In this article you will learn why Pure Storage Rapid Restore using Pure Storage FlashBlade with snapshot technology, coupled with third-party data management solution integration, is the foundation for the ideal data availability solution. The purpose of our business is to deliver fast, easy, reliable, and scalable solutions to protect your vital Epic data and other clinical and business data.
In this article you will learn why Pure Storage® Rapid Restore using Pure Storage FlashBlade with snapshot technology, coupled with third-party data management solution integration, is the foundation for the ideal data availability solution. The purpose of our business is to deliver fast, easy, reliable, and scalable solutions to protect your vital Epic data and other clinical and business data.
If you are using an Epic EHR (electronic health record), the purpose of your business is to deliver healthcare.
The foundational applications, infrastructure, and data that support your mission-critical delivery of care must always be available. It is a matter of life. Ransomware, cybercrimes with both internal and external sources and other unexpected events can interrupt data availability and put patient data and your organization’s mission at risk.
To minimize this risk, it is a best practice to make full daily backups of production and other data to protect from data loss, corruption, and to facilitate disaster recovery and business continuity. As a result, Epic recommends that its customers implement such a strategy.
Top industry analysts from Gartner and IDC have analyzed healthcare data growth, focusing on the data explosion with current medical device technologies including data from within the health system and across the healthcare continuum in the community. Traditional backup and recovery solutions have not evolved to manage this high rate of growth. This forces healthcare IT organizations to become creative in order to meet their recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) if they are unable to complete daily full backups.
Fortunately, backup and restore software from our partners can be combined with the high performance of Pure Storage® FlashBlade™ arrays to allow Epic customers to complete daily backups reliably and with ease. For Epic customers already using high-comfort Pure Storage FlashArray™ configurations for their production environments, adding a backup and restore solution leveraging FlashBlade can add complementary backup and restore performance, as well as additional capabilities, like the flexibility of a data hub environment for analytics and AI. But more importantly, in the event of a data loss from any source, having backups on flash storage allows these organizations to restore consistent data from a known point in time with performance that is faster than ever before. With data protected on stable, allflash media and ready to restore with outstanding performance, Pure Storage Rapid Restore is ready to protect the integrity of your Epic environment—the foundational technology of your business.
PROTECTING EPIC DATA
As technology has advanced, the amount of time it takes to backup data has greatly reduced. However, as backup performance has increased, so has the amount of data that needs to be backed up. This backup performance need is increased even further with EHRs that have to be kept in a restorable state beyond the lifetime of every patient. This presents a challenge for both backing up and, more importantly, restoring data in the event of a loss.
Epic has defined a backup workflow for assuring a full backup everyday (Figure 1). This workflow enables you to choose an industry-leading data management platform and infrastructure that will work together with Epic software to make sure that daily backups are completed quickly and efficiently. Pure Storage Rapid Restore was designed to operate within this workflow to protect your data and to deliver the fastest data restoration capabilities on the market.
The workflow includes freezing active volumes, making a snapshot of them, attaching them to the backup server, and transferring the frozen data to the backup server while the Epic environment resumes supporting healthcare services. If, for some reason the workflow fails, an error message will be sent and the workflow can be restarted.
Pure Storage Rapid Restore
Pure Storage has developed technology collaborations with Epic and third-party data protection vendors to create integrated and scalable solutions that deliver reliable, predictable, consistent, and fast backup and restoration of your Epic environments—all at a reasonable cost (Figures 1 and 2). At their core, these solutions use Pure Storage FlashBlade with Purity// FB2 data services as the target for the backups and source for restore. Rapid Restore is the only solution that uses all-flash storage to deliver best-in-class backup and recovery performance.
To perform the backup:
- The backup server NFS mounts the Pure Storage FlashBlade as a backup target.
- The backup software initiates the Epic “instfreeze” script on the Epic server to put the database in a quiesced state.
- The backup server talks with the Pure Storage FlashArray (source) to create a snapshot and validates the snapshot.
- Once the snapshot is validated, the data management software runs the Epic script to thaw the database so it can continue its work.
- The backup server starts copying the data from the snapshot to the FlashBlade array. The backup data streams to and from FlashBlade using the NFS protocol.
Both the FlashArray and FlashBlade support the REST API to allow the data management software to both manage and control the data and storage systems and to orchestrate the database preparation to allow snapshots to contain an applicationconsistent backup and restore process.
To perform the restore:
- Stop the production database and unmount filesystems.
- If you are recovering from the last backup the data is still located in the “Copy of production database so you don’t need to retrieve it from the FlashBlade repository (go to step 4). If you need to restore from an older backup, connect the volume on the backup/restore server.
