Giant Eagle ensures uptime, data security for pharmacies

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle is upgrading the management and storage of data at its in-store pharmacies.

A regional grocer is protecting patient data and meeting compliance requirements at its in-store pharmacy locations.

Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle Inc. is leveraging StorMagic SvSAN virtual storage area network (SAN) software and SvKMS encryption key management technology to ensure uptime and safeguard data in its 200-plus supermarkets with in-store pharmacies.

After experiencing challenges with an aging physical SAN solution, including rising maintenance costs and sourcing issues with the application’s self-encrypting disk drives, Giant Eagle began to review alternate options. The company eventually selected the StorMagic virtual SAN and encryption key management systems to ensure uptime and add enterprise-grade key management capabilities into its store environment.

Currently, StorMagic SvSAN is running on three-node Lenovo clusters at each Giant Eagle store with a pharmacy, while SvKMS runs on three virtual machines at the grocery chain’s primary datacenter. StorMagic SvSAN is compatible with any x86 server, and is designed to require a minimal IT footprint and be managed by any IT professional. SvKMS is an enterprise-grade key manager developed to address a variety of security challenges.

Giant Eagle has also been upgrading customer-facing technology at its in-store pharmacies. The retailer is installing digital TV screens from Mesmerize, an out-of-home media company specializing in patient education at the point of care, at 165 Giant Eagle Pharmacy locations. Giant Eagle is placing Mesmerize TV screens prominently in the waiting and pick-up/drop-off areas of each pharmacy, presenting an opportunity for patient education and sponsor messaging.

The digital TV network features timely content from Mesmerize's patient education library, combined with Giant Eagle-branded content that includes cooking segments, information about home healthcare products, and key pharmacy services. Mesmerize content includes information on general health and wellness, symptoms, disease states, treatment options, and more, accompanied by relevant sponsor messages.

“Giant Eagle selected StorMagic’s three-node configuration for increased resiliency and availability to deliver a superior end-user experience while providing a highly secure platform,” said Jeff Moore, senior manager, enterprise server, Giant Eagle Inc. “StorMagic SvSAN was implemented to virtualize our storage, thus eliminating challenges related to spinning disk at edge sites; and SvKMS was a natural addition for advanced key management. The SvKMS key management solution has provided additional integration within the StorMagic platform and provides the encryption we require to keep our customers’ critical data secure.”

“StorMagic kept hardware requirements and costs low while helping Giant Eagle meet its primary goals of adding high availability, and encryption to protect sensitive patient data while meeting all major compliance regulations,” said Brian Grainger, StorMagic chief revenue officer. “The retailer is now achieving a high level of redundancy with only three nodes per store, which would have required four or five servers with competing solutions. By also implementing our enterprise key manager, Giant Eagle has resolved two major issues that edge sites commonly face today — ensuring both uptime and security — that will easily expand into their core data center workloads over time.”

Founded in 1931 and headquartered in Pittsburgh, Giant Eagle Inc. operates more than 470 stores under the Giant Eagle, Market District, and GetGo banners throughout western Pennsylvania, north central Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland, and Indiana.