Medicine has undergone a revolution in non-invasive diagnostic procedures that provide images with increasingly higher resolution. Combined with government-legislated data portability, protection, and retention requirements, data storage is exploding as fast—if not faster—than in any other industry.
Key Challenges for Medical Data Storage.
Advances in medical image resolution as well as compliance with (US) HIPAA and other government record retention regulations threaten to overwhelm the capabilities of traditional storage.Traditional storage solutions are inherently incapable of resolving 21st century medical archive challenges, since they all start off with one or more of the following handicaps:
- Incapacity to scale to levels required by the exponential growth of medical dataTraditional solutions lead to storage system sprawl, with excessive expenditures of time and money on management, infrastructure, and ongoing data migrations—all in an ultimately futile effort to chase down the root causes of data storage and retrieval problems.
- Incompatibility with requirements for long term record retention, accessibility, and portabilityHIPAA retention rules of 7 years (longer for children) fall outside the lifecycle of traditional storage.
- Inability to provide “in-flight” and “at-rest” data securityThe HiTech Act expansion of HIPAA requires that patient data be secured at all times and that unauthorized users can never gain acces to medical data. Designed before the new regulations, traditional storage systems must often be extensively reworked to provide compliant security management and encryption.
- Excessivly high TCOThe total cost of ownership of traditional storage systems is based on a model that does not work for medical organizations, as runaway storage sprawl leads to runaway costs that few medical organizations can tolerate.
Traditional storage systems cannot meet scale, retention, portability, and security requirements without extensive storage system sprawl and unacceptable costs. Retention rules require at least three separate, manually intensive, technology refresh cycles that can readily lead to data loss and violation of basic HIPAA requirements.
Essential Medical Data Storage Requirements
Medical records and files already occupy petabytes of storage capacity, and are quickly moving to the exabyte range. Long-term patient information storage and management are no longer optional, and it doesn’t take all that many patients to rapidly consume additional storage capacity.
Medical data integrity must never be compromised, but a secure, portable, cost effective way to store and legally share medical information with patients and their physicians remains an absolute must. Therefore, the data must be always available and searchable online, but never to the unauthorized. Patient data must remain secure against prying eyes. Medical storage systems must be adaptive and flexible, and still preventing data loss or data breaches. They must be able to match or surpass the following minimal requirements:
- Ability to scale to match unstructured data growthStorage capacity must be scalable from PBs to EBs, and to billions of objects or files, while maintaining performance for all users without disruption.
- Compliance with data integrity safeguards for long-term retention, online accessibility, and portability for the lifetime of the dataMedical files and data must be movable, based on policy, to where they are required when they are required.
- Provision of in-flight and at-rest data securityPersons with unauthorized access must be prevented from reading the data or gleaning any private medical information from the storage system.
- Delivery of an affordable TCOTotal cost of ownership for medical storage must remain practical for medical environments in their effort to meet all regulatory and market requirements.
Storage is clearly one of the medical field’s largest cost components, with an outsized effect on whether or not legislated requirements can be met. Medical data storage must meet these requirements at the lowest ongoing TCO, minimizing all legal and financial risks.
The Solution: Scality RING™ Organic Storage
Scality RING Organic Storage is architected from the ground up to meet and exceed all medical data regulatory and market requirements. It scales capacity into the exabytes, files or objects into the billions, and does so with intuitive user access and unsurpassed performance. The scalability of the RING solution is the direct result of its unique Distributed Hash Table (DHT). DHT is an extraordinarily efficient lookup methodology that enables storage and retrieval of very large numbers of files or objects without sacrificing performance as it scales to exabyte capacity.
Scality Organic RING Storage Solution Diagram
Scality RING Organic Storage provides unparalleled data, nodal, and system availability by leveraging its distinctive industry-hardened, carrier-grade peer-to-peer technology. The RING also comes with unequalled built-in system data resilience similar to an organic immune system. Every node constantly monitors a limited number of its peers, automatically rebalancing replicas and load to make the system fully self-healing without human intervention. Consistent hashing guarantees that only a small subset of keys is ever affected by a node failure or removal.
The RING also rebalances the data load automatically when a node fails, is removed or upgraded, or when new nodes are added. RING makes technology refresh a simple, online process with no application disruptions, eliminating data migration, long nights, and sleepless weekends. It makes sure in-flight and stored data is encrypted, while remaining accessible and portable to all authorized individuals. Scality RING keeps costs low by using standard off-the-shelf commodity server nodes, and delivering the storage on a pay-as-you-go (pay-per-use) model. Unlike traditional storage, Scality RING is charged on usable capacity, not raw storage capacity, thus ultimately delivering the lowest possible storage TCO.
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