The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is deploying a new data storage and management system to help cut paper usage and support various new digital services for patients.

The Dot Hill system supports the trust in meeting UK government initiatives aimed at significantly reducing the number of NHS paper-based records. Dot Hill arrays are also supporting a kiosk-based patient self check-in system, and a renal reporting system that aids medical staff across the trust's seven hospitals, by providing links to the UK Renal Registry.

The AssuredSAN Pro 5720 arrays, each hosting 58TB of data connected by a new 8Gb Fibre Channel QLogic infrastructure, serve approximately 5,000 users across the trust, allowing them to view archived patient records.

The Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5720 uses a combination of solid state disks (SSDs) and traditional SAS hard drives, all managed by Dot Hill's intelligent RealStor software. RealStor continuously monitors incoming data requests and migrates data sets to the most appropriate storage medium to ensure the highest possible performance.

The key benefit of this system is that the data movement occurs in real-time, unlike other auto-tiering solutions which perform data migration as a batch process at a later point in time. For many applications, RealStor real-time tiering makes a big difference to performance and ultimately productivity.

"We had explored dynamic auto-tiering data storage solutions in the past but they had been beyond our budget, so when we learned that Dot Hill had brought this technology within our financial reach, we were quick to explore it," said Ian Davison, head of IT operations at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

Early in 2013, the trust's IT department was tasked with the challenge of providing a storage architecture capable of meeting the demands of numerous new and existing virtualised applications, most of which were mission-critical. The aggregation of applications in a virtual server environment also presents dynamic data workloads whose peaks in demand are often difficult to predict.

Davison said: "The real-time tiering function of the AssuredSAN systems removes the complexity of anticipating the peaks in storage I/O demands presented by a diverse range of applications, and allows us to benefit from the high performance of solid state drives without having to implement this costly technology on a larger scale."

Mission-critical applications supported by the Dot Hill arrays include a renal reporting system, an industry-standard SQL-based solution providing interfaces to dialysis machine networks, laboratory and PAS interfaces and data conversion to national standards, including the UK Renal Association timeline.

This system serves approximately 80 medical consultants across all of the NHS Trust in the northern counties.