Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center placing it in an elite group of cancer centers dedicated to scientific innovation and excellence and to coordinated recognition and pursuit of new research opportunities.

A tale of growth

Since its inception in 1987, Moffitt Cancer Center has experienced tremendous growth – expanding its facility from 373,377 square feet to 2 million square feet. Not surprisingly, this magnitude of growth fostered a tremendous increase in its systems footprint and the amount of data generated, accessed and stored.

In 2004, Moffitt opened a newly-constructed data center in the basement of the hospital to house its growing systems. While the data center was built with a 10-year life expectancy, by 2011 it was nearing capacity and Moffitt needed to supplement its space. It investigated data centers in the local Tampa area and ultimately chose Flexential’s East Tampa data center as an annex. Over the next couple years, Moffitt moved equipment into Flexential’s space.

First step: Cost analysis – build vs. colocation

Initially, Moffitt conducted a cost justification analysis for building a new data center, but given its current footprint, it quickly realized that this option was neither financially viable nor core business driven. Wanting to remain laser-focused on its expertise in cancer treatment and research, leadership approved the decision to explore colocation providers.

Next step: Colocation

Moffitt considered colocation providers throughout the metro Tampa area and as far as Orlando who could cost-effectively provide the storage capacity, redundancy, resiliency and performance it needed. At the same time, Flexential was building a new, state-of-the-art data center close by. Having built a strong relationship with Flexential over the previous five years, Moffitt included Flexential in its list of potential vendors.

Impressed by its ongoing relationship as well as the robust services offered by Flexential’s East Tampa facility, Moffitt ultimately chose Flexential as its colocation provider. In 2015, Moffitt became the first flagship customer at the data center, occupying 1,800 square feet customer at the 19,600 square-foot data center that boasts an additional 10,300 square feet of office and support space.

“The East Tampa facility’s robust performance and service features made it stand out as the premier data center in the area,” explains John McFarland, director of architecture and engineering for Moffitt Cancer Center. “It provided the opportunity to consolidate our assets to one data center.”

“When we look for partners it isn’t only about providing technology, but also getting behind our mission,” says McFarland. “Some technology partners look at us as the next sale, but we really value ones that look at us as an important part of the community. Flexential is more than just a vendor for Moffitt. They are a partner in delivering crucial colocation services and support to further our mission of preventing, treating and curing cancer.”

A seamless migration to a resilient facility

Moffitt immediately moved its research clusters to East Tampa, which includes 600 assets – including all mission-critical systems. As a premier hospital and treatment center, uptime is critical to Moffitt; it needs immediate, unwavering access to patient records and research data. With the bulk of its systems now residing within Flexential’s East Tampa data center, Moffitt is banking on the company to cost effectively provide reliability and performance to drive its business mission.

“Moving our primary operations to a Flexential facility allows us to focus on our continued growth and we can leverage its team to manage the data center facility, HVAC and power needs,” notes McFarland.

Located outside of Tampa’s flood zone, the East Tampa data center is built to withstand a category 5 hurricane. The facility’s fuel tanks can withstand an 84-hour power outage and can be refueled indefinitely. While Moffitt’s own data center operated back-up generators and took the necessary precautions, McFarland acknowledges that those fallbacks are better suited for patient care.

A simplified IT environment

By migrating its systems to Flexential, Moffitt was able to consolidate its systems to a single location while increasing its footprint and simplifying processes and operations. The move also provided an array of additional benefits including an increase in redundancy and availability, lowered costs and improved performance.

“Moving our infrastructure to Flexential’s East Tampa data center was strategically a good move. It’s closer to our campus and has allowed us to streamline processes and work,” states McFarland. “It also removed complications around lack of redundant power, cooling issues and bandwidth. It’s comforting to know redundancy and high availability are achievable now.”

Flexential’s onsite, professional staff was instrumental in the successful migration and the ongoing performance of Moffitt’s systems. Its 24/7/365 customer access and support allows Moffitt to access its cages and connect with support personnel whenever they want.

Flexential also simplifies Moffitt’s compliance requirements through yearly independent compliance audits of its data centers to ensure HIPAA-compliant hosting, in addition to other industry regulations. With Flexential personnel overseeing the data center, managing access lists and running reports, Moffitt’s internal IT resources are relieved of a wealth of time-consuming, day-to-day tasks – allowing them to focus on their core competency – running a hospital.