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Why High-Performance Computing is Important to Healthcare

Julie Fagan
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Though undeniably delicious, one thing cheesecake isn’t is a health tool, right? Actually, depending on your gut’s microbiome, it may be healthier than fresh fruit. Researchers from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science studied the effect of different foods on 800 people to learn more about the body’s glycemic response mechanisms.

Raw data including height and weight, sleep and exercise patterns, as well as blood and gut microbiome work was collected for the study. In all, over 50,000 meals were assessed, and over 1.5 million glucose measurements were collected. This project—with its massive datasets—was made possible by high-performance computing (HPC), a form of supercomputing that is able to digest staggering workloads and provide lucid results. For this study, researchers concluded that people respond differently to various foods so that indeed, for some people, cheesecake may be healthier than a grapefruit!

HPC is helping to advance medical research in other ways. For example, it has led to the creation of a noninvasive robotic arm controlled by the brain—a potentially life-changing breakthrough for people living with paralyzed limbs. HPC is also accelerating drug discovery for many diseases.

What unites these disparate studies is their shared requirement for gigantic datasets. The potential of HPC to transform healthcare is clear, but for your HPC infrastructure to run reliably and smoothly, it must be built on storage that can keep up with very high compute speeds. If storage is slow or becomes unavailable, research will slow down, stop altogether, or—worst of all—data could be lost, destroying years of work. Not only will life-changing treatments get delayed, but budgets could be overextended and your competition could ultimately get the edge.

NetApp® high-performance E-Series systems provide a fast, reliable, cost-effective storage solution that helps keep your healthcare operations running as fast as your data scientists’ projects evolve. You can seamlessly scale E-Series systems to accommodate a vast amount of data, using a granular, building-block approach to growth. You can expand storage with a pay-as-you-go strategy, adding one or more drives at a time. Along with speed, reliability, and easy scaling capacity, the E-Series system helps reduce your TCO because its industry-leading density helps bring down infrastructure costs like cooling and heating.

 With a NetApp E-Series HPC solution for healthcare, you can:

  • Accelerate performance. Deploy systems that can process up to 1 million random read IOPS at less than 250 microseconds and 14GBps sustained (maximum burst) write bandwidth per scalable building block.
  • Improve reliability. Keep research flowing and maintain data integrity with systems that deliver 99.9999%+ availability and industry-leading durability, based on nearly 1 million units shipped.
  • Simplify operations. Add performance and capacity nondisruptively and without complex deployments or migrations. Dynamically configure new systems for faster deployment, and automate common tasks for easier management.

To learn more, read the NetApp High-Performance Computing Solution for Healthcare use case.

Julie Fagan

Julie Fagan has a long career in high-tech solutions marketing. She loves working at NetApp where she gets to focus on bringing the best video surveillance and high performance computing storage solutions to the world along with her awesome co-workers.

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