Highly Available Clinical DataFrom Bavaria to the North Sea
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From Bad Tölz to Wiesbaden and Westerland on Sylt: The Asklepios Group comprises more than 170 facilities in 14 German federal states. In order to promote innovations based, for example, on artificial intelligence (AI) or robotics and to provide patients with the best possible care, Asklepios has been forging ahead with the digital transformation for years. An important pillar for digitalization in the Group is Asklepios Service IT GmbH. With its central data center in Hamburg, the company supports all Group facilities, takes care of around 18,000 workstations and provides medical and commercial applications as well as communication and collaboration tools such as email, video conferencing or document portals. The IT service subsidiary is also responsible for the nationwide company network and infrastructure.
In addition to the digitalization of internal processes, Asklepios hospitals must implement numerous legal requirements. The electronic health record (ePA), the electronic doctor's letter (eArztbrief) or the electronic prescription (eRezept) are just a few examples of the digital processes required by the legislator in the healthcare sector. Increasing digitalization is linked to exponential data growth. The doctors and nurses at Asklepios treat around 3.5 million patients every year. In doing so, large amounts of sensitive patient data are generated on a daily basis which need to be processed and stored in a highly available and secure manner. The hospitals' PACS systems alone generate 500 to 700 gigabytes of new data every day. The hospital group uses these Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) at all its locations to archive digital CT, MRI and ultrasound images.
"We use fail-safe IT operations and sophisticated emergency concepts to ensure around-the-clock patient care. Our on-premises infrastructure provides the basis for stable and secure IT processes."
Head of the Server Team at Asklepios Service IT GmbH
In order to store all the data generated in the hospitals redundantly, a high-performance backup solution is required. It must also be possible to restore both data and applications quickly after a failure. When it became apparent in 2020 that the existing backup system could no longer cope with the increasing volume of data, Felix Diroll, Head of the Server Team at Asklepios Service IT GmbH, and his team started looking for an alternative. In addition, a high-performance object storage system needed to be installed, which would allow large amounts of unstructured data to be stored efficiently and cost-effectively.
After exploring the options available on the market, the responsible persons opted to introduce backup and recovery software as well as the Huawei OceanStor 100D and Huawei OceanStor Pacific 9540 object storage products. Object storage is a storage architecture as one of the branches in scale-out solution of Huawei that manages data as objects—and not as file systems or data blocks, like other storage concepts—and is particularly good for storing large amounts of unstructured data. Among other factors, the favorable price-performance ratio as well as the fast delivery of the hardware made a convincing case for Huawei storage solutions.
The Asklepios team successfully introduced the new storage system within a week. During the course of the project, Huawei object storage was installed in parallel to the previous system and all existing backup data was then migrated to the new solution.
Asklepios now saves its current data in backup software first. This includes all digital data generated within the Group, such as medical information and patient or administrative data from the hospital information systems (KIS). After two weeks, the backup data is automatically fed into the Huawei object storage, where it remains for up to a year before eventually being deleted. Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) ensures the smooth transfer of data from the backup solution to the object storage. The file hosting service is based on open standards and makes it possible to store any volume of data for various application scenarios such as backup and recovery.
With the aid of the intuitive administration tools of the Huawei solution, the IT team can manage the backup archive data more easily and quickly than before. This saves time, which the team can then spend on other important tasks. The monitoring integrated into the Huawei solution was another convincing feature: Thanks to intelligent predictions, the administrators can now see at a glance when the storage capacity will be used up and can therefore expand the system in plenty of time. This can be done at the touch of a button as Huawei object storage can be quickly and easily scaled.
With this new backup solution, the IT team is optimally equipped for the future and is already embarking on the next steps: It is planning to use additional Huawei object storage for the long-term archiving of PACS data. This is because radiological image data must be stored for a total of 30 years in accordance with current legislation. The team also wants to provide various applications as container solutions and create a corresponding Kubernetes cluster in the central data center. The IT team also intends to use Huawei object storage for the storage space that this initiative will require.
Asklepios was established in 1985 and is now a leading digital healthcare group in Germany with around 170 facilities and 67,000 employees. With significant investments in medical excellence and digitalization plus the acquisition of MediClin AG and RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG, Asklepios is helping to advance healthcare in a major way through innovation. The Group covers the entire range of medical services — from primary care to specialist hospitals, rehabilitation clinics and outpatient support.
For more information, please visit: www.asklepios.com
"We were looking for storage hardware that would allow us to respond flexibly to increasing data volumes and which had the right price-performance ratio. With Huawei object storage systems, we consider ourselves well positioned for future requirements."
Head of the Server Team at Asklepios Service IT GmbH