The Problem

Making this data expansion issue more severe for healthcare is the state of storage systems in the industry. For years, the emphasis for storage systems manufacturers seems to have been on selling proprietary infrastructure to support medical imaging, among other applications. Despite the ‘SAN revolution’ that took place in IT, allowing enterprise-wide storage consolidation, many healthcare industry IT departments have been stuck in the ‘dark ages’. Silos of application-specific storage abound, as the major manufacturers have sold PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) storage systems that can’t integrate easily with existing healthcare information systems - or the cloud. The promise of efficiency and cost reduction that storage consolidation and SANs brought to IT has skipped the healthcare industry, to a large extent.

BridgeHead Software solution

Healthcare Storage Virtualization (HSV) is the technology that enables healthcare industry IT to abstract the storage hardware from the applications driving the content. This allows the consolidation of data from multiple PACS silos into the same infrastructure that stores non-medical files. BridgeHead Software’s Medistore solution supports the major PACS vendors, providing a DICOM storage class server for direct management of PACS data, enabling DICOM queries of PACS systems. Another module handles non-clinical content, structured, as well as scanned and electronic documents from the office environment. This HSV system is storage - and vendor -agnostic, allowing storage system technologies to be combined to provide the most cost effective overall solution, including the use of existing storage assets.

Using the BridgeHead solution, existing data is collected from Exchange, Sharepoint, file servers, etc, then compressed, deduplicated, encrypted and archived, as is data collected from PACS systems, on the appropriate platform, in accordance with retention policies and applicable regulations. The HSV system also enables the data to be migrated between storage platforms, including cloud storage, without impacting the applications using that data. As a (virtually) consolidated storage pool, all data is available for metadata and full text searching, regardless of which physical platform it resides on. The BridgeHead HSV system can also replicate data to an offsite location for DR purposes.

Storage Switzerland’s Take

It would seem that the age of broader SAN ‘enlightenment’ has come to more of the healthcare industry, an environment that arguably could benefit most from the latest in storage technologies. BridgeHead Software helps bring the economics of consolidation, tiered storage and the cloud to many in an industry with some of the largest data sets, the longest retention times and the most regulations.

Eric Slack, Senior Analyst

Briefing Note

BridgeHead is not a client of Storage Switzerland