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George Washington U Deploys Software-Defined Storage for Medical Researchers

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) at George Washington University has implemented an open source-driven software-defined storage (OpenSDS) system to ensure that researchers have high availability access to secure storage.

The SMHS IT team supports 1,500 faculty and staff who conduct research and teach students in the health and biomedical sciences. Before implementing the OpenSDS system, the university contained its data storage costs by capping the amount of storage researchers could use. As researchers' data storage needs exceeded those caps, they began using external hard drives in their labs, compromising the security and accessibility of the data.

The SMHS IT team began searching for a new system that could overcome these challenges without locking them into a specific vendor or hardware. After evaluating three options, they selected the NexentaStor software-defined storage system from Nexenta based on its built-in high availability, quality of support, depth of expertise and focus on storage, as well as open source benefits, according to information from the company.

The new system meant IT staff no longer needed to spend time managing and troubleshooting various external hard drives set up by researchers, allowing them to focus instead on managing the new SDS system and other IT initiatives. And because the researchers no longer need external hard drives, their data is more secure and accessible. Scaling the system has also proven to be cost effective. When the backup server reached 70 percent capacity, the IT team was able to add 16 terabytes of storage for less than $7,000.

According to Garrett Fields, technical support analyst for SMHS, users may not have noticed any difference in access speed, but once the university upgrades its network speed, uses should be able to access the data faster than ever.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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