- Restore the files from the FlashBlade into the “Copy of production database” location.
- FlashArray Copy from the copy of the production database to overwrite the production database.
- Mount the production database on the production server and restart the application.
Disk-to-tape backup appliances are a symbol of an outdated infrastructure. They tend to be expensive, slow, inflexible and force lock in. What if backup and recovery simply was one application running on a single, shared powerful platform? Whether it’s fast backup and recovery or rapid restore for test and development, a modern data platform like Pure Storage® FlashBlade™ can consolidate and accelerate these workloads.
Pure Storage FlashBlade
Pure Storage FlashBlade is a high-performance, scale-out storage platform that helps accomplish faster backups and, more importantly, accelerates restore performance. The advantages start with our all-flash platform, that greatly improves performance over spinning disk, at its foundation. On top of that, FlashBlade’s modular architecture is designed to enable near-linear scaling into the petabytes range enabling rapid restores of all your backed up data in a single, integrated repository. With CPUs and storage on every blade, it is massively parallel. This helps to eliminate serial bottlenecks found in central controller architectures that can hinder both backup and restore performance. FlashBlade’s elastic scale-out architecture expands with your data. This level of flexibility comes from the softwaredefined storage and fabric of Pure Storage Purity FB software.
Purity FB has the intelligence to manage the data stored on the FlashBlade so you don’t have to. It utilizes a highperformance 320-Gbps fabric with object messaging and distributed transaction protocol to ensure fast and reliable communication between Purity instances running on each blade. In contrast, legacy backup appliances which use deduplication typically restore poorly because of the physical penalty of locating, reading, and reconstituting backups for recovery. Pure Storage FlashBlade does not have this performance overhead.
Purity //FB is the software your clinical information management solution is built upon—always-on and massively distributed data services including:
- Data reduction with data technologies of pattern removal and inline compression. These data reduction technologies help to make the most efficient use of your FlashBlade capacity.
- Data Security with FIPS 140-2 compliant data encryption and Common Criteria to meet compliance regulations like the General Data Protections Regulation (GDPR), essential in European Union countries.
- Global flash management that performs I/O scheduling and optimization, and end-to-end garbage collection.
SMALL FORM FACTOR SAVES SPACE
The small form factor of FlashBlade supports the capacity of 50 racks of traditional storage in a 4-rackunits (4 RU) of space (Figure 3). If you need more capacity, simply add additional blades without degrading performance.
Cost-Effective Data Hub
For Epic customers already using high-comfort Pure Storage FlashArray for their production environments, adding a backup and restore solution leveraging FlashBlade can add complementary backup and restore performance, as well as additional capabilities, like the flexibility of a data hub environment for analytics and AI. When FlashBlade is incorporated as a data hub (Figure 4), it provides the Rapid Restore capability and also provides a consolidated storage platform for other unstructured data, for example clinical, business, and billing data. Healthcare systems can then leverage this modern, high performance data store as a pipeline for data to be used in AI or analytics. The data hub also uses a smaller footprint, less power and cooling, and has fewer physical boxes to manage than typical hard disk drives, helping reduce your total cost of ownership. In addition to traditional on-premise installations, Pure Storage also offers its Evergreen™ Storage Subscription buying model for cloud-like, on-premise storage as a service (STaaS) that continuously delivers improvements and innovations that keep your storage fresh and modern without downtime or performance impact. And for those customers who prefer it, flash-to-flash-to-cloud backup configurations are also available through Pure Storage cloud partners like AWS and Rackspace.
Industry-Leading Backup and Restore Solutions
If you use backup and restore software from the leading ISVs, it’s likely that your current backup software is already integrated with Pure Storage FlashBlade enabling you to implement a rapid restore solution. The Epic process for backing up and restoring your EHR system described here is just one of many ways the backup can be performed by your backup and recovery software. Regardless of the process, FlashBlade can ease and accelerate both the backup and restore processes with it’s high-performance and scalability.
PURE STORAGE RAPID RESTORE FOR EPIC
Your business is healthcare and you depend on Epic EHRs to meet your commitments to patients. Now you can deliver improved SLAs to the business with Pure Storage Rapid Restore. Rapid Restore protects critical patient and clinical data while also providing an extremely fast backup and restore process to meet the needs of the Epic EHR system. If you use backup and data management software from one of the leading ISVs, it’s likely that it has been integrated with Pure Storage FlashBlade systems to implement a rapid restore solution. Now you can protect your rapidly growing mission-critical data with fast, easy, and reliable Pure Storage Rapid Restore and greatly reduce your recovery time and assure recovery point accessibility