Dupage Medical Group Benefits from Move to Clustered Data ONTAP

DuPage Medical Group (DMG) is one of the largest and most successful independent multispecialty physician groups in Illinois and has more than 425 physicians practicing in 50 medical and surgical specialties.


DuPage chose clustered Data ONTAP to address their primary concerns of high availability and upgradability. Because their IT infrastructure serves 50+ separate medical facilities, it’s critical for them to eliminate downtime—both planned and unplanned. The HA architecture and nondisruptive operations capabilities of clustered Data ONTAP allowed them to upgrade or do other maintenance without users knowing that anything has happened.


They have one cluster in each data center with four FAS3250 nodes per cluster, the multiple storage nodes allows them to better load balance workloads across more nodes.




In 2013 DMG  had two IBM N-Series storage systems running in 7-Mode. (N-Series were NetApp systems sold through an OEM agreement.) Not only was DMG changing from 7-Mode to clustered Data ONTAP, but they were doing an almost complete physical to virtual migration of their server environment at the same time.


To accomplish the storage migration, DMG worked with their partner Meridian IT who provided a DTA2800, which allowed DMG to migrate the data from their old SAN environment. Because in many cases they were re-building systems in the process (e.g. new Exchange servers, new SQL servers) it was often just a matter of moving the data over once the new application environment was ready.

The whole transition took about ten months, which was considered pretty fast. A lot of people were shocked that DMG IT did it that quickly. There were some painful moments, but that was because DMG had a lot of complicated systems, not because the storage transition was difficult.


Benefits of the new solution.

  • Flexibility to absorb new acquisitions quickly. DMG typically makes several acquisitions a year. With their FlexPod/clustered Data ONTAP environment they can spin up additional servers and add new users with minimal impact to existing operations.
  • The environment scales easily to add compute and storage capacity as needed. With DataMotion for Volumes, it’s easy to reallocate space and move things around without end users being aware that anything had changed.
  • Disaster recovery with SnapMirror to replicate data between data centers. Each data center runs at 50 percent load, so if a failure occurs, the other data center can take over the full load.
  • Because of the tight integration between VMware and NetApp, DMG is able to accomplish a lot of NetApp work through vCenter such as resizing and moving volumes, scheduling Snapshot copies, etc. much easier.
  • The transition from physical to virtual delivered a tremendous return on investment. Over the last two and a half years DMG has saved $600,000 to $800,000 just in server purchases, and overall footprint has gotten smaller. And, from an administrative point of view, the IT team is able to do more because the infrastructure is easier to work with.

For learn more about the DMG story, read the NetApp customer case study.


Mike McNamara