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By | Chris Mellor 29th November 2011 08:32

NetApp team tags Iron Mountain for cloudy medical archiving

Healthcare play

Iron Mountain is rebuilding its remnant cloud medical records archiving business with a dose of NetApp's StorageGRID..

Iron Mountain sold the bulk of its cloud business, meaning eDiscovery, archiving and online backup, to Autonomy in May this year for $380m. Autonomy was bought by HP later this year. Iron Mountain's cloud investments were disastrous, causing it to dump its CEO and cave-in to demands by activist investors for change. Iron Mountain kept the medical records archive business: healthcare appears to be a solid cloud storage prospect.

Now it is teaming up with NetApp to offer cloud medical data archiving and disaster recovery to healthcare organisations. There is a NetApp Service Provider Program, which was launched in June last year, and Iron Mountain is a member, the only one with a healthcare bent. It is integrating StorageGRID, NetApp's Bycast technology product, with its Digital Record Center for Medical Images and its vendor-neutral archive offering.

NetApp bought Bycast and its StorageGRID technology in June last year, ironically during the period when Iron Mountain was enduring its cloud storage troubles. There were then more than 250 customers for the product. Iron Mountain, a Bycast OEM, issued a supportive statement about NetApp's acquisition at the time.

By putting StorageGRID in the cloud, customers can change a CAPEX product purchase into an OPEX service delivery cost, and Iron Mountain will get continuing subscription revenue from StorageGRID customers, with NetApp, presumably, getting a slice. The customers can run a hybrid private/public cloud operation of they wish – a halfway house to a full public cloud service.

Iron Mountain's Ken Rubin – its SVP and GM for healthcare – delivers the marketing spiel in a nutshell: "The explosion of clinical, patient, and imaging data and shrinking budgets have boxed many healthcare organisations into a corner, straining their storage capacity and IT resources to the limit. The answer is cloud-based storage and archiving. Iron Mountain’s medical image archiving offerings deliver the best of all worlds: unlimited capacity on a pay-as-you-go basis with improved off-site disaster recovery that is more cost effective and less complicated than doing it yourself."

This partnership emphasises the appeal of object storage as a cloud storage technology, even though it is firmly in the niche object storage heartland of fixed medical content. ®

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