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Using Flash Array Automation for Improved Healthcare Workflows

Healthcare workflows are improved when organizations are able to automate certain aspects of their flash arrays.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Tintri announced its latest toolkit with added capabilities to help organizations automate their flash array storage solutions for improved healthcare workflows.

Tintri Automation Toolkit 3.1 includes over 100 commands along with a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs). These tools help users build standardized, repeatable, and abstracted workflows into their storage environment for maximum efficiency.

The toolkit features:

  • Tintri REST API – the fully documented REST API provides flexibility to extract any data and perform any action on any VM
  • Tintri Python SDK – provides abstraction above the REST API for use in automating Tintri with open source, OpenStack and Linux environments
  • Tintri PowerShell Toolkit – provides a full set of PowerShell cmdlets for use in Microsoft Windows environments. The Toolkit integrates with a heterogeneous ecosystem of PowerShell offerings from other companies, including integration with VMware vSphere PowerCLI cmdlets.

“Most traditional storage vendors can only automate at array-level or LUN-level operations,” Tintri CTO and Co-Founder Kieran Harty said in a statement. “But since most workflows are focused on applications and their associated VMs, this lack of granularity for storage just doesn’t work as well as it should.”

“Tintri enables the IT team and developers to automate their workflows at the VM level for their individual applications,” Harty continued. “The Toolkit offers the ability to develop customized workflows and automate routine tasks – such as snapshots for VM protection, replication for disaster recovery and copy data management for DevOps environments – to guarantee performance service levels.”

Flash-based arrays are growing in health IT infrastructure as organizations are demanding more performance from their on-premises storage solutions.

Flash-based arrays are made up of multiple solid-state disk drives that are more stable than the spinning disks found in hard disk drives. The flash drives transfer data faster than hard disk drives and are easier to reprogram.

Flash-based arrays also don’t need the same cooling process as standard drives, making the cost of the data center much less expensive. Many flash-based arrays also include data replication, deduplication, and snapshots for recovery purposes. They are also cheaper to physically deploy because they don’t require as much power to run.

Flash arrays are required for organizations looking to embrace technology with high volume data sets, such as big data analytics, according to an IDC AFA presentation. Hard disc drives (HDDs) can’t meet heavy requirements cost-effectively and flash is needed to maintain an environment as IT infrastructure density increases.

Flash arrays use more advanced methods of data storage and retrieval so organizations can use their stored data effectively.

Automating flash array workflows further eases IT administrators’ stress. Automating certain tasks gives IT administrators time to focus on more important projects and reduces the risk of human error.

IDC advised organizations to consider their future storage needs when looking into flash array.

“All systems can deliver extremely high performance and low latency for a single application, but a system's ability to support key multitenant features should be considered for customers that plan to host multiple workloads, thereby maximizing the return on investment (ROI) that derives from the secondary economic benefits of flash deployment at scale,” IDC authors advised. “IDC believes that mixed workload consolidation is the future of flash array and, by 2019, they will dominate primary storage spend in the enterprise.”

Many healthcare organizations are interested in big data analytics and that data needs to be hosted. All flash arrays allow organizations to scale up their on-premises storage infrastructure to meet demands rather than having to continuously purchase new servers.

Data needs to be accessed quickly in healthcare so organizations can use it effectively at the point of care, which is why flash array can help entities adapt to future storage needs.