Posts Tagged ‘Customers’

Death Stars Are Powerless Against the Power of Knowledge

Yasir Yousuff

Sr. Director, Global Geo Marketing at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

Latest posts by Yasir Yousuff (see all)

We have seen it happen again and Death Staragain, first with the Death Star, then with the Death Star II, and most recently, with the Starkiller Base. Precision shots by a pilot equipped with the right knowledge could destroy a weaponized base a thousand times bigger than his fighter craft. If you know what we’re talking about, chances are you’re a Star Wars fan, or have at least watched the series and understood the plot.

Medical Treatment Vs Death Star Destruction

So what do medical treatment and the destruction of Death Stars have in common? For one, it saves lives. For another, how insightful knowledge lies at the heart of such noble activity. But you see, insights do not just show themselves. They are the refined product of data analysis, supported by a base of powerful infrastructure.

To offer a better idea, let’s turn our attention to Sydney Adventist Hospital. Commonly referred to as the San, the facility is New South Wales’ largest private hospital, with some 53,000 patients and 180,000 outpatients treated annually.

Doctors here use a picture archive and communication system (PACS) as an essential diagnostic tool for patients. Since 2004, the average PACS study size for each patient has doubled from 32 megabytes to 76 megabytes with the number of cases exploding from 1,457 to over 64,000 studies a year.

“It is difficult to assess future storage requirements in a hospital environment because we can’t predict what diagnostic modalities will be brought on board,” says John Hoang, Senior Systems Engineer at Sydney Adventist Hospital.

At the San, specialist departments do their own research, attend conferences, and decide what tools will make a difference to patient outcomes. This means that the storage environment needs to be able to accommodate new tools as they are onboarded.

One can only imagine the kind of storage requirements needed to support such data expansion. And more than that, the speed required to scour and retrieve the right data files.

Imagine if you were an X-Wing fighter pilot taking heavy enemy fire and you had just one fly pass to take a single shot to destroy the Death Star. Chances are you’d need to know where to make the shot, and you’d need to know it really quick.

Similarly, time waits for no man in the medical world. Sometimes doctors only have one shot to treat a patient, and they need all the insights they can glean from patient diagnostic data. And they need it fast.

Turning Uncertainty into Certain Certainty

In addition to the San’s existing EMC VNX unified storage solution, a PACS storage environment has been deployed with two EMC Isilion X-Series clusters at two separate sites with 85 terabytes of storage. This has been further enhanced by EMC Isilon SyncIQ to provide easy-to-manage replication of data between the two sites, which is critical to the hospital’s agile infrastructure, ensuring all nodes in the Isilon cluster concurrently send and receive data during replication jobs.

“The PACS system is more resilient because more storage is handled on a multi-node architecture. If we lose one node, we still have two nodes online so specialists can continue to retrieve images. In this sense the technology has paid for itself – we simply don’t need to worry about outages or disruption to services due to storage limitations anymore,” explains Hoang.

Another piece of good news is when data volumes increase, capacity can be seamlessly scaled to ensure performance is consistent. An Isilon X-Series cluster can be easily brought online within minutes, with a single cluster possessing the ability to scale from a few terabytes to more than 50 petabytes. Now that’s over 200 gigabytes per second of throughput. From another perspective, a patient’s entire PACS history file could be downloaded even before a doctor finishes saying, “Do you feel pain here?”

A Legacy Forged Today

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Perhaps in a century or more, technology and medical historians would look back at this period as a defining moment where data represented infinite possibilities for human health. Who would have thought something as simple yet complex at the same time, such as data storage and retrieval, could play such a pivotal role?

Making Trust and Collaboration a Unified Force in Science

Sanjay Joshi

CTO, Healthcare & Life-Sciences at EMC
Sanjay Joshi is the Isilon CTO of Healthcare and Life Sciences at the EMC Emerging Technologies Division. Based in Seattle, Sanjay's 28+ year career has spanned the entire gamut of life-sciences and healthcare from clinical and biotechnology research to healthcare informatics to medical devices. His current focus is a systems view of Healthcare, Genomics and Proteomics for infrastructures and informatics. Recent experience has included information and instrument systems in Electronic Medical Records; Proteomics and Flow Cytometry; FDA and HIPAA validations; Lab Information Management Systems (LIMS); Translational Genomics research and Imaging. Sanjay holds a patent in multi-dimensional flow cytometry analytics. He began his career developing and building X-Ray machines. Sanjay was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and has been a consultant or co-Principal-Investigator on several NIH grants. He is actively involved in non-profit biotech networking and educational organizations in the Seattle area and beyond. Sanjay holds a Master of Biomedical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and a Bachelor of Instrumentation Technology from Bangalore University. He has completed several medical school and PhD level courses.

