StorageTek primes new manager of fixed content data for market release

February 21, 2005

The medical imaging community may soon have access to a new archiving technology. StorageTek has developed the Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100, a scalable archive designed specifically for handling data that cannot or should not be altered.

The medical imaging community may soon have access to a new archiving technology. StorageTek has developed the Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100, a scalable archive designed specifically for handling data that cannot or should not be altered.

The device will meet the needs of medical practitioners in the U.S., who must follow strict regulations requiring data to be kept intact and unchanged for extended periods of time. These data range from e-mails to CT scans.

The LFCM 100 is not yet available for such applications. StorageTek released the product in late January but only for use outside radiology, such as the long-term storage of critical corporate records. It is expected to enter the healthcare arena later this year.

The company will sell the new product through partners, including Siemens, Agfa, Kodak, and Philips. It will be tailored for use in these companies' PACS and IT systems. StorageTek is planning to brief healthcare partners on the product possibly as early as midyear.

LFCM 100 manages the storage of data, distributing the data across storage servers. These servers may access differing media, from disk to tape. StorageTek is in the final stages of a tape-based archive that will work with the LFCM 100.

"If you were to keep all your data on fast-spinning disks, there would be an enormous cost (because disk storage is so expensive)," said Jitu Urankar, global healthcare manager for StorageTek. "So we have come up with this two-archive solution, one with a tape driver, which we will bring out later this year, and the other with the disk-based FlexLine 600."

FlexLine 600 is a disk-based data management system designed to store large volumes of information. The product was announced late last year (SCAN 11/22/04 "StorageTek unveils new info management lineup" www.discan.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=53700886).

Augmented by tape-based storage and the FlexLine 600, the LFCM will allow storage to be scaled from terabytes to petabytes. The actual number of bytes will depend on the number of storage devices attached.

The software assigns each data block to a unique address. Expiration dates are assigned to specific blocks. Expirations can be extended but not shortened.

The software manages the writing of up to 8 MB per second per access node and will be able to rebuild 1 TB in approximately six hours. Competing systems may write as slowly as a few megabytes per second and can take days to rebuild 1 TB, according to StorageTek. Data might have to be rebuilt in the event of a node failure or if data are corrupted, Urankar said.

The software onboard the LCFM 100 not only protects the data from erasure or modification but ensures that they are managed cost-effectively over the dozen or so years they must be protected.

"Keeping these data ultimately will involve many generations of storage technology," said Fred Crowe, StorageTek marketing manager for information lifecycle management solutions. "What we want to do is come out with products that can automatically migrate the data from one generation of storage to the next so there is no need for a major upgrade every four or five years."

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