Considering archive total cost of ownership

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Before deciding on what type of archive that storage healthcare organizations will use for medical images, they can do themselves a big favor and consider total cost of ownership (TCO), according to Andrew Richard, VP business development for Plasmon who presented a study titled Total Cost of Ownership Considerations for Archiving Medical Images last week at the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology (SCAR) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. He highlighted results of an extensive evaluation of multiple storage technologies over a three-year period. The study was sponsored by Plasmon.
   
To analyze the financial impact of a number of storage technologies, the study used a three-year operational model within a 580-bed tertiary care facility with required 12 terabytes (TB) of storage with an average study size of 125 Mbytes. The facility averaged 32,000 studies a year, had a 7 to 21 year study retention rate, with a standard daily study recall rate of 10, said Richard.
   
The study looked at the following TCO components: hardware (subsystem, libraries, and servers), software (storage management applications), and media acquisition (removable tape and optical media); hardware (3 year, on-site service contracts) and software maintenance (3 year, software support and upgrade contracts; floor space (computer room cost per ft2); and power and cooling (electricity and air conditioning).
   
The selected technologies were magnetic disk, magnetic tape, and optical systems.
   
The major difference in total cost was discovered to be for disk systems which were considerably more expensive in the area of power, maintenance and cooling. For example, the magnetic tape and optical systems cooling and power total adjusted costs ranged between $768 and $2,131, whereas magnetic disk systems ranged from $11,773 to $26,490 over three years, according to the study.
   
Additional findings included the primary cost for tape and optical systems which was found to be hardware (tape 53 percent, UDO 54 percent), whereas for magnetic disk systems the largest overall cost was found to be software (42 percent). Tape systems have the lowest media costs with 5.1 percent, according to the study. Overall, the study found that the cost per GB for each technology is:

  • Tape - $10.79
  • DVD - $11.01
  • UDO - $12.80
  • MO - $36.31
  • Magnetic Disk - $41.48 to $62.96 (depending on whether systems were mirrored)

   
Richard also described a number of other cost factors to be considered when considering archive storage options:

  • Total Cost of Operation - administrative costs
  • Maximizing investment protection over the life of data (technological upgrades without data migration)
  • Data Authentication and audit Trails
  • Multiple data copies
  • Data protection and disaster recovery options
  • Cost-effective capacity expansion