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How Massive Growth in Image Resolution is a Blessing and a Curse for Organizations

Over the past few years, different labels have been attached to the trend. The Data Deluge. Unstructured Data Growth. File Sprawl. But it’s the same basic pattern at work. Files are growing in size and volume and they’re placing tremendous stress on enterprises that rely on traditional storage infrastructure.

This post is the first installment in our new series, The Unstructured Data Explosion, which will detail the new file growth challenges facing today’s leading businesses and industries. In this story, we’re going to look at how massive growth in image resolution is a blessing and a curse for organizations. While businesses have to embrace these larger files if they want to thrive, they need to find a more efficient and cost-effective way to store, protect and extend access to this unstructured data.

Austin Radiological Association

Consider Austin Radiological Association (ARA), which handles the vast majority of medical imaging studies in central Texas. That sort of market penetration should be a good thing. It’s what every business strives for. But it also means that ARA adds more than 900,000 new radiological exams each year. This is not just a volume problem, either. Like any leading enterprise, ARA has embraced new technology as a way to better serve its customers. When it comes to imaging, new technology typically means higher resolution, and higher resolution translates into larger file sizes. A new three-dimensional mammography image is 20 times larger than its 2D predecessor. You can find more details in our new case study, but ARA has projected that it will be storing 1.5 PB of mammography images alone by the year 2020, and this is only a piece of what they do.

Until recently, ARA was relying on the same vendors that companies have depended on for years. But their storage hardware was filling up too quickly, and the process of buying and installing new hardware was incredibly time-consuming.

Hear directly from Todd Thomas, Chief Information Officer, and Terrence Jones, Cloud Engineer, of Austin Radiological Association (ARA)

Storage is only one aspect of the problem. These images need to be protected, and they rarely do a business much good if they simply sit in one place. Employees across the organization need to be able to access high-resolution images, and standard approaches such as WAN optimization or sync and share don’t suffice. End users won’t tolerate latency, and IT needs to be able to maintain strong security and controls, as these are patient records, they need to be compliant with HIPAA.

Managing Unstructured Data Growth

Organizations need an enterprise storage solution that grows with them, and ensures that higher-resolution images are driving their business forward, not weighing it down by adding costs and unnecessary IT management cycles. This is where Nasuni thrives. Nasuni delivers a complete set of Enterprise File Services, including unlimited scale, continuous versioning and high-performance distributed file access. Still, our clients often come to us for one very simple reason: They want a more cost-effective and flexible way to manage file and unstructured data growth, and Nasuni typically saves them 40-60%. ARA was actually able to avoid a $1.2 M hardware upgrade by switching to Nasuni.

To learn more about how we’re working with organizations to solve their file growth problems, see ARA’s IT team discuss their challenges, and follow our series for more insights into the Unstructured Data Explosion.