- Making the most out of on-premises servers is one of the biggest challenges facing healthcare storage today. Organizations need to develop strategies and find tools and solutions to make sure server space is not being wasted.
Servers are expensive and purchasing them to expand a storage environment can’t be taken lightly. This is especially true when existing servers haven’t been fully utilized yet. Servers also take up space, with many organizations not having extra room available to store and run servers.
Entities have two steps in this situation: consolidate servers and move data to the cloud. Not all data belongs in the cloud and many organizations don’t have the desire to exclusively store their data in the cloud. Healthcare organizations want to keep at least some of their data on-premises.
“Hospitals tend to want to build their own datacenters Pure Storage Vice President and CTO of Healthcare Vik Nagjee told HITInfrastructure.com. “It happens all the time. Uptime is super important in healthcare; you can’t afford to have these systems go down.”
On-premises storage does not require a wireless internet connection to retrieve clinical data, making it considerable less risky. Due to the nature of healthcare data, organizations want to deploy the storage solution they feel is the most secure. This is often the solution entities have the most control over.
Forward Health Group CTO Jeff Thomas told HITInfrastructure.com that there is a comfort level for organizations in knowing that their data is in their data center.
“They can walk up and touch it, and sometimes it's that emotional comfort factor that has some healthcare organizations leaning toward keeping data in house,” Thomas noted.
Organizations need to decide which data is better to keep on-premises and which data can be moved to the cloud. Often applications can be moved to the cloud so organizations can scale them up, or easily build more applications as they are needed.
Once the data and applications that need to be in the cloud are migrated to the cloud, organizations still need to consider how to get the most out of their servers.
Upgrading to more powerful and advanced servers will keep organizations from needing to replace servers as often. While more advanced servers may be more expensive than traditional servers, they can be expanded more easily and will last longer.
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 much space or resources.
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), meaning they do not have fans or get as hot as traditional datacenter hardware. This also helps bring down maintenance costs significantly.
Hyper-converged storage is another solution organizations can use to improve on-premises storage.
Hyper-converged storage uses software-defined technology to combine storage, networking, and virtualization into one unit that can be managed by one single system. Hyper-convergence gives IT administrators more control over their storage environment by consolidating all of the management features into one system.
Hyper-convergence can be run in a cloud or on-premise environment and lets IT administrators control all virtual deployments from one place. This allows for less user error, faster technology speeds, and more control over virtualized tools.
Cloud is becoming a standard health IT infrastructure technology, but it is highly unlikely that healthcare organizations will totally abandon on-premises servers.
On-premises servers need to evolve along with other infrastructure technology to continue to support higher volumes of data and advanced technology.