. The new storage platform would also need to help us streamline IT operations. We worked with CDW Healthcare, a technology solutions provider, to determine the best way to address our data storage needs and concluded that NetApp was the partner we wanted to work with.


What NetApp solutions are Children’s using?


KL: We migrated dozens of critical hospital systems and 135 terabytes of data onto primary and disaster recovery data centers based on NetApp FAS6210HA clusters with almost no interruption to our hospital staff. The storage efficiencies provided by the NetApp deduplication reduced our storage capacity requirements by a third for some systems and helped ensure staff could access the right data quickly and efficiently.


The hospital protects clinical and administrative data with NetApp’s integrated data protection, which provides high-availability, backup, compliance and disaster recovery capabilities from a single platform. We also use NetApp SnapShot and SnapRestore applications for data backup and recovery Virtual Storage Console to manage data protection in our email, relational database, and virtualization environments. We were happy to see that the NetApp hardware and software also worked with our VMware solutions, which allowed us to run 300 virtual servers in an infrastructure that is 85 percent virtualized.


What does the future hold for Children’s and NetApp?


KL: At Children’s, we view our data storage network as more than a commodity technology. Data storage management is, and will continue to be, a key enabler of our ability to grow as an organization and support the high quality of care we provide to our patients. Our relationship with NetApp is more than one of vendor and customer. We see NetApp as a strategic partner providing valuable counsel that will help us make the right decisions as our data storage roadmap evolves.