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Storage technology

IBM allies with Bycast to supply grid storage solution

ARMONK, N.Y. – IBM Corp. has struck up an alliance with Canadian storage solutions developer Bycast, Inc., of Vancouver, B.C. Under the agreement,  IBM will employ the grid storage technology developed by Bycast to deliver improved solutions for Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) applications and other fixed-content data.

IBM Healthcare and Life Science’s Grid Medical Archive Solution (GMAS), based on IBM’s TotalStorage and eServer and Bycast Inc.’s StorageGRID software, is said to provide flexible and scalable virtualized storage solutions for medium to large healthcare organizations and hospital networks.

Hospitals and other health institutions, through their existing PACS and imaging applications, will be able to access distributed medical images using open and scalable technologies, including Linux, while taking advantage of robust data integrity features.

GMAS effectively abstracts PACS from the underlying storage infrastructure via the use of Grid storage technologies, allowing hospitals to share storage across distributed facilities, helping to optimize utilization, simplifying administration and decreasing storage costs. The resulting scalable storage system enhances PACS’ ability to quickly and reliably deliver patient images to where they are needed throughout the organization, which can help lead to improved diagnosis, treatment and serve as a foundation for information based medicine.

With departmental buying being the historic norm in healthcare, healthcare providers are seeing a significant increase in storage investment associated with medical imaging and other types of fixed content (e.g., audio, video, documents). Today’s healthcare providers must address their growing storage needs by leveraging resources across multiple applications and sites instead of continuing to invest in storage every time an individual departmental need arises.

“Healthcare clients are looking for ways to deliver high-availability storage systems that can scale to tackle the exponential growth of fixed content data and multiple facilities”, said Moe Kermani, CEO of Bycast Inc. “By using StorageGRID’s capabilities with IBM’s products and services, hospitals can achieve a more flexible and cost effective enterprise-wide storage system. IBM has the experience, skills and resources to assist customers of all sizes, across all geographies, to deliver solutions on a local, national and global basis.”

As a technology leader with years of experience developing and implementing breakthrough healthcare solutions, IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences believes that it understands the infrastructure, regulatory, budgetary and patient care challenges facing healthcare providers.

“This solution is a prime example of how Grid computing is fundamentally changing the way customers interact with information technology, harnessing the combined power of heterogeneous computing devices and disparate information sources around the world to attack challenges in research, government, healthcare and commercial enterprises,” said Ken King, IBM’s vice president of Grid computing. “In this instance, we’re delivering innovative Grid-enabled solutions to address healthcare providers’ most important challenges with the long term goal of improving patient care.”

Implementing GMAS underneath an enterprise PACS or imaging system can help deliver the following benefits to healthcare organizations:

• Intelligent, cost-effective storage: Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) capabilities of the grid-powered storage system enable intelligent placement of medical images and high-value studies on online, while less important data can automatically be stored near-line or offline. The value of the data can be derived from the file content or metadata. Storing data in the right place, on the right media, at the right time will reduce the total cost of ownership of an enterprise storage system.

• Reduced hardware obsolescence with easier upgrades: GMAS was designed to enable seamless technology refreshes – new hardware resources can be transparently added, older existing hardware is easily decommissioned and data migration is automated. In healthcare, where data will outlive hardware, hardware obsolescence protection will help drastically reduce the total cost of ownership.

• Built-in business continuity: GMAS intelligent replication and grid architecture can deliver business continuity robustness in case of a disaster. In healthcare, where digital image archives can be hundreds of terabytes, this built-in approach to business continuity is superior to traditional “back-up and restore” procedures which may lead to extended service disruptions during recovery.

• Greater openness, scalability and reliability: GMAS provides a unified storage system that supports multi-PACS, multi-storage vendor and multi-server environments. Storage virtualization enables improved scalability, reliability and availability.

About Bycast
Bycast Inc. is a leader in high performance storage software solutions based on the next generation of grid computing technology. The Bycast StorageGRID solution combines the power of grid computing with intelligent information lifecycle management to optimize petabyte-scale archives of fixed content data. Healthcare providers can leverage Bycast software solutions to securely store and efficiently transmit diagnostic images and documents within the enterprise or across multi-site facilities. Bycast solutions have been deployed at leading healthcare institutions, including the British Columbia Cancer Agency. Bycast Inc. is a privately held company located in Vancouver, B.C., and is on the Web at