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Public cloud archiving fit for rigorous clinical imaging firm

Imanova needed bit-level integrity of data for at least 25 years and found Arkivum/100 managed cloud-based archiving preferable to unmanaged cloud or in-house systems

Imaging sciences expert Imanova has opted to archive data to the Arkivum/100 archiving service. The organisation chose Arkivum, a managed public cloud-based archiving service, instead of building a system in-house or moving data to an unmanaged cloud storage service.

Imanova retains clinical imaging and research from drug trials and is an alliance of the Medical Research Council, Imperial College London, King’s College London and University College London.

The information it retains comprises image data from clinical trials generated by PET, MRI, CT and related scanning technologies, as well as associated data from drug testing. The data is very stringently regulated and must be held for 25 years – according to MHRA and CTIMP regulations – during which time its integrity must be guaranteed.

Imanova currently has around 50TB total data on-site and generates up to 5TB per year. Most of Imanova’s data is held on-site on 3PAR arrays with around 25TB of data also held off-site on Microsoft Azure’s cloud.

The plan is for the most sensitive clinical trial data, so-called “quiet” data that will likely no longer be accessed, to be archived to the Arkivum/100 cloud.

Arkivum/100 is a dedicated archiving public cloud storage service. The provider manages all data retention and curation tasks and guarantees data integrity down to bit level.

So far about 0.5TB has been moved there, said head of IT John Waters.

“We’ve been doing it for around six months so far. We’re still testing the process. We have to prove the system works in a validated way for data integrity,” he said.

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Imanova accesses Arkivum/100 via an on-site appliance, Waters said. “It looks like a drive on the network. You move data to it and it copies data to the Arkivum storage systems, where three copies are held across different datacentres.”

A key attraction of the Arkivum service is that it is managed for Imanova, said Waters.

“We could have put the data in Amazon Glacier or Google Nearline [so-called cold storage services] but we would have to manage it. Arkivum is a managed service. It’s send-and-forget. The index stays on the appliance and we can show it to the auditor. Whatever happens to Imanova, we are confident the data can be passed on to customers and users, for example.”

“Building this kind of system in-house would be too much trouble and cost. What we have is cheaper than Azure and more expensive than Glacier and Nearline, although the cost of these long-term services increases the more you do with data, with Ryanair-style pricing for each action. Arkivum is one price. You can even pay up-front for the 25-year period.”

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