BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee implements IBM Virtualization Technology to simplify computing environment

Chattanooga 12 May 2004BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST), the largest health insurance plan in the state, has purchased IBM's storage virtualization software to help manage an immense number of health care claims and simplify their business process. The company will virtualize and leverage their Storage Area Network (SAN), built upon IBM TotalStorage, eServer and Tivoli products, which has already saved the company more than $5 million on storage related costs. BCBST will use IBM's TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller product as part of a storage infrastructure that will support health care insurance systems, including traditional database, imaging, and optical character recognition systems.

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During the past nine years, BCBST has grown its storage systems capacity from 500 Gigabytes to 110 Terabytes, while growing its data by 20 times in the same amount of time. By implementing a SAN based on IBM technology, BCBST has been able to reduce its storage technology staff, despite the amazing growth of its organisation and storage needs, and reap significant storage management related costs. The IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller virtualization software will be implemented in June to further improve storage capacity utilization, personnel productivity and cost savings for BCBST.

"By working with IBM, we were able to drastically cut costs and contribute to our bottom line", stated Bob Venable, enterprise systems manager at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. "We had key areas that we were focused on in order to provide the best service to our customers: 24x7x365 access, extreme value and cost-effectiveness. IBM was the only vendor that was able to offer us a comprehensive storage software, disk and tape solution."

BCBST noted that the IBM storage solution helped BCBST address the growing demands of the marketplace and numerous regulatory and contractual obligations, specifically HIPAA and Medicare, in advance of mandated deadlines. Increasingly, regulations are requiring organisations to keep data for longer amounts of time and to be able to retrieve them in an auditable manner. BCBST's IBM SAN gave them excellent retention and recoverability capabilities, so that as regulatory requirements have increased, their business model has kept pace.

"IBM is helping organisations build infrastructures to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and increase server and storage utilization rates", stated Brian Truskowski, general manager, IBM TotalStorage Open Software. "BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's infrastructure exemplifies this type of simplified solution, and by implementing IBM's SAN Volume Controller they have additional flexibility to quickly respond to marketplace changes."

In addition to the IBM SAN Volume Controller, BCBST's solution includes eight IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Servers, an IBM eServer zSeries mainframe, nearly 200 IBM eServer xSeries, a dozen IBM eServer IBM pSeries, TotalStorage Enterprise Tape Drive 3592s, along IBM DB2 database and IBM WebSphere software. Storage management is automated using IBM Tivoli Storage Manager. The company also has future plans to implement IBM's TotalStorage SAN File System.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the state's oldest and largest not-for-profit health plan, serving more than 2,6 million Tennesseans. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on financing affordable health care coverage and providing peace of mind for all Tennesseans. BlueCross serves its members by delivering quality health care products, services and information.


Leslie Versweyveld

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