As the volume of data in its systems grew, Molina Healthcare saw the costs of data storage and maintenance rising. How could it slim its databases down to a healthy size?
By using IBM® InfoSphere® Optim™ Archive to intelligently archive data, Molina can now streamline its production systems, while maintaining referential integrity in its databases.
Streamlinesproduction databases, helping to maintain high levels of performance
Savesstorage costs and reduces database maintenance workload
ROIwithin one year by enabling Molina to shift archived data to economical storage
Business challenge story
Molina Healthcare specializes in providing comprehensive medical care and insurance services to meet its members’ complete healthcare needs. By retaining a sharp focus on excellent service, the company has achieved enviable growth in recent years.
As Molina grew, soaring data volumes in the production databases supporting its medical claims application platform began to impact the company’s database size and storage costs.
Trinh Montrenes, Principal Architect at Molina, explains: “Our core systems provide functionalities that are crucial to our ability to successfully deliver quality healthcare services to our members. We manage systems that encompass every facet of member services, claims processing, payment, quality assurance and provider management.”
She continues: “Like other companies, we face the challenge that the volume of data we manage is growing significantly over the years. When you have data in your production systems that is not used, or is only used infrequently, it can incur significant storage expenses, performance degradation, and maintenance overhead.”
However, slimming down those systems also posed a significant challenge, because the complex structure of modern relational databases makes it difficult to remove old or infrequently used records in a clean and consistent manner.
Every time a row of data is moved from one database to another, it is vital to understand all the relationships and dependencies that the row has with rows in other tables. If the referential integrity of either the source database or the target database is broken, it may lead to orphan records in the production system and unrestorable data in the archive.
Marc Hebert, Chief Operating Officer at Estuate, an IBM Business Partner specializing in information lifecycle governance that worked with Molina on this project, comments: “With relational databases, it’s always easier to put data in than to pull it out. You have to do it very carefully to make sure you extract the whole business object intact, and don’t leave orphaned records that can impact the stability of your application.”
Finding the cure
After checking the vital signs of solutions from several vendors, Molina deployed a data archiving solution based on IBM InfoSphere Optim Archive. Estuate provided support during the implementation.
“Based on Gartner research at the time, Optim was a leader in the data management space in its capacity to archive both structured and unstructured data,” recalls Trinh Montrenes. “We also saw IBM as a well-established company with strong presence and industry longevity. We enlisted the support of Estuate following a recommendation from IBM. We found the Estuate team to be very responsive, flexible and enthusiastic. It was a pleasure to work with them.”
First, Estuate helped Molina use the IBM solution to create a standard template of business rules and policies that define the criteria for when and how a record should be archived.
Next, the teams worked together to develop a custom data model that would define each type of business object and ensure that the relevant related records would be handled correctly during the archiving process. This was a collaborative effort between the Estuate team and subject-matter experts from across Molina’s business.
Trinh Montrenes comments: “We recognized that understanding data dependencies and how they impact the business process was crucial to the success of the project. Estuate did a good job of helping us clearly define and document our requirements to ensure that our objectives would be met.”
Following an initial process to archive its backlog of historical data, Molina is now able to archive its data on a quarterly basis, using its archiving template and data model to identify data no longer needed to be stored in the production environment. The solution leaves any open transactions, cases, claims and documents untouched.
Slimmer databases for a healthier outlook
With the IBM solution, Molina has gained a reliable, consistent method for archiving records in its production database – helping to ensure full referential integrity for its data.
Trinh Montrenes says: “Reducing the size of our production database helps us maintain good performance in our medical claims applications, while reducing the amount of time and effort we need to spend on database maintenance and indexing. For the first time, we are able to delete and archive records from production in a robust and consistent process. And most important, the deleted records can reliably be brought back into the production database again at a later time, if we need them.”
She concludes: “From a financial perspective, the archived data can now reside on more economical storage devices. In fact, the cost savings on storage devices alone have enabled us to achieve a positive return on our investment within the first year, with even more savings forecast for the future.”
About Molina Healthcare
Molina Healthcare, Inc. offers health plans, clinical care and health information management to families and individuals covered by Medicaid, Medicare and other government-funded programs. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, the Fortune 500 company serves more than four million members in 11 states and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
- InfoSphere Optim Archive
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Estuate specializes in delivering IT solutions that help its clients overcome business challenges, with particular focus on product engineering services, information lifecycle governance and security, technology applications implementation, and big data and business intelligence. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, the company has offices around the world. To learn more about Estuate, please visit: www.estuate.com IBM Analytics offers one of the world's deepest and broadest analytics platform, domain and industry solutions that deliver new value to businesses, governments and individuals. For more information about how IBM Analytics helps to transform industries and professions with data, visit ibm.com/analytics. Follow us on Twitter at @IBMAnalytics, on our blog at ibmbigdatahub.com and join the conversation #IBMAnalytics. View more client stories or learn more about IBM Analytics