Data Storage Strategy Key To Emerging Challenges

Feb. 27, 2019

HIMSS 2019 is history.  One of the key observations coming out of this year’s meeting is the importance of data management to the emerging challenges of artificial intelligence (AI), workflow orchestration, population health, etc.  Data accessibility and performance will be key to these strategies, which will benefit from an assessment of all data management applications and the advantages of data management consolidation.

I recently had an opportunity to speak with the University of Nebraska about their approach to data storage consolidation. Up until 2015, Nebraska Medicine had multiple storage arrays covering a wide array of storage applications, including their radiology Picture Archive and Communications System (PACS).  Their PACS from Change Healthcare included over 500 Terabytes of storage.  Retrieving archived studies could take as long as two to four minutes to acquire, based on the existing storage media. 

Through a concerted effort Nebraska Medicine decided to move to a common storage infrastructure across its varied applications.  After evaluating multiple vendor options, Nebraska Medicine concluded on Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s 3PAR technology as a common platform for their storage applications.  The HPE 3PAR StoreServ family of flash-optimized data storage systems can handle unpredictable workloads effortlessly, and guarantees 99.9999 percent data availability.  Solutions scale from a few TBs to more than 20 PB.

Nebraska Medicine uses the 3PAR infrastructure to replicate between two data centers, and realized a performance improvement, as exemplified by a reduction in PACS archival retrievals from 2-4 minutes to less than 20 seconds!  Besides a performance improvement, Nebraska Medicine also realized improved system management from 3PAR’s InfoSight reporting capabilities, an AI-driven application to simplify infrastructure management and support.  Prior to the implementation, Nebraska Medicine’s infrastructure management was largely a manual process.  Through the use of InfoSight, Nebraska Medicine can more effectively track usage and predict its needs. 

Nebraska Medicine still relies on individual applications to manage its data, but it has taken the first step in terms of consolidating its infrastructure – an important step in moving toward a unified data management strategy that is key to emerging trends that are data intensive.  Facilities that have yet to establish a unified data management strategy can learn from Nebraska Medicine’s practices.

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