Royal Surrey consolidates storage with ONStor

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The Royal Surrey County Hospital is a medium-sized 520-bed District General Hospital, located in the heart of Surrey, serving a population of 260,000 for general services and 1,200,000 for specialist cancer care.
 
In the healthcare environment, data availability directly impacts the quality of patient care so the hospital was looking for the most efficient and reliable storage system available.

The challenge

This regional healthcare provider was expanding its diagnostic capabilities with radiology and cardiology PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) from two different suppliers: GE and Heartlab.  Given the nature of the data being stored such as X-rays, reports and patient records, the new PACS would require a lot of storage capacity starting at over 20 terabytes.
 
The accepted industry practice was to house data in separate silos, one for each PACS. That would have meant two new storage environments in addition to the McKesson Health Information System already in place. Managing three separate pools of data storage and archive within a single facility seemed highly inefficient, so the hospital's IT managers sought a better approach.

Conventional Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances had three significant shortcomings in the view of the IT department.  Firstly, high acquisition cost was a major consideration.  The hospital's initial implementation required over 20TB of storage. The NAS appliance and the NAS heads alone would have cost nearly half a million dollars, not including storage.
 
The second shortcoming discussed was limited scalability. When the PACS outgrew the capacity limitations of the initial NAS appliance, they would be forced to add more, thus putting them back in the exact scenario they were trying to avoid in the first place, using multiple islands of storage.
 
Thirdly, limited open storage support was highlighted as a shortcoming, although the NAS appliance vendor offered a "gateway" version, the IT managers realised this product had the same scalability and cost issues as the vendor's conventional NAS offerings.
 
Furthermore, their open storage support came at a high price: 30% of the available capacity would be lost to the vendor's file system overhead.
 
The solution:

With regards to the above shortcomings, ONStor was able to provide a solution to all three. One objective of the hospital's IT managers was to leverage their existing storage hardware and software. ONStor gave them that flexibility with the industry's widest interoperability matrix.

With their initial implementation at 20TB; scalability was critical to this hospital. The ONStor environment scales to 40 petabytes within a single storage pool, permanently freeing them from the management issues inherent in multiple storage silos.
 
ONStor offered an acquisition cost 65% lower than the competing NAS appliance vendors.
 
As data availability directly impacts the quality of patient care, ONStor's n-way clustering architecture provides multiple levels of redundancy to ensure that data is always available.
 
The Business Benefits

For The Royal Surrey Hospital Trust there were three immediate business benefits, notably:
 
Scalable NAS Gateway consolidated data, thereby saving cost
N-way clustering ensured continuous availability
Open storage enhanced purchasing flexibility
 
A combination of these elements led the Trust to select ONStor NAS Gateways. With diverse storage environments simplified and consolidated, the IT managers and the doctors enjoy rapid access to information, and the patients ultimately receive faster, more effective care.
 
After surveying the options, NAS appeared to be the clear choice for PACS data consolidation. Since NAS employs open-standard communication protocols (CIFS and NFS), it is compatible with their PACS and HIS environments.
 
Furthermore, these protocols would make it simple and secure for remote users (such as physicians and clinics) to directly access data over IP.
 
ONStor NAS Gateways provided the perfect solution for this hospital. ONStor addressed these issues, and met the primary objective of delivering a highly available, highly scalable solution.  Four elements made the ONStor solution a good fit for their environment, these were scalability, availability, open storage and cost.
 
With their initial implementation at 20TB, scalability was critical to this hospital. The ONStor environment scales to 40 petabytes within a single storage pool, permanently freeing them from the management issues inherent in multiple storage silos.
 
In the healthcare environment, data availability directly impacts the quality of patient care.  ONStor's n-way clustering architecture provides multiple levels of redundancy to ensure that data is always available.
 
One objective of the hospital's IT managers was to leverage their existing storage hardware and software.  ONStor gave them that flexibility with the industry's widest interoperability matrix.
 
ONStor offered an acquisition cost 65% lower than the competing NAS appliance vendors.
 
 
Testimonials:

"The ONStor NAS solution provides impressive data throughput and availability together with a much reduced management overhead, while the SUN/Storagetek SAN has future-proofed the data storage needs of the Trust for the next few years with plenty of scope for expansion, and anxiety about our back-up window is a thing of the past.  Once we had overcome the challenges of data migration, the benefits of this solution became immediately apparent."  Simon Mortimore, Information Manager at the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust.

 

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