Try to recall all the superhero movies you have watched. Many of us would agree that the films which are most captivating are those where superheroes collaborate as a team to defeat a near invincible villain – like in The Avengers. When there is collaboration, there is trust. Dr. Douglas Fridsma, President and CEO of the AMIA (American Medical Informatics Association) mentioned a phrase in a panel discussion we were on in 2012 that stuck with me. “Information moves at the speed of trust.” And, trust is at the heart of any collaboration. New forms of trust and collaboration networks have been forming since 2008, and the “bitcoin” is a great example of this. The “BlockChain” method behind bitcoin, discussed in an article published by The Economist and illustrated in the figure below is a new approach to trust and collaboration.

This figure illustrates the "BlockChain" method behind bitcoin.

Scientists are our Modern-day X-Men

Taking this parallel and comparing it to the sphere of scientific research – notably in biomedical sciences, this is an area where breakthroughs can deliver better health outcomes for mankind – like superheroes do, but only if scientists have the means of working together. All humans are continuously mutating; and I’d like to think that scientists are our modern day X-Men (and Women)!

The two most exciting disruptions in science recently are Synthetic Biology advances and the CRISPR gene editing enzyme system. Both of these innovations have enormous implications for biomedical sciences and the future of healthcare advancements.

Recently, a young girl in London with Leukemia was treated with Gene Editing Therapy. This case used a gene editing enzyme system called TALEN. This is but one of the many leaps that have been made possible through collaborative scientific research.

Fueling and Steering Scientific Research

Research is fueled by data. Discoveries are steered by the management of data. Even superheroes like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk need some form of cognitive direction to focus their superhuman powers in order to achieve a common desired outcome. To build trust and collaboration frameworks, we need a single logical container of data. And this is why EMC has the Data Lake concept: a multi-user, multi-protocol, multi-application container for data which is geo-aware and secure.

We know that research is ultra-data intensive. To implement Precision Medicine at population health scale, there are two pivots: Collaboration and Asia. The Malaysia Genome Institute (MGI) engages in national and international collaborative projects in comparative genomics and genetics, structural and synthetic biology, computational and systems biology, and metabolic engineering. When MGI does DNA sequencing, whole genome sequencing, whole transcriptome sequencing, and targeted sequencing, a single run generates 13 terabytes of data. That’s equivalent to over 2.6 million songs in your iPod.

Being able to discover insights through large chunks of data is what differentiates progress from stalemate for the institution and its partners. MGI had a problem. As MGI increased its storage capacity to cope with the influx of research data, data processing speed decreased, which slowed down analysis work.

That was before MGI adopted EMC Isilon’s scalable on demand storage solution with its fast next-generation sequencing architecture. With the added benefit of having data access provided directly to users, this has also curbed the problem of bottlenecks within workflows and ensured ease of collaboration.

Read the MGI Case Study to learn more.

Tools for Teamwork in Research

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is a single agency that oversees 14 biomedical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering institutes as well as six consortia and centers.

So how does A*STAR encourage collaboration amongst scientists housed in different institutions?

There were two key issues A*STAR needed to address. One, sharing of data between institutions was done manually by researchers, who had to make a copy to transfer it to another party. It was both time consuming and wasteful in terms of storage due to the duplication of data within localized machines.

Two, long procurement periods – three to nine months – meant A*STAR didn’t have the means to scale up storage when the demand called for it. The opportunity cost was great.

Following the deployment of a comprehensive EMC Isilon platform, all that changed. Atop the increase in usable capacity with an option to scale on demand, researchers could now assign their data to a central storage, which could be shared within and across research institutes.

Says Lai Loong Fong, Director, Computational Resource Centre at A*STAR. “Users have been receptive to the new model. They are looking forward to the new features we can offer them to provide greater flexibility in accessing research data through their mobiles or laptops when they are working and meeting outside of the labs. It’s another way we can support innovation and collaboration across all of our research disciplines.”

Read the A*STAR Case Study to learn more.

Subject Data Protection

According to DOE Human Subjects Resources, the use of humans as research subjects has aided significant scientific discoveries such as the Human Genome Project. That being said, given that one’s genome contains personal health and other privy information, there needs to be measures in place to protect each subject’s privacy and prevent the loss of information. There are Ethical, Legal and Social Implication (ELSI) issues which can be resolved by trust and collaboration, as published by the Genome Law Review.

Looking at A*STAR as an example again, the agency has incorporated EMC Isilon SnapshotIQ into their platform which offers data protection through secure inbox snapshots and access to near-immediate, on-demand snapshot restores.

The sum of many great minds can achieve much greater things than the sum of one. And even greater still, scalable data storage on the cloud now makes it possible for great minds to work together, regardless of where they are. We can only begin to imagine what our modern-day science X-Men would be able to actualize in these new dynamic and secure collaborative environments.


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Winning the Content Delivery Race With Innovative Storage Solutions

Dan Kieran

Sr. Director of Sales at EMC

Latest posts by Dan Kieran (see all)

2014 is a year where we saw an organizational shift—where production companies
moved towards being ‘always on’ to serve the connected customer. With the proliferation of mobile devices and content delivery portals, it should not be surprising the year also saw escalated efforts by production companies to connect with that consumer. As the needs of businesses and consumers continuously evolve, so do the systems providing information and data.

