Founded in 1980, MultiPlan is the United States’ oldest and largest supplier of independent, network-based cost-management services. With nearly 900,000 healthcare providers under contract, an estimated 57 million consumers accessing its network products, and 110 million claims processed through its networks each year, MultiPlan offers the experience and resources that healthcare payers and providers need in order to face today's unprecedented cost and competitive pressures.
Ensuring that its primary data centre remains up and running at all times is paramount to the success of MultiPlan's daily operations. "Unplanned downtime would be devastating on multiple levels," emphasises Brian Geber, the company's Regional Facilities Manager.
MultiPlan's 5,000-square-foot data centre not only supports the information needs of 2,500 employees located in 26 offices across the country—providing access to essential resources and information to internal users—it also enables clients to process claims around the clock. "If the data centre was down, they (clients) wouldn't be able to get to their claims information," Geber explains, noting that the company is required to provide significant advanced notification to all customers in the event of any planned downtime. "It's just vital that we never take our data centre offline."
To accomplish that, MultiPlan requires a highly reliable power protection system capable of safeguarding more than 1,000 servers in the data centre, approximately two-thirds of which are virtualised. Yet two years ago, as the growing company wished to add more equipment, it recognised that its existing 150 kVA Liebert uninterruptible power system (UPS) would not provide sufficient capacity to meet its long-term growth plan.
As MultiPlan began investigating new UPS systems, its primary concern was finding a model with an extremely large capacity, Geber says. Other considerations were scalability, efficiency and the reputation of the manufacturer.
Based in part on the endorsement of facilities professionals at another MultiPlan site, the team selected a 225 kVA Power XpertTM 9395 UPS for its data centre. "We upgraded to Eaton because of its solid reputation and the fact that our staff had used their units before and were very happy with them," Geber says.
Offering an unprecedented combination of power performance, reliability and energy savings, the 9395 delivers the highest level of availability for critical systems. The unit's double-conversion design completely isolates output power from all input power anomalies whilst providing 100 per cent conditioned, perfect sine-wave output.
Operating at greater than 94 per cent efficiency, the 9395 also delivers unmatched green power performance, reducing utility costs and extending battery runtimes. Additionally, higher efficiency results in cooler operating conditions, which reduces the facility’s air conditioning costs and extends the life of the UPS components—advantages that are apparent at MultiPlan.
"We are very happy that it's putting off a lot less heat," Geber reports. "It's much more efficient and our air conditioning doesn't have to work so hard to cool our data centre now. If you went near our old unit, you couldn't look at the top without feeling like it was on fire," he continues, adding that the company had to install ceiling fans to try to disperse the hot air to other parts of the building. "Now we don't need a secondary cooling system."
Geber also appreciates the soft hum of the 9395. "It is much quieter than our old unit," he says, noting that with the previous Liebert UPS, he would have to leave the room just to make a phone call. "Now I can stand right in front of the UPS and carry on a conversation."
MultiPlan has also benefited from the 9395's multi-module, scalable architecture, which can adapt to future changes in load demands and new requirements for high reliability without requiring the purchase of an additional UPS. "We loved the fact that we could start with a 225 kVA module, but that it could be upgraded to 275 kVA if we needed it to," Geber confirms.
And the ever-expanding company recently did just that. "If we hadn't gone with Eaton, we would have had to buy a whole new UPS," Geber reveals. "It's great that we were able to keep our business running under the same UPS."
When completing the capacity upgrade, MultiPlan also opted to purchase a pair of 75 kVA Eaton® power distribution units (PDUs, which ensure high performance whilst providing maximum flexibility in an integrated, factory-tested package). The Eaton PDU offers reliable data centre power distribution for both raised and non-raised floor applications. Furthermore, to deliver effective power management and monitoring, the PDU incorporates the Eaton Energy Management System, which optimises both utilisation and availability down to the branch-circuit level.
"The advantage of the Eaton PDUs versus our old units is that they have transformers built in," says Geber. "Plus, now it's all one-stop shopping for us, and Eaton allows us to grow right along with our equipment, which is much better than how we used to have to do it."
For Geber, another selling point of the 9395 was its ability to provide email notification through Eaton's Intelligent Power® Software Suite, which offers monitoring, management and shutdown software ideal for protecting physical and virtual machines.
"If our old system had a power drop, it had no way of letting us know that we'd gone to generator power," Geber reveals. As a result, MultiPlan had to contract with a third-party vendor to monitor the building power for them.
"Now I'll get an email in the middle of the night, even if the power just blinked for one one-hundredth of a second," says Geber, noting that he particularly appreciates the ability to programme a distribution list with as many employees as desired. "That was a huge help," he acknowledges. "It saves time because we don't have to have a phone tree; now it's just a simultaneous email where we're all notified at once to be on alert if there's a power issue. And," Geber adds, "we don't have to pay to someone to watch our power."
The small footprint of the 9395—up to 60 per cent less than competitive units—also came in handy for MultiPlan. Unlike some larger and heavier systems, there is no need to dismantle the 9395 in order to fit it into elevators or through doorways, which can cause significant delays whilst increasing costs. Even more impressive, the 9395 packs a redundant design into the same footprint as a traditional non-redundant UPS.
Whilst MultiPlan's office building used to experience power flickers more often—"Our UPS got worked very frequently," Geber acknowledges—the facilities manager says that power quality is now greatly improved. But even when power anomalies threaten uptime, MultiPlan can rest easy. "The 9395 has always performed as expected," Geber reports.
And the company ensures the ongoing health and performance of its unit with regularly scheduled preventive maintenance performed by Eaton. "The system itself can do monthly battery tests, but we also like to have it checked by an Eaton technician who knows how to interpret the data and can ensure that all systems are calibrated correctly," Geber explains. "This also guarantees that we don't have any flaws in any of our battery strings, so we can sleep more peacefully."
"Overall, as a Facilities Manager, I'm happy that we're running a quieter, more efficient unit that notifies our staff when there is an issue with the power to the building and even grows with us," Geber sums up. "It allows me to sleep better at night."
Indeed, with the 9395 in place, MultiPlan is now able to:
- Keep its critical data centre equipment up and running at all times
- Reduce cooling costs and eliminate the need for additional cooling systems thanks to the 9395's high efficiency
- Easily expand its power needs with the scalability of the UPS
- Stay apprised of all power conditions through Eaton's Intelligent Power Software Suite
- Ensure the ongoing health and reliability of its unit with an Eaton service plan