VUmc creates data storage platform for vital research

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When VU Medical Center (VUmc) in Amsterdam started to reevaluate their data strategy and data architecture capabilities, they realized they have a significant gap to bridge between where they are and where they want to be. The fact that they have massive amounts of data that needs to be kept for decades (including administrative documents, research materials and medical images) started to dramatically impact their IT budget and the level of service they could provide to their clinicians, researchers and administrators.

To move forward and design a data-driven architecture that would result in groundbreaking research, VUmc had to face several challenges:

Integrate to innovate: The need to deal with peta-scale data that is growing fast–in volume, variety, and complexity—and siloed in different systems, required a centralized, automated, policy-driven, tiered storage management platform that would solve performance and costs issues.

Cold is just old: The assumption that cold data is very relevant and beneficial for research and analytics purposes led to an understanding that this data needs to be archived in low-cost storage that would still deliver fast access and maximum availability.

Anyone, anytime, anywhere: Delivering on the promise that everyone will find the exact data they are looking for easily and quickly–when and where they need it–without disruption requires management of the ocean of data with a single namespace that will provide scalability to meet future demands.

Challenges solved–value delivered

Working with IBM Business Partner E-Storage to lead this transformation project, VUmc deployed a centralized storage platform that allows them to optimize data performance and costs through capacity planning, storage utilization and data management, moving data between storage systems without disrupting users or applications. Today, as described in this video, VUmc is able to manage the full lifecycle of data based on its value with only 3 people and offer their users:

  • Multiple levels of service: gold, silver and bronze
  • An archive spanning more than 100 years
  • Scalable support for any type of data: from 2TB to endless storage resources

The solution is based on IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Archive and IBM TS4500 Tape Library and helps to achieve 99 percent faster data migrations, which enable IT to focus on value-added development.

As Jaap Jan Ouwehand, ICT Specialist – Storage and Linux, VUmc explains:

“We also really appreciate how quick and easy it is to migrate data from one disk to another with IBM Spectrum Scale—after a couple of minutes of setup, we can walk away and let the process run.”

No matter which type of data is generated, from now on VUmc can automatically move data to the fastest storage for analysis, and then retreat to lower-cost storage when not in use without disrupting users or applications. As a result, they can run their big data environment and analytics projects in one storage pool with much faster performance at a much lower total cost.

The centralized data architecture ensures VUmc can fully support its clinicians, researchers and administrators with the resources they need to accelerate discoveries and conduct innovative research. As stated by Patrick Dekkers, ICT Technical Storage Specialist, VUmc:

“Thanks to our work with IBM and E-Storage, we’ve created a secure, scalable storage platform to support stakeholders across the organization.”

To read the full transformation story, click here.

Yael Shani - Product Marketing Manager, Storage Solutions for Healthcare, IBM Systems

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