Implementation of Managed, Persistent Disk based File Server on GCP, for a Leading Medical Enterprise

A leading medical enterprise found its users’ storage requirements were increasing steadily and also envisioned a need for analytics. Expanding storage on the existing, on-premise, Windows-based file server required substantial CapEx & ongoing OpEx for maintenance, without completely addressing the need for Analytics. Biarca’s Cloud experts seamlessly integrated the enterprise’s on-premise system with GCP’s Cloud File Server and Persistent Disk. This solution provided unlimited on-demand storage at very reasonable prices while maintaining the familiar end-user interface and security. It also enabled the medical enterprise’s administrators and research team to leverage GCP’s analytics tools for business and research insights.

The Challenge

The medical enterprise had an extensive Windows Fileserver based storage system to support its IT user base which included doctors, nurses, administrators and researchers. The system included large patient digital records, images, videos and large databases for research purposes.

The enterprise needed to provide increased storage capacity to its users, some of it on demand, without disrupting users in any way and also provide Analytics capability. The existing user interface, security access levels and reliability of the system had to be maintained. A price conscious, seamless and extensible solution was needed to address the challenge.

Customized Solution from Biarca

The medical enterprise’s Windows based local data center was accessed by local and remote Windows, Mac and Linux users. It supported Active Directory and LDAP based authentication and Single Sign-On (SSO). Window File Explorer and File Share were used for file management and access.

Biarca proposed creating a VPN Gateway from the enterprise’s existing data center to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to access the Cloud File Server and Persistent Disk features of GCP. This solution ensured that the familiar user interface, security and reliability remained intact while offering users the ability to request large amounts of storage. GCP provides tool sets and APIs to move data securely (encrypted) in and out of GCP storage resources. Data at rest on GCP is always encrypted by GCP’s managed security.

This solution also provided the enterprise the ability to leverage GCP’s advanced data analytics capabilities (Spanner, Vision, BigTable, BigQuery, ML, etc) to extract actionable insights out of the data stored. This was especially useful for the enterprise’s research staff involved in doing medical research on large data sets culled from patient information while maintaining data security. Biarca moved all the enterprise’s data onto GCP.

The customer also requested Biarca to provide ongoing support through a Biarca managed services offering.

Biarca’s customized GCP Based solution architecture:

Biarca’s solution included the following work:

  • Configuring File Server on GCP
  • Establishing secure communication between On-premise and GCP
  • Integrating Cloud File Server with AD / single sign-on (SSO)
  • Automating and syncing file server data migration
  • Uniform UI on File Server to manage access controls

In addition, Biarca also provided:

  • Automated Migration offering over the wire (up to 20TB)
  • Support & Managed Services

Customer Value Proposition

This project provided the client the following benefits:

  • Large CapEx outlays on storage equipment were avoided by using storage in the cloud.
  • Purchasing enough in-house storage to handle peak usage would have proven very expensive.
  • OpEx outlays on maintenance personnel and storage equipment repair costs equipment have been avoided on an ongoing basis by transitioning to the cloud.
  • Due to on-demand access to scalable storage capacity on the cloud, there is no limit to the amount of storage that a user can use.
  • Users can leverage Google’s cutting-edge data analytics capabilities on their data in the cloud and obtain actionable insights.
  • Users had a very smooth transition because there was no significant downtime and they continue to use the same user interfaces.

Contributor: Subba Rao Kodavalla