At the recent DigitalPath 2016 conference Dave Gibbs from Severn Pathology (part of North Bristol NHS Trust) delivered a case study presentation on how he came to select and deploy an Arkivum managed data storage solution for his whole slide imaging data. In case you weren’t able to attend, here’s a summary of his presentation.
Dave was looking to commission a whole slide imaging (WSI) capability to move the digital pathology strategy at Severn Pathology forwards but he know that the slide scanner would generate a lot of data and he’d need to keep it all for at least 10 years. And as is typically the case, especially in the NHS, he had limited budget and resources with which to address the data storage challenges.
How much data are we talking about?
Referring to my post from earlier this week, and even given that Dave will be starting relatively small, he’ll still be generating at least 150 TB over the life of his WSI data.
What’s significant here is these volumes of data attract their own challenges as we’ll see below.
The options (remembering the budget constraints)
The first option was, naturally enough, to use local IT resources at North Bristol NHS Trust. While logical, they didn’t have any specific provision for static data (data that isn’t going to change that doesn’t need the typical backup policy applied to it0. This therefore meant that local IT would first have needed to install a backup capability for the Severn Pathology data volumes even before they began to consider how and where to store 150 TB of image data. This backup provision was going to cost £80k so this option was already going to be way over budget.
Next Dave looked at using a public cloud storage service like Amazon. Again, a logical option given the availability and scalability. But, the nature of the data meant that NHS information governance rules stipulated that a secure connection (specifically, the NHS N3 network) had to be used to transport the data to and from the service. As this wasn’t feasible, public cloud as an option was out.
He then chose the Arkivum managed storage solution having looked at what it would bring in terms of data security and integrity, cost-effectiveness, and ease of deployment.
The solution and the benefits
Severn Pathology have now successively met their data storage challenges and are reaping the rewards of their decision to entrust their data to the Arkivum solution.
This is the list of benefits that Dave presented at the conference:
- The solution was deployed and commissioned in days
- It cost £30k not £300k (and no hidden costs)
- The historical data was uploaded by Arkivum separately
- Secure NHS N3 network connectivity (and local encryption) means that IT are happy
- Nothing in the backup window so IT are happy
- 10 year contract and 100% data integrity guarantee
- More capacity is instantly available when it’s needed
- Now that the solution is in place, Severn Pathology can use it for their NGS data as well
- Pathologists at Severn Pathology have instant access to all their data irrespective of age or when it was last accessed