University Hospital Essen supports soaring volumes of patient data with SUSE Enterprise Storage
“It usually takes three months to procure, install and configure a new mid-range storage system and migrate data over. Now, we can simply order a new bespoke and tested commodity system from Thomas-Krenn, and add its capacity to the storage pool within days – at 70 to 80 percent lower expenditure.” – Michael Nieporte, Head of IT Infrastructure at University Hospital Essen
Collaboration between scientists and medical staff is essential to advance research and healthcare quality. To improve data protection, University Hospital Essen – a leading German teaching hospital – wanted to facilitate data sharing without relying on external cloud service providers.
Beyond information sharing between teams, University Hospital Essen must also store huge volumes of patient data. Storing results of diagnostic radiology exams, such as X-rays, had led to storage costs skyrocketing.
Michael Nieporte, Head of IT Infrastructure at University Hospital Essen, explains: “With hundreds of thousands of people admitted each year, our storage environment was under constant pressure. We were storing all data on mid-range storage devices, which quickly reached full capacity. This meant that we had to frequently expand and replace our storage, which was costly and time-consuming.”
Already struggling to keep up with growing data volumes, the IT team would soon face an even bigger data storage challenge. Michael Nieporte says: “The Institute of Pathology is currently digitising all workflows. Once completed, we expect the department to generate 300 to 400 TB of data a year. With traditional mid-range storage, that kind of data growth would quickly consume our entire storage budget.”
University Hospital Essen decided to implement SUSE Enterprise Storage, a software-defined storage solution based on Ceph open source technology. The team deployed SUSE Enterprise Storage on custom-built hardware appliances from SUSE partner Thomas-Krenn.AG, a leading provider of individual server and storage solutions with a long-standing history of providing hardware for open source solutions since 2002.
Michael Nieporte recalls: “We wanted the convenience, scalability and flexibility offered by public cloud services, but we needed the security and control of an on-premise solution.
“We implemented SUSE Enterprise Storage ourselves, but stayed in close contact with Thomas-Krenn and SUSE throughout the process. Support from both Thomas-Krenn and SUSE has been great – we appreciate being able to turn to them whenever we have any questions. Naturally, we’re very pleased to see how the partnership between SUSE and Thomas-Krenn has strengthened since we started working with them.”
Today, with the SUSE Enterprise Storage Appliance from Thomas-Krenn, the hospital can get an all-in-one solution, and know that the hardware has been tested and optimised for SUSE Enterprise Storage. The hospital’s IT team can specify exactly what performance and capacity they need, even down to how the cables are laid out in the chassis, and trust Thomas-Krenn to deliver a fine-tuned system that works right out of the box. Full support and maintenance services ensure reliable operation over the full infrastructure lifecycle.
With SUSE Enterprise Storage, University Hospital Essen gained a flexible, cost-efficient data storage system. With nine nodes, the solution currently offers 300 TB of pooled storage capacity.
Additionally, University Hospital Essen introduced a file sharing service based on SUSE Enterprise Storage. Staff now have easy access to private cloud storage, enabling them to share data and collaborate more easily.
Michael Nieporte says: “SUSE Enterprise Storage in combination with Thomas-Krenn hardware and services helped us to improve data protection without increasing costs. As storage is pooled across nodes, we can expand capacity flexibly and avoid huge investments in storage upgrades.
“It usually takes three months to procure, install and configure a new mid-range storage system and migrate data over. Now, we can simply order a new bespoke and tested commodity system from Thomas-Krenn, and add its capacity to the storage pool within days – at 70 to 80 percent lower expenditure.”
Being able to add storage capacity quickly and easily will enable University Hospital Essen to accommodate ever-growing volumes of data within budget. The ability to use newer protocol features and the lower cost of supporting more interfaces enables the hospital to improve reliability, reduce administrative workload and consolidate storage systems more effectively.
A more cost-efficient storage environment helps minimise the use of shadow IT solutions outside of central control.
Michael Nieporte concludes: “With SUSE Enterprise Storage running on tested and optimised Thomas-Krenn systems, we feel confident that we can cope with rapidly-increasing volumes of data without breaking the bank. SUSE Enterprise Storage also allows us to offer staff secure file sharing services, facilitating collaboration. With SUSE Enterprise Storage, we’re well-equipped to support the new digitisation initiatives.”