Intelligent Infrastructure

Mass data and next-gen workloads Intelligent Infrastructure

OpenStack case study: Healthcare

Companies are increasingly concerned about the risks of cloud vendor lock-in.

Healthcare organizations have eagerly adopted emerging technology to reduce IT spending while still trying to meet the needs of patients. The proliferation of electronic health records, for example, has improved collaboration and information sharing for doctors in addition to offering improved access for patients. This growth in adoption of new solutions has also made the cloud a valuable asset for managing data storage cost and streamlining IT management. However, highly regulated industries face unique challenges in terms of compliance. Regulatory mandates pushed Multiscale Health Networks to implement block and file storage infrastructure prior to adopting OpenStack

The organization's former infrastructure was designed for specific use cases involving high redundancy, but did not take advantage of IT cost reductions at scale, according to OpenStack. The existing solution also led to longer application deployment cycles, which created a significant IT backlog. Multiscale had to address several challenges with its cloud migration, as the organization looked to lower total cost of ownership while it maintained high availability and compliance. OpenStack deployment company Mirantis offered a unique solution through a multi-faceted approach. The strategy utilized a mixture of multi-tenant and single-tenant virtual machine servers as well as appliances for bare-metal provisioning.

To create a high performance computing environment, Mirantis deployed two open source solutions: Torque Resource Manager and Maui Cluster Scheduler. The former was essential for optimizing the job scheduler's use of OpenStack resources. Meanwhile, Maui's solution includes support for a wide range of tasks, including the ability to intelligent schedule jobs based on the availability of processors, GPUs and other server resources. 

The open source philosophy has gained considerable traction as it addresses one of the biggest fears related to the cloud: Vendor lock-in. Highlighting comments from Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, TechWorld contributor Sophie Curtis noted it can be particularly difficult to migrate assets between multiple cloud storage vendors. 

"You shouldn't have to care about the logo on the back of your phone or computer, it should just work with everything you have," Houston said. "That's the kind of limitation we want to help remove for people."