Medical technology: Triple performance through virtualization

Medical technology: Triple performance through virtualization

The NGS technology (Next Generation Sequencing) needs reliable, fast and high-quality results, not least in virology. Virtualization and cloud-based storage concepts are real innovation boosters for medical technology. Ulmer geneticum has now been able to significantly increase the performance of its sequence analyses.

In medical technology, German industry generates global sales of 33.4 billion euros (source: 2019, BVMed). Innovation is part of day-to-day business here. IT has long since ceased to be just pure information technology, but is considered a key factor for the innovative edge. Scalability, virtualization and cloud-based storage concepts give companies like the geneticum from Ulm the right boost in performance.

NGS technology needs reliable, fast and high-quality analysis

The geneticum is an independent, supra-regional group practice for genetic diagnostics, counseling and prevention with an attached laboratory at five locations in southern Germany. As a center for genetic prenatal diagnostics, syndromes, familial tumors and rare diseases, the genetikum combines human genetic diagnostics and specialist medical advice and, with a team of more than 100 people, is available to clinics, institutes, doctors and patients throughout Germany. In the 30 years of company history, over a quarter of a million analyses, investigations and consultations have taken place. Last but not least, the NGS technology (Next Generation Sequencing) used by genetikum in prenatal diagnostics, syndromeology and virology sequences SARS-CoV-2 viruses reliably, quickly and with high quality.

Data archiving that meets medical technology requirements requires secure and far-sighted backup concepts, intelligent networking of short-term and long-term archiving, and the preparation and securing of data retrieval over the entire lifetime of a person using an encrypted personal ID. Access for those involved in the process must be secure, location-independent and with audit-proof storage.

Cleanup of the server storage scenery with high reliability

The fragmented server landscape that had grown over the years and the decentralized storage of genetikum no longer matched the ever faster sequence analyzes and the increased demands on service, automation and digitization from everyone involved. In order to clear the path for growth and enable more performance for the analyses, the systemzwo Group from Ulm, as a holistic IT service provider, took care of the cleanup of the server storage environment. And all this without having to rebuild and replace the entire infrastructure. Planned redundancies ensured a high level of reliability, and in order to ensure data security, no data was to be transferred to third-party clouds.

Data storage rethought

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Over the past decade, the rapid pace at which IT technology has evolved has put tremendous pressure on the underlying data storage infrastructure. To keep pace with increased demands, software-defined storage has consistently proven to be the optimal foundation for any storage infrastructure.

“Avoid downtimes as far as possible, away from isolated solutions”

Michael Krug, IT manager at genetikum, had precise ideas about how the migration should take place: “It was important to us that the conversion went smoothly and that there were no interruptions, especially in our time-critical work, and that we could avoid downtime as much as possible. It was also our goal to move away from isolated solutions to a central unit that integrates both the analytical requirements of the sequencing devices and other applications from the management areas.”

Private cloud and data management based on the data fabric concept

During ongoing operations, the smooth transition to a flexible, hyperconvergent infrastructure of server and storage modules took place with the aim of setting up a private cloud and data management based on the data fabric concept. The realization took place together with the partner NetApp, with which the Systemzwo Group migrated 240 terabytes of data and 50 VMs and set up a 3S object storage.

300% increase in performance through virtualization

A data volume of 240 terabytes corresponds roughly to that of an electricity and water supplier in a medium-sized city. With five all-flash-based hosts, which are connected to the system with 2×25 gigabits, and the corresponding state-of-the-art switch systems, Systemzwo was able to achieve a massive performance gain of 300% for genetikum. “This now allows us to evaluate more and at the same time more quickly. Immediate findings are essential for the doctors and patients who send them in,” says Michael Krug. “Systemzwo has proven to be an expert in ‘smooth migration’. Our users didn’t notice anything about the migration. The fact that cloud technology is now being used in the storage area guarantees us future scalability. We urgently need this in order to advance innovations in human genetics in order to be able to continue playing at the forefront.”

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