HyperSpeed Technology boosts PACS without image compression

September 25, 2002

New technology runs in Windows environmentThe massive files generated by high-resolution digital imaging techniques can bog down a network. HyperSpeed Transport, a patent-pending technology created by a U.K.-based supplier of RAID

New technology runs in Windows environment

The massive files generated by high-resolution digital imaging techniques can bog down a network. HyperSpeed Transport, a patent-pending technology created by a U.K.-based supplier of RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks), may provide some relief.

HST requires neither a special operating system nor image compression. Instead, the technology, which is written for Windows NT/2000 environments, allows files to be retrieved from Windows-based servers using standard Windows interfaces. Data can be retrieved at a sustainable 130 MBps, according to Michael Smith, former head of clinical trial imaging at Covance, a Princeton, NJ, pharmaceutical firm, and now a consultant to Baydel, which developed HST.

"Using standard NT network file sharing, a single client reads files from high-speed RAID platters attached to the NT server head," Smith said.

Baydel, a privately held company founded 30 years ago in England, specializes in the development and sale of hardware and software that boost the performance of RAID systems and other data storage technologies. The company focuses particularly on serving industries involved in digital animation and medical data acquisition.

HST has been tested extensively with DICOM and HDTV signals. The company, which has several offices in the U.S., including one in San Jose, CA, is in contact with several curious PACS vendors.

"In PACS, our application rides piggyback on communication infrastructure and standards," said Henri ŒRik' Primo, director of Medical Solutions in Siemens' IS/PACS department. "If HST makes it in this world, we will be very interested in benefiting from its advantages for transferring large files, fast and reliably, over networks, the same as we benefit from Gigabit Ethernet, JPEG compression, and other technologies."

HST runs on a standard 2-Gb fiber local area network using third-party SAN (storage area network) systems from informatics vendors such as Brocade, Qlogic, and Agilent. Like Microsoft's WinSock Direct, a new protocol that integrates server applications into SAN environments, HST uses fiber channel as the physical network layer. But while WinSock Direct is a socket technology designed to allow clustered servers to communicate with each other, HST was designed to allow ordinary, low-cost clients to access remote server storage at previously unheard-of transfer rates.

HST is nearly five times faster than a typical Gigabit Ethernet and more than double the speed of the fastest Gigabit Ethernet cards with TCP offline load engines (TOEs), Smith said.

Its 130-MBps speed is measured from the time the client makes a file request until the requested data return from the rotating platters of the server storage. It is not simply a memory-to-memory socket rate in which no mechanical motion is involved. Running the same test, FastEthernet measures 8 MBps, commodity GigE cards run 25 MBps, and the fastest TOE cards measure 66 MBps, Smith said.

Since the fiber host bus adapters used are dual-port devices, HST can nearly double available bandwidth by implementing a second LAN path on the same channel. Recent tests indicate single-client file transfers can reach 250-plus MBps at distances of up to 10 km.