Solving healthcare storage needs with DNF Medical

Healthcare providers are producing enormous amounts of data these days and the whole credit goes to digitalization. The data produce related to medical field ranges from an ever-expanding collection of electronic health records to medical imaging data and as such. Obviously, when such high volume of data is being produced, storing these records and files will be a challenge and this is further compounded by long-term retention requirements.

Therefore, healthcare providers often search for creative solutions to data storage problems and so we have listed them out in the following paragraphs.

  1. Storage Area Network (SAN)
  2. File Server Storage
  3. Network Attached Storage (NAS)
  4. Tape Storage
  5. Cloud Storage
  6. Robotic Tape Library

Most large healthcare organizations make the best use of a SAN. They use a portion of it to house virtual machine, while other areas of the SAN are used for data storage. This means that plenty of demands are already being made against the SAN well before the long-term retention of exponentially growing data is even brought to question.

The highlight of a SAN is that it delivers performance along with flexibility. It is relatively easy to expand a SAN in parallel to organization’s storage needs. The only problem in opting for this solution, of course, is that SAN is expensive.

But in any large healthcare organization, there is always some critical data which undoubtedly needs to land on a SAN platform. That data might need to be protected by various forms of redundancy provided by the SAN, or there might be a benefit to store the data on high-performance media. Therefore, a legitimate business need arises to store the data on a SAN.

Oftentimes, however, there is some data, which doesn’t require a SAN platform. For instance, most hospitals have static data that is rarely accessed. It doesn’t make sense from a business perspective to use an expensive SAN for data that could just as easily reside on a less expensive form of storage. Hence, based on the age, value and frequency of access, data is then moved among various storage tiers according to the threshold values set by the storage admin.

Here’s where the need for SAN alternatives arises and this is where alternate storage mediums like file server storage or network attached storage can prove useful. Even tape and cloud solutions can also be used in this case, as they are best fit for archival needs and can also prove economical.

To give a concrete example on how storage tiering might be used, consider the hospitals which are following a policy to keep each patient’s medical record for 10 years after the patient’s death. Through usage tracking policy, it can be determined that when a patient dies in the hospital, their medical records were accessed on a fairly regular basis for the next couple of months. After that, the records were almost never accessed again on a frequent note.

Thus, this can be offered as a perfect example of static data that must be kept, but that may never be accessed again. So, keeping this data on a SAN appliance will be simply wastage of resources. So, where should that data be stored?

One solution is to archive the data to tape. But the tape storage should be automated, easy to manage and should offer the data with greatest redundancy and availability. But in most cases, tape solutions are still outdated when it comes to the display of its smart features. Because, if in case, a person who is unrelated to a dead patient, files a malpractice case against the doctor after 8 years of death of a patient, then the doctor should be able to present the evidence of the treatment and the cause of death even after such a long time.

This is where, cloud storage is certainly proving as a viable option, but can be expensive than a tape solution. Most cloud storage providers’ bill customers a monthly bill for the amount of data stored on their platform. So, a cloud storage option can be used as a utility and can grow as per the archiving needs growth.

Another option can be a robotic tape library, where a large warehouse of tapes is smartly managed with the use of robotics arms, which will automatically retrieve the tape from the shelf and insert it into a tape drive in the next room. This type of storage works well, as the cost per GB will be low and there was not levy of storage fees. However, the initial investment in hardware can prove as a costly affair.

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Whatever type of storage you decide to use, you will need to have a data life-cycle management software that can automatically move data from one storage tier to another as the data ages. The software should also be automatically purge data when it is no longer needed.

If you are in a look out for a trustworthy data storage vendor which offers reliable and cost effective data storage solutions, DNF Medical will be an ideal company to depend on. It offers the best IP SAN storage appliances which are highly-available and are driven by dual active/active RAID controllers with transparent failover and failback operations. This company offers advanced storage solutions which are redundant, scalable, highly available and are exclusively tailored for hospitals, labs and other medical organizations enhanced.

To know more about its products call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF Medical Product line.

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