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HP Software's community for IT leaders // September 2012

Cloud solution lets McKesson boost application development with precision

Competitive pressure means stepping up development efforts—but in healthcare, quality can’t be compromised.

How often have you heard a scenario described as “being a matter of life or death,” only to realize the speaker used the phrase merely for effect?

In the case of McKesson Corp., the largest healthcare services and IT company in the United States, the speed at which it can deliver services to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies can genuinely mean the difference between life and death. A bug in a production release of a healthcare information system could have far-reaching—even tragic—consequences in the field.

Yet technology is transforming the medical field, so the company needed to not just keep up, but to pull ahead. Maintaining the highest level of quality with an aggressive development agenda was a challenge.

“We’re constantly testing and creating builds of our latest software releases, so as to deliver the utmost in quality assurance to our customers,” says Merritte Stidston, McKesson director of Development Center Strategy & Operations. “Depending on where we are in the project lifecycle, our development center serves between 2,500 and 3,000 developers and QA staff.”

Stidston says it had been difficult to provide IT resources to those development and QA teams and dynamically allocate costs to the appropriate business units. Provisioning test environments quickly enough to meet the needs of developers was also a challenge.

“While our server, storage and networking infrastructure was current, it didn’t provide us the flexibility and scalability we needed to be able to rapidly change to meet the needs of the business,” Stidston says. “To sufficiently meet the changing and growing needs of the development and QA teams, we needed to find a way to do a lot more while containing cost.”

A cloud solution

To satisfy the need for speed of application delivery and provide the necessary resources for its development team, McKesson implemented HP CloudSystem Matrix, a private cloud platform that lets you provision infrastructure and applications in as little as two hours.

HP CloudSystem Matrix allows us to deliver a fabric-based infrastructure that is resilient, flexible and stable,” Stidston says. He adds that virtualization on HP’s storage hardware backs up the software muscle, so that unplanned outages don’t affect downstream processes. “The HP storage arrays give us Tier 1 reliability while offering ease of administration and management.”

Meanwhile, Stidston adds, “We’re continuing to work with HP to extract additional value from this investment that has opened the door to new and better ways of supporting our internal customers.”

Sky-high results

The solution McKesson implemented provided significant IT and business benefits:

  • 84-fold faster provisioning of development environments (40 minutes vs. 7 days)
  • 42 percent reduction in physical server count (700, down from 1,200)
  • 67 percent less management time required (two engineers vs. six)
  • Enhanced productivity by doubling the number of development environments
  • Eliminated wait time for development servers
  • Projected TCO savings in the millions
  • Six-figure savings on cabling with HP Virtual Connect

For more information, read the full case study, “McKesson doubles its development environments and saves millions with HP CloudSystem Matrix,” and learn more about HP CloudSystem Matrix.


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