Austin Radiological Association (ARA) has been storing digital medical images since 2001. At first, the organization invested in a high performance storage area network (SAN) array. Two years later, ARA already had to upgrade. A year after that, they needed more space again, and by 2008 they were consuming 24 TB per year. That was seven years ago. Today that number is only growing, as ARA has begun working with 3D imaging files that are 20 times larger than their predecessors. So how has this group even survived such massive growth?
At a recent HIMSS event, I co-hosted a webinar with Todd Thomas, the CIO of ARA, about how to break out of the neverending storage purchasing cycle. Thomas refers to it as the buy-expand-retire-buy-migrate cycle. Others talk in terms of NAS refreshes. But the general idea is the same. First you buy a big, expensive array. Then it fills up long before you expected. So you upgrade. You expand the array. Then you migrate your data. And before you know it, you’re out of capacity again, so you have to start back at the beginning. Only this time through it’s even more difficult. The whole system becomes more complex with each upgrade, so your IT team has to spend more time on maintenance and management.
An Unsustainable Storage Cycle
No matter what you call this storage purchasing cycle, it’s painful and expensive, and it only gets worse as your data grows. At ARA, one recent migration took 10 months to complete. Thomas and his team realized that continually adding storage nodes was not a viable long-term solution. They evaluated a few different approaches, including outsourcing their entire archive to an established player, utilizing software-defined storage solutions and taking advantage of cloud.
Obviously the big appeal with cloud storage was value and scalability, but after spending so many years trapped in that vicious storage cycle, Thomas also wanted a solution that would be simple and transparent. He wanted one bill, without unexpected charges. He wanted to be able to call actual, technically qualified people when he had a problem or a question. All that and the thing had to work.
Cloud NAS: An All-In-One Solution
After a series of evaluations, ARA chose Nasuni Cloud NAS. Now Thomas and his organization benefit from the value and unlimited scalability of the cloud, a simple monthly bill, built-in data protection, centralized management and 24/7/365 customer support. Thanks to the cloud, ARA will never have to buy another array again. And thanks to Nasuni, the transition was simple and painless.
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