Tag Archives: Data archiving

Are You Getting an EPIC ROI? Retire Legacy Healthcare Applications!

Healthcare organizations are currently engaged in major transformative initiatives. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided the healthcare industry incentives for the adoption and modernization of point-of-care computing solutions including electronic medical and health records (EMRs/EHRs).   Funds have been allocated, and these projects are well on their way.  In fact, the majority of hospitals in the US are engaged in implementing EPIC, a software platform that is essentially the ERP for healthcare.

These Cadillac systems are being deployed from scratch with very little data being ported from the old systems into the new.  The result is a dearth of legacy applications running in aging hospital data centers, consuming every last penny of HIS budgets.  Because the data still resides on those systems, hospital staff continues to use them making it difficult to shut down or retire.

Most of these legacy systems are not running on modern technology platforms – they run on systems such as HP Turbo Image, Intercache Mumps, and embedded proprietary databases.  Finding people who know how to manage and maintain these systems is costly and risky – risky in that if data residing in those applications is subject to data retention requirements (patient records, etc.) and the data becomes inaccessible.

A different challenge for CFOs of these hospitals is the ROI on these EPIC implementations.  Because these projects are multi-phased, multi-year, boards of directors are asking about the value realized from these investments.  Many are coming up short because they are maintaining both applications in parallel.  Relief will come when systems can be retired – but getting hospital staff and regulators to approve a retirement project requires evidence that they can still access data while adhering to compliance needs.

Many providers have overcome these hurdles by successfully implementing an application retirement strategy based on the Informatica Data Archive platform.  Several of the largest pediatrics’ children’s hospitals in the US are either already saving or expecting to save $2 Million or more annually from retiring legacy applications.  The savings come from:

  • Eliminating software maintenance and license costs
  • Eliminate hardware dependencies and costs
  • Reduced storage requirements by 95% (data archived is stored in a highly compressed, accessible format)
  • Improved efficiencies in IT by eliminating specialized processes or skills associated with legacy systems
  • Freed IT resources – teams can spend more of their time working on innovations and new projects

Informatica Application Retirement Solutions for Healthcare provide hospitals with the ability to completely retire legacy applications, retire and maintain access to archive data for hospital staff.  And with built in security and retention management, records managers and legal teams are satisfying compliance requirements.   Contact your Informatica Healthcare team for more information on how you can get that EPIC ROI the board of directors is asking for.

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Data archiving – time for a spring clean?

The term “big data” has been bandied around so much in recent months that arguably, it’s lost a lot of meaning in the IT industry. Typically, IT teams have heard the phrase, and know they need to be doing something, but that something isn’t being done. As IDC pointed out last year, there is a concerning shortage of trained big data technology experts, and failure to recognise the implications that not managing big data can have on the business is dangerous. In today’s information economy, as increasingly digital consumers, customers, employees and social networkers we’re handing over more and more personal information for businesses and third parties to collate, manage and analyse. On top of the growth in digital data, emerging trends such as cloud computing are having a huge impact on the amount of information businesses are required to handle and store on behalf of their customers. Furthermore, it’s not just the amount of information that’s spiralling out of control: it’s also the way in which it is structured and used. There has been a dramatic rise in the amount of unstructured data, such as photos, videos and social media, which presents businesses with new challenges as to how to collate, handle and analyse it. As a result, information is growing exponentially. Experts now predict a staggering 4300% increase in annual data generation by 2020. Unless businesses put policies in place to manage this wealth of information, it will become worthless, and due to the often extortionate costs to store the data, it will instead end up having a huge impact on the business’ bottom line. Maxed out data centres Many businesses have limited resource to invest in physical servers and storage and so are increasingly looking to data centres to store their information in. As a result, data centres across Europe are quickly filling up. Due to European data retention regulations, which dictate that information is generally stored for longer periods than in other regions such as the US, businesses across Europe have to wait a very long time to archive their data. For instance, under EU law, telecommunications service and network providers are obliged to retain certain categories of data for a specific period of time (typically between six months and two years) and to make that information available to law enforcement where needed. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that investment in high performance storage capacity has become a key priority for many. Time for a clear out So how can organisations deal with these storage issues? They can upgrade or replace their servers, parting with lots of capital expenditure to bring in more power or more memory for Central Processing Units (CPUs). An alternative solution would be to “spring clean” their information. Smart partitioning allows businesses to spend just one tenth of the amount required to purchase new servers and storage capacity, and actually refocus how they’re organising their information. With smart partitioning capabilities, businesses can get all the benefits of archiving the information that’s not necessarily eligible for archiving (due to EU retention regulations). Furthermore, application retirement frees up floor space, drives the modernisation initiative, allows mainframe systems and older platforms to be replaced and legacy data to be migrated to virtual archives. Before IT professionals go out and buy big data systems, they need to spring clean their information and make room for big data. Poor economic conditions across Europe have stifled innovation for a lot of organisations, as they have been forced to focus on staying alive rather than putting investment into R&D to help improve operational efficiencies. They are, therefore, looking for ways to squeeze more out of their already shrinking budgets. The likes of smart partitioning and application retirement offer businesses a real solution to the growing big data conundrum. So maybe it’s time you got your feather duster out, and gave your information a good clean out this spring?

