Easing the pain of unstructured data management for Healthcare

My last few posts have been about how you can incorporate Dell’s growing storage portfolio into your solutions. Last time, we looked at how a hybrid SSD/10K array  could enhance OLTP-based appliances on Dell hardware.  Today, we look at a solution for those of you in Healthcare.  (Psst: Even if you aren’t a Healthcare customer, read on – a lot of this is relevant for anyone with customers who have large amounts of unstructured data.)

The Healthcare industry faces two of the biggest challenges in storage. First, growth of unstructured data, such as X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, and other rich media. Second, strict records management policies based on compliance requirements from HIPAA, PIPEDA, the EU Directive, and other similar legislation. Yikes!  If you are providing a solution for Healthcare customers, you’re probably thinking about how to best address these problems.

Enter object storageObject storage is a way of storing large numbers of items (really large – ‘billions’ large) in a flat namespace, avoiding the challenges of traditional volume and file system management.  The Dell DX Object Storage Platform stores metadata along with the core content, enabling some nifty things like enforcing data protection policies and applying compression.

This metadata can also be used to enforce compliance policies around retention and deletion.  Multiple sets of objects can be added to the DX Storage with different metadata, thus enabling enforcement of multiple policies within a single platform.  And since most data in an object store doesn’t change, traditional backup strategies can be abandoned in favor of more efficient (and automatically enforced) replication policies.

Our object storage platform in particular is built with many of the same design principles as the other storage products that comprise our portfolio, such as non-disruptive scale-out architecture, investment protection, and ease of management.

Since the DX stores objects and not files, the way to put content into it is either through integration with industry-leading ISVsor through custom HTTP integration. So how can you, a Healthcare OEM customer, leverage DX Object Storage?

  • First off, we have worked with leading healthcare ISVs to customize their platforms to be able to use the DX as storage.  So if you are providing a solution that leverages, say, BridgeHead or Merge, you can use the DX Storage as backend storage and get all the benefits mentioned above.
  • Another way you may want to leverage DX Object Storage in Healthcare is through the HTTP interface.  If your solution is built on a custom application, you can write directly to the DX (or work with OEM services to complete that integration) to use it as the back-end storage for your application.  The HTTP interface is pretty simple to integrate with.
  • Finally, you can consider our Unified Clinical Archive (“UCA”).  UCA provides a single platform for accessing medical information across disparate systems and modalities, storing the images in the DX Object Storage.  (There’s also a Cloud version of this solution which manages more than 800 sites, comprising 68 million clinical studies and nearly 4.8 billion diagnostic imaging objects.  But that’s a different topic for a different day.)  Check out this paper for more information on UCA.

So as always, we’re interested to hear from you.  Will DX Object Storage enable you to solve any problems for your customers?

About the Author: Sheryl Koenigsberg