Storage News

Healthcare Object Storage Supports Growing Unstructured Data

Healthcare object storage is emerging as organizations seek denser on-premises datacenters for analytics initiatives.

healthcare object storage

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Entities are looking into object storage as a way to store massive amounts of data on-premises, according to Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant report. For healthcare specifically, organizations are seeking healthcare object storage to help them sort through the growing amount of unstructured data.

“With data growth exceeding 50 percent year over year, infrastructure and operations leaders are looking for extensible on-premises storage products that can address an increasing number of digital business use cases with lower acquisition and operational costs,” Gartner report authors explained.

Organizations need scalability and automation to accommodate the influx of data so it can be made actionable in the future. Gartner said that new and established storage vendors are working to develop scalable storage clustered file systems that aren’t as expensive to deploy and don’t limit organizations when they’re trying to scale up their storage infrastructure.

Gartner defined distributed file systems and object storage as software and hardware solutions that are based on "shared nothing architecture and support object and/or scale-out file technology to address requirements for unstructured data growth.”

“A shared nothing architecture is a distributed computing architecture in which each node is independent and self-sufficient, and there is no single point of contention across the system,” Gartner continued.

The report covered both distributed file systems and object storage, but noted that the technologies are actively merging because buyers require both file and object access for unstructured datasets.

The need for this storage technology is rapidly expanding and offerings are being developed to accommodate that. Organizations are presented with different ways to purchase storage and can create a custom storage environment that consists of on-premises and cloud-based storage solutions.

Healthcare organizations that are redefining their storage infrastructure are often deciding between public cloud and on-premises storage for certain workloads. Deciding factors include security and governance mandates and greatly influence which workloads are moved to the cloud and which stay on-premises.

Organizations need to choose between tools that are more on the distributed file system side or an object storage side when in reality a single solution covering both would be more useful.

A single solution would allow workloads to interact with data using the protocol that best suits the individual situation, according to Gartner.

Object storage is emerging as a way for healthcare organizations to store their data as the amount of unstructured data grows.

Key Information Systems Director of Cloud Service Clayton Weise sees potential in object storage to benefit the healthcare industry and move organizations away from dated legacy solutions, such as tapes.

“Object storage provides an inexpensive way to store vast pools of data, multiple petabytes up to exabyte scale within a single space,” Weise explained to HITInfrastructure.com. “The data stored using object is always accessible, unlike tape where I have to know the serial number, track the tape, and physically retrieve it.”

“Data in object stores is always accessible,” he continued. “Object storage makes data retrieval far more convenient.”

Healthcare organizations need to prepare their storage infrastructure for the future of big data analytics and object storage is a way for organizations to do that because it makes the data more easily accessible.

“It is a completely different way to access data which is important to take into consideration,” said Weise. “Right now, organizations are thinking about data in terms of block and file. The biggest thing is how to bridge that gap and what to do with all the unstructured data currently sitting in storage and move it to object. It’s a matter of classifying the data and understanding what is going to be put into the object store.”

Healthcare organizations need to look at flexible storage solutions beyond the cloud to store unstructured data for analytics usage. Object storage gives entities the opportunity to store large amounts of data on-premises without costing them too much money.


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