Nonprofit Mercy Ships stretches donor dollars with HCI

Many organizations with space constraints have opted for turn-key hyperconverged infrastructure appliances. A nonprofit organization with tricky space and logistics issues and a duty to stretch donor dollars must get a wallop of performance out of its information technology stack. Just ask Mercy Ships what it’s like being a maritime hospital staffed by volunteers.

“As an organization funded by donors, we want to make sure that we maximize those dollars to be delivering patient care,” said Chris Gregg (pictured, right), chief information officer at Mercy Ships.

Gregg and Jon Siegal (pictured, left), vice president of product marketing, converged platforms and solutions, at Dell EMC, spoke with Dave Vellante (@dvellante), co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, and guest host John Troyer (@jtroyer), chief reckoner at TechReckoning, during the VMworld conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. They discussed Mercy Ships and how HCI is helping the organization fulfill its mission. (* Disclosure below.)

Vonunteers’ helping hands push HCI easy buttons

Mercy Ships’ mission is to address the needs of the 5 billion people in the world who lack access to safe, affordable surgical care. “More than 30 percent of the deaths in this world are a result of lack of that access,” Greg said.

Mercy Ships operates hospital ships primarily in West, South and East Africa. Pressed to maximize impact, the organization is looking to technology, including HCI, to get high-performance from logistically convenient, small-footprint appliances.

Mercy Ships relies on Dell EMC’s VxRail HCI systems aboard its ships. Its small physical footprint is one obvious reason, but the ease of use for staffers is another, Siegal explained. “We’re also helping them hyperconverge their operations as well,” he said.

The IT volunteers are usually not experts on tight individual areas like storage or compute. The HCI solution is easy enough for IT generalists to get a handle on, Siegal stated.

The flexibility of HCI with hybrid capabilities lets users run basic apps but can also accommodate next-gen apps coming down the pipeline, according to Siegal. This is a good thing, since Mercy Ships is investigating how modernization might juice more performance from its IT budget.

“We’re starting to look at what we can take into the cloud,” Gregg concluded.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the VMworld conference. (* Disclosure: Dell Technologies Inc. sponsored this segment, with additional broadcast sponsorship from VMware Inc. Dell, VMware, and other sponsors do not have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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