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Performance Archiving with Smart Partitioning at Oracle OpenWorld 2012

The Oracle Application User Group Archive and Purge Special Interest Group held its semi-annual meeting on Sunday September 30th at Oracle OpenWorld. Once again, this session was very well attended – but more so this year because of the expert panel which included: Admed Alomari – Founder of Cybermoor, Isam Alyousfi – Seniorr Director, Lead Oracle Applications Tuning Group, Sameer Barakat, Oracle Applications Tuning Group, and Ziyad Dahbour – now at Informatica (Founder of TierData, Founder of Outerbay). (more…)

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Data Retention Requirement in Financial Services – What Are They? Why is it so Hard?

The need for more robust data retention management and enforcement is more than just good data management practice. It is a legal requirement for financial services organizations across the globe to comply with the myriad of local, federal, and international laws that mandate the retention of certain types of data for example:

  • Dodd-Frank Act: Under Dodd-Frank, firms are required to maintain records for no less than five years.
  • Basel Accord: The Basel guidelines call for the retention of risk and transaction data over a period of three to seven years. Noncompliance can result in significant fines and penalties.
  • MiFiD II: Transactional data must also be stored in such a way that it meets new records retention requirements for such data (which must now be retained for up to five years) and easily retrieved, in context, to prove best execution.
  • Bank Secrecy Act: All BSA records must be retained for a period of five years and must be filed or stored in such a way as to be accessible within a reasonable period of time.
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI): PCI requires card issuers and acquirers to retain an audit trail history for a period that is consistent with its effective use, as well as legal regulations. An audit history usually covers a period of at least one year, with a minimum of three months available on-line.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley:Section 103 requires firms to prepare and maintain, for a period of not less than seven years, audit work papers and other information related to any audit report, in sufficient detail to support the conclusions reached and reported to external regulators.

Each of these laws have distinct data collection, analysis, and retention requirements that must be factored into existing information management practices. Unfortunately, existing data archiving methods including traditional database and tape backup methods lack the required capabilities to effectively enforce and automate data retention policies to comply with industry regulations.  In addition, a number of internal and external challenges make it even more difficult for financial institutions to archive and retain required data due to the following trends: (more…)

Posted in Application ILM, Big Data, CIO, Database Archiving, Enterprise Data Management, Financial Services, Vertical | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Optimize Data Warehouses with Data Usage Monitoring and Data Warehouse Archiving

Data warehouses are applications– so why not manage them like one? In fact, data grows at a much faster rate in data warehouses, since they integrate date from multiple applications and cater to many different groups of users who need different types of analysis. Data warehouses also keep historical data for a long time, so data grows exponentially in these systems.  The infrastructure costs in data warehouses also escalate quickly since analytical processing on large amounts of data requires big beefy boxes. Not to mention the software license and maintenance costs of such a large amount of data. Imagine how many backup media is required to backup tens to hundreds of terabytes of data warehouses on a regular basis.  But do you really need to keep all that historical data in production?

