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Rack Servers Assist Flexible HIT Infrastructure Datacenters

Healthcare organizations looking to scale their health IT infrastructures need flexible datacenters to handle increased data volumes.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare organizations are often faced with deciding on how to successfully deploy their datacenters as new HIT infrastructure solutions demand more flexible and scalable environments.

Many organizations are moving toward cloud storage for their data, and migrating to the cloud completely is still not widely adopted in healthcare. When entities move data to the cloud, they give up a certain amount of control if they choose a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or even a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) option. Hosting infrastructure solutions on premise allows IT administrators to be more hands on.

However, organizations may not have the budget or staff to maintain on-premise deployments, making cloud deployments the most viable option. Organizations are not tied to one type of data storage solution or datacenter deployment.

According to a recent Markets and Markets report, the datacenter rack server market is estimated to grow from $36.47 billion in 2016 to $90 billion by 2021. Organizations that do not want to manage or maintain legacy tower datacenter hardware are looking to rack storage to support their IT infrastructure.

Rack servers are more scalable than dedicated tower servers because they contain racks where more hardware can be placed. Rack servers also don’t take up as much space or require the same cooling energy costs, which makes them ideal for smaller organizations that want to host their datacenter on premise but don’t have a lot of space or resources to spare.

Many rack servers use flashed-based array, which brings down operating costs even more because of how they’re built. Flash-based arrays use solid-state drives (SSD) so they do not have fans or get as hot as traditional datacenter hardware, bringing down maintenance costs significantly.

A recent report released by Persistence Market Research credits the growth of flash-based array storage to the widespread adoption of mobile devices, cognitive systems, machine learning, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence.

Many of these infrastructure technologies require real-time data processing in high volume. Traditional and many cloud-based storage systems can struggle with real-time processing of the volume of data present in many modern IT systems.

The report points to healthcare as one of the top investors in flash-based array due to its processing power. Flash-based arrays also have the space and scalability to store large amounts to unstructured data for long periods of time.

Unstructured data is also a significant reason why flash-based array is on the rise. Big data and unstructured data are expected to rise rapidly over the several years as well, driving the need for efficient storage systems. Flash-based array is expected to take the lead on big data and analytics storage systems.

Healthcare organizations have struggled with how to store unstructured data since the general adoption of connected medical devices. Many organizations are considering big data analytics to qualify for federal funding, but may not have the storage capacity to support the volume of data with their current storage architecture.

IDC Research Director of Storage Eric Burgener said in a statement that as more organizations are considering big data analytics, traditional storage architecture is not well met for the amount of unstructured data collected.

"Big data flash platforms are optimized to handle very large unstructured data sets with high degrees of concurrency while delivering flash performance and reliability,” Burgener concluded.

Healthcare organizations looking to scale out their IT infrastructure in the foreseeable future need to ensure that their datacenter can handle the amount of data expected from mobile, IoT, and analytics solutions. Flexibility and scalability are necessary for a healthcare organization’s datacenter to grow along with the rest of the IT infrastructure.