Any improvements Racingmade over the last couple of decades have not been enough to address rapid growth, various distribution channels, multiple devices and platforms, as well as changing customer expectations. We know that content production inefficiencies delay time-to-market, introducing unnecessary expenses, and limiting abilities to respond to opportunities or threats. Media and Entertainment companies are realizing they need to consolidate their IT into a common infrastructure by managing storage more effectively, and better utilize computing assets in order to ensure content created provides maximum business value.

Delivering High-Quality Content; Too Fast too Furious
The appetite for access to high-quality, repeatable entertainment is still very much a push factor for production companies to expand, and operating margins to increase. Consumer spending on home entertainment has remained a resilient market—and with Asia being the first “mobile-first” region—there is still plenty of unexploited opportunity in terms of enabling home entertainment. (more…)

3 Ways Scalable Technology is Enabling Media & Broadcast Companies

Yasir Yousuff

Sr. Director, Global Geo Marketing at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

Latest posts by Yasir Yousuff (see all)

We want great content, 3 ways scalable techand we want it now. We are a generation used to instant gratification, and technology has only served to amplify the need to be constantly connected on the go. This has created a unique broadcasting market dynamic in many developing countries – particularly in the Asia Pacific—the era of the Connected Consumer. According to International Data Corporation (IDC) in an article from OnScreen Asia, mobility is crucial to the lives of many consumers and the survival of businesses in Asia Pacific region, due to the combination of a fast growing economy and a lack of fixed infrastructure in developing countries. Broadcast companies must adapt to suit changing consumer preferences or risk becoming irrelevant.

How can businesses leverage mobile device adoption and utilize it to engage a fragmented audience?

Future-proofing—Staying Three Steps Ahead
Multi-platform content delivery is an industry trend broadcast companies are starting to embrace as a new way to engage consumers, monetizing those engagements, and better managing the user experience. This is to be expected especially with the rise of on-demand video platforms, consumer mobility, and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets. New media services deliver web content to audiences through live streaming, as well as on-demand services via PCs and mobile devices.

This converged development of traditional and new media services has led to transmedia storytelling—the development of stories across multiple forms of media to deliver unique pieces of content across each channel. These pieces of sequential content work together to form a bigger picture, serving the purpose of reaching a wider target market. Therefore, the move to IP-based infrastructure becomes increasingly important as broadcast technology buyers continue to look for ways to make broadcast operational environments more efficient.

Broadcast companies, such as Zhejiang Radio and Television Group (ZRTG) in China, are focusing on enhancing the customer experience using intelligent selection to enhance content delivery. Selecting IP storage with EMC Isilon was a forward-thinking decision ZRTG made because it met the long-term performance requirements to access and edit media assets for high quality broadcast content. According to Luo Leiyi, Sector Chief at ZRTG, “One of the most important features of the EMC Isilon solution is the modular scalability, because as a broadcaster we need storage capacity to be quickly added as our programming and content services expand across multiple formats.”

Going Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
In recent times, efficiency has been a key motivation of broadcast technology purchasing. Increased operational efficiency and cost savings have proven to be considerably more significant than cutting-edge technology, according to Devoncraft’s 2014 Big Broadcast Survey. We have seen this with production companies moving to file-based or tapeless workflows—choosing to entirely digitize their content, consolidate silos, as well as streamline processes. This centralized data management and retrieval lowers migration workloads between core online facilities and secondary storage. To put it simply, content is created faster and at a lower cost, thanks to improved management and application efficiency.

Post-production firm, Adnet Global prides itself on same-day delivery for most of their services with EMC Isilon. To achieve this speed, large file and dataset transfers are spread over the EMC Isilon nodes, enabling massive gigabit per second throughput and the exchange of files within a predictable time. Nivas Patil, Senior Manager of Technology at Adnet Global explains, “The files for production are immediately available, which means we have more time to complete each job. Due to the performance, scalability, and high availability of the EMC Isilon storage, we have definitely increased our productivity.”

Time is Money
We all know time is money, and this is even more pertinent in the fast paced broadcast industry. As rich-media file sizes continue to increase and deadlines get shorter, production companies need to evolve the workflow to decrease time-to-market as well as reduce media production costs. There can be no time for downtime, and high systems availability is crucial. Downtime can be very expensive when you are Rising Sun Pictures (RSP), an Australia-based visual effects company which has worked on high profile feature films such as Gravity and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Mark Day, Head of Systems at RSP comments, “If a single node goes offline, there’s an automatic failover to other nodes in the Isilon cluster. Every piece of work we do is complex. Our software is demanding on storage because we produce more than a terabyte of data per hour. But we’re very confident that our valuable creative work and intellectual property is protected by Isilon.”




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