One of the challenges of managing data growth in data warehouses is that it’s hard to determine which data is actually used, which data is no longer being used, or even if the data was ever used at all. Unlike transactional systems where the application logic determines when records are no longer being transacted upon, the usage of analytical data in data warehouses has no definite business rules. Age or seasonality may determine data usage in data warehouses, but business users are usually loath to let go of the availability of all that data at their fingertips. The only clear cut way to prove that some data is no longer being used in data warehouses is to monitor its usage.


Posted in Application ILM, Data Governance, Data Warehousing, Database Archiving, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Operational Efficiency | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Series: Architecting A Database Archiving Solution Final Part 5: Data Growth Assessments

As a final part of our series, Architecting A Database Archiving Solution, we will review a process I use to assess a client’s existing Total Cost of Ownership of their database application and how to justify a database archiving solution. The key metrics I begin with are listed below and explained:


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Series: Architecting A Database Archiving Solution Part 4: Archive Repository Options

During this series of “Architecting a Database Archiving Solution”, we discussed the Anatomy of A Database Archiving Solution and End User Access Requirements.  In this post we will review the archive repository options at a very high level. Each option has its pros and cons and needs to be evaluated in more detail to determine which will be the best fit for your situation.

Posted in Application ILM, Application Retirement, Database Archiving, Governance, Risk and Compliance | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Series: Architecting A Database Archiving Solution Part 3: End User Access & Performance Expectations

In my previous blog as part of the series, architecting a database archiving solution, we discussed the major architecture components.  In this session, we will focus on how end user access requirements and expected performance service levels drive the core of an architecture discussion.

End user access requirements can be determined by answering the following questions.  When data is archived from a source database:

  • How long does the archived data need to be retained? The longer the retention period, the more the solution architecture needs to account for potentially significant data volumes and technology upgrades or obsolescence. This will determine cost factors of keeping data online in a database or an archive file, versus nearline or offline on other media such as tape. (more…)
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Architecting A Database Archiving Solution Part 2: The Anatomy Of A Database Archiving Solution

Before we can go into more details on how to architect a database archiving solution, let’s review at a high level the major components of a database archiving solution.  In general, a database archiving solution is comprised of four key pieces – application metadata, a policy engine, an archive repository and an archive access layer.
Application Metadata – This component contains information that is used to define what tables will participate in a database archiving activity.  It stores the relationships between those tables, including database or application level constraints and any criteria that needs to be considered when selecting data that will be archived.  The metadata for packaged applications, such as Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, or SAP can usually be purchased in pre-populated repositories, such as Informatica’s Application Accelerators for Data Archive to speed implementation times.

Policy Engine – This component is where business users define their retention policies in terms of time durations and possibly other related rules (i.e. keep all financial data for current quarter plus seven years and the general and sub ledgers must have a status of “Closed”).  The policy engine is also responsible for executing the policy within the database, and moving data to a configured archive repository.  This involves translating the policy and metadata into structured query language that the database understands (SELECT * from TABLE A where COLUMN 1 > 2 years and COLUMN 2 = “Closed”).  Depending on the policy, users may want to move the data to an archive (meaning it is removed from the source application) or just create a copy in the archive.  The policy engine takes care of all those steps.

Archive Repository – This stores the database archive records.  The choices for the repository vary and will be determined based on a number of factors typically driven from end user archive access requirements (we will discuss this in the next blog).  Some of these choices include another archive database, highly compressed query-able archive files, XML files to name a few.

Archive Access Layer – This is the mechanism that makes the database archive accessible either to a native application, a standard business reporting tool, or a data discovery portal.   Again, these options vary and will be determined based on the end user access requirements and the technology standards in the organizations data center.

In the next series, we will discuss how End User Access and Performance Requirements impact the selection of these components in further detail.

Julie Lockner, Founder, www.CentricInfo.com

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