Flash Storage – Just what the doctor ordered

(Editor’s note: This article is sponsored content from Avnet Technology Solutions. In this piece, Jim Bindon, director of vertical markets for the Americas at ATS offers his thoughts on the growing important of flash storage in the medical vertical. Guest blogs like this are part of ChannelBuzz.ca’s annual sponsorship packages. Find out more here.)

Jim Bindon, director of vertical markets for the Americas at Avnet Technology Solutions

Jim Bindon, director of vertical markets for the Americas at Avnet Technology Solutions

“Advances in imaging over the last five years have revolutionized almost every aspect of medicine,” Jonathan Lewin, MD, Chairman of the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins University.

No matter the advances in application delivery, innovations in technology, or the convergence of infrastructure in the data center, the need for storage is a given, and continues to be a topic of concern. For example, in healthcare, there is a pressing issue around the need for more storage. It is growing exponentially due to the explosion of data as a result of the transition to electronic health records (EHRs) and major advancements in digital imaging systems.

Today, the advancements in digital imaging allows doctors to see things in revolutionary ways with the ability to provide early and more accurate diagnoses through CT Angiography, PET/CT scans for cancer, Digital Mammography and Open MRIs. These new imaging modalities are providing information about the patient that was nowhere near possible 15 years ago, which is great for the physician and the patient, but not so great for the IT professional trying to keep up. The challenge now is how healthcare IT organizations can store this massive amount of data, protect it, provide it to multiple care givers and retrieve it at the touch of a button. The multi-tiered storage architectures of the past are in need of an upgrade and the transition to Flash technology provides the answer to many of the challenges and advancements healthcare IT professionals are faced with today.

Explosive Growth of Data: First off, we know that there is an explosion of data occurring. Estimates are that growth of data in information systems are growing at 40 percent YoY, but diagnostic imaging is exploding too and the requirements for storage will cross the 1 Exabyte storage plateau by 2016, according to Nadim Daher, a Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst.

“Our forecast model projects that even if diagnostic imaging volumes continue to plateau around the 600 million procedures per year mark, overall storage and archiving volume requirements for U.S. medical imaging data will cross the 1 Exabyte mark by 2016. That is 1,000 petabytes or 1,000,000 terabytes, which marks medical imaging’s definitive entry into Big Data territory,” said Nadim Daher.

Storing so much data has become a large concern. At the same time, CIOs are demanding storage solutions that can provide more speed and access, be more efficient, more reliable with increased productivity while continuing to drive down the operational costs of IT. This is where flash storage can be one possible solution to these concerns. While flash storage might be more expensive than other storage options, it requires less physical space and less hardware, leading to fewer environmental costs, better scalability and fewer licensing costs. Flash storage also provides faster processing speeds, which provides distinct advantages when utilizing large amounts of data such as in a hospital setting.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – In a healthcare setting, patients and physicians alike are dependent on documenting and receiving records that are centralized, accurate and provided in real-time. VDI uses software to virtualize desktops and allows for patient data to be accessible throughout the hospital and with easier access and more security. However, VDI does not come without challenges as the benefits of virtualization are offset by bandwidth costs and an increase in storage requirements. Because of its 90 percent lower latency, Flash storage for VDI allows for more data storage, scalability and reliability while maintaining affordability and the necessary security required. While data and storage challenges are significant in the healthcare industry due the advancements in technology as well as medical imaging, so are the opportunities in Flash storage.

Flash provides high-performance storage technology that is both fast and reliable – two necessities when getting data to the point of care in a matter of seconds, which is often required in a healthcare setting. Join Avnet Technology Solutions in booth at #6014 at the 100th annual RSNA (Radiological Society of North America) Conference to be held the week of November 30 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and discover how healthcare providers are using technology like Flash to overcome new challenges due to technology imaging advancements – all to improve patient care and staff work environments.

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