Healthcare Analytics Firm Gears Up Private Cloud in TeirPoint Data Center

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Clearsense, a professional services and analytics solutions provider, helps health systems improve outcomes through embedded “intelligent assistance.” The Software-as-a­ Service (SaaS) application startup is passionate about giving healthcare providers the data they need at the right time in the right place to make better clinical decisions. “We’re leveraging the same technology used to index the Internet to save people’s lives;’ says Clearsense CTO Jimmy Hurff. Clearsense also embeds insights to improve financial and operational outcomes as well, providing an end-to-end approach and leveraging big data to achieve and improve best-practice workflows.

The Business Challenge
In 2015, Clearsense saw public cloud hosting fees of $10K per month. These costs tripled as the company took on new clients. “When we mapped out what our hosting bill would be in 2017, based on our sales team selling what they thought they could, the number was very high;’ says Hurff. Clearsense sought a solution for the mounting cost of housing their IT infrastructure.They considered fine-tuning the public cloud to create some savings, but quickly ruled out this option. Since building out their own datacenter was not plausible, they started to look at the potential for a private cloud installation near their Jacksonville offices.

The Solution
“Jacksonville is a little big town when it comes to IT. I have known TierPoint’s VP and General Manager in Florida going back into the 2000s;’ says Hurff. “I knew they were building a presence here in Jacksonville with
the TierPoint facility. When we needed some data center assets, I just picked up the phone and gave them a call:’
Clearsense visited the TierPoint data center in Jacksonville and found a high-quality, top-of­the-line facility. “We were comfortable working with TierPoint in that they passed the test from a facilities standpoint and the local Jacksonville team provided the ISO credentials we were looking for;’ says Hurff.

TierPoint demonstrated several options, including a private cloud, and explained the benefits of each. “We helped Clearsense explore a variety of paths;’ says TierPoint Senior Account Executive Scott Wagner. Colocation was an option that offered Clearsense the opportunity to purchase and manage the RAM, hard disks, and processing capacity they needed and to expand in the future while controlling hosting and capacity costs. Clearsense discovered that TierPoint could meet its criteria for cost, timing, and quality. “The Jacksonville data center is a state-of­-the-art facility with a hardened exterior that is professionally designed by data center architects.The personal attention that TierPoint provided allowed my team to feel at ease as they were in good hands;’ says Hurff.

Clearsense chose Dell products for the CPU, memory, and storage capacity they needed so they could own the technology and pay private cloud colocation fees rather than public cloud costs. “We amortized the depreciation of the hardware over a four-year period;’ says Hurff. The monthly cost comparison, according to Hurff, was $11K for the colocation solution versus nearly $40K for a public cloud model. The lower bill came with lower latency and significantly less CPU and memory utilization for the same workloads.

TierPoint provided Clearsense with a cost­effective cage for its Dell infrastructure, meeting client expectations by keeping security a front-of-mind priority. TierPoint gave Clearsense assurances that they could efficiently expand from one rack to several. Using TierPoint would allow Clearsense reliable security, power and networking redundancy; they started with a single cabinet and to-date have grown to one and a quarter.

The Result
Clearsense chose a bare metal hardware strategy using a private cloud model with no virtualization layer between Clearsense and Hadoop, the open-source solution they use to run analytics applications to derive healthcare industry insights. The bare metal approach enabled the firm to isolate and secure their data while improving performance.

“With the public cloud, you don’t know who else might be sharing the same hardware layer you are using;’ says Hurff. Going with this private cloud solution rules out the “noisy neighbor ” effect that you can experience with co-tenancy. Bare metal enabled Clearsense the security of knowing who, if anyone, was in their infrastructure, and allowed them truly dedicated capacity and performance. “Now, in a private cloud, we have 10.5 times the computer processing cores, 12 times the RAM, and 18 times the raw storage as we had before,” says Hurff. “That is satisfying.”