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Using All-Flash Deployments for Health IT Infrastructure in 2018

Improved support for remote locations and edge services is just one benefit of all-flash deployments that healthcare organizations could utilize in the New Year.

healthcare all-flash deployments

Source: Thinkstock

By Bill Kleyman

- I’m really excited to touch on this topic. Not just because we’ve been doing all sorts of converged infrastructure and all-flash deployments, but because of the massive benefits we’ve seen impacting various types of organizations.

A common theme within many healthcare data centers has been to improve efficiency, reduce the overall footprint, and allow the data center to support new types of initiatives.

These initiatives revolve around leveraging greater amounts of virtualization, deploying more VDI, embracing user mobility, and even creating more of a consumption model around IT. The technology vehicle to achieve these types of initiatives has revolved around all-flash technologies.

Backing up a bit – a major barrier to adoption revolved around reliance and uptime. Well, that’s certainly no longer the case.

For example, Pure Storage’s appliances deliver 99.9999 percent availability – and that’s inclusive of maintenance, failures, and now generational upgrades. You’re talking literally just a few seconds (if that) of outages per year. Plus, if you have high availability in your healthcare data center (which you certainly should) that number goes down even more.

READ MORE: Healthcare Data Storage Options: On-Premise, Cloud and Hybrid Data Storage

Within healthcare, there are so many benefits behind the deployment of all-flash. This includes:

  • Less power, cooling, and space requirements
  • Improved support for remote locations and edge services
  • Better multi-tenancy for VDI, virtualization, and application delivery
  • Greater amounts of resiliency for uptime, backup/DR, and snapshots
  • Faster time to deployment.

The other big benefits revolve around the economic impact on your data center as well.

In a recent report from Forrester (commissioned by Pure), analysts examined the economic impact of removing legacy spinning disk and replacing them with all-flash solutions. Interviewed customers reported significant power and cooling savings when they replaced legacy disk storage with all-flash technologies.

For the various organizations, power and cooling savings totaled $74,231 over three years and assume a cost per KWH for power of $0.14 and a cost per KWH for cooling of $0.10. Remember, these savings can be even greater if you’re operating multiple distributed data centers with several racks of spinning disk.

These types of architectures are capable of doing so much. With solutions like those from Pure, you can now effectively house 1PB of data in 3U. Similarly, 20U can house 8PB of effective storage.

READ MORE: All-Flash Arrays Support Data Intensive Healthcare Applications

Sounds pretty awesome, right? So how do you get started?

Maybe you have some legacy gear in your data center today and you’re trying to figure out the next best steps. Remember, this does not have to be a forklift upgrade. Many of the projects I’ve worked on are actually very smooth migrations to a much better ecosystem.

That said, I highly recommend looking at all-flash solutions to help jump-start your 2018. Here’s how to get started.

Map out your use-cases, applications, users, and remote locations

Storage devices aren’t that hard to figure out. However, you need to clearly define your use-cases and know the workloads that’ll be sitting on top of that storage. That means understanding your applications, your virtual ecosystem, and any dependencies that revolve around your current storage platform. Remember, these will need to be mapped to the new arrays to ensure proper functionality. The other big component here is planning for the future. Sizing and capacity planning are a must when designing and deploying storage solutions. If you plan on distributing your IT into rural locations to support more users and use-cases, all-flash can be a great vehicle for this. However, make sure you have the right capacity metrics planned out. Once you’ve architected the solution and have clear visibility into what you’ll need to support, mapping that to an all-flash solution becomes much easier.

READ MORE: Healthcare Object Storage Supports Growing Unstructured Data

Make all-flash a seamless part of your infrastructure – leverage validated designs and converged solutions

One thing you don’t want to do is introduce greater levels of complexity and fragmentation into your environment. This means leveraging solutions that have gone through design validation and can give you those validated designs right from the vendors. For example, the FlashStack platform is a validated design that couples Cisco and Pure storage for a converged ecosystem. From there, you can deploy local applications as well as virtualization solutions from VMware and Citrix. This is exactly what one organization recently did. In fact, they went from 40 racks of equipment, more than four rows in their data center, down to two racks of FlashStack. These validated designs act as easy building blocks allowing you to properly scale and simplify management across distributed locations.

Start small and scale as you require

I love doing parallel deployments. They cause the least amount of disruption, can help you validate your design, and allow you to really put these new systems through their paces. Too often when we talk about deploying new solutions, we think of rip and replace, disruption, and downtime. The beauty of virtual systems and integrating these new technologies is the ability to scale and migrate systems much more easily. Many storage vendors can even ship you the box you require to test out for a set number of days. If you like it, keep it, and continue to deploy and grow as you require.

Deploying all-flash solutions today is far simpler than it was ever before. You’re working with validated designs, enterprise-level support, new types of use-cases which are impacted by flash, and a much more robust healthcare data center. The bottom line is that all-flash solutions help healthcare data centers shape and shift with the healthcare market.

In a world of mergers, growth, and acquisitions, your data center must be able to respond effectively. Integrating various parts of your infrastructure – through things like converged infrastructure – allows you to do things like single-click provisioning and advanced resource delivery.

The faster you can push out those apps and services, the faster you can be productive and serving healthcare users. And, when it comes to speed – all-flash is the Formula 1 equivalent for your data center. Adopting these solutions will absolutely help you create faster go-to-market strategies while still lowering overall costs and improving user experiences.

If you haven’t looked at all-flash solutions yet, make 2018 the year you do so.

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