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Case-in-point Partners HealthCare ERIS Team

Partners’ Enterprise Research Infrastructure & Services (ERIS) team is using ClearSky Data service to gain backup independence, eliminate infrastructure, and increase data security.

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"ClearSky's service has minimized
the infrastructure required for
primary and secondary storage"

Brent Richter | Enterprise director of ERIS




Partners HealthCare's ERIS team provides a range of computational resources, platforms and scientific computing support for research and innovation at Partners HealthCare hospitals. ERIS’ high-performance analytics servers, compute clusters and storage are relied upon daily for data processing and analysis by research groups across the organization. Clinical computational workflows such as genome sequencing and radiation dosimetry are also supported.

The challenge

In recent years, ERIS was dealing with federal regulations, state laws and requirements from collaborating and contracting institutions, which made compliance, auditing and security highly complex and cumbersome to report on. Also, ERIS’ team members were focusing on trying to solve storage performance issues, instead of focusing on data projects that could make a valuable difference to ERIS’ mission. “In addition, the amount of data under management continues to grow exponentially. We needed a storage system that could meet the higher level of security stringency when those regulations and contractual obligations came into play,” said Brent Richter.

The solution

ERIS has chosen ClearSky Data’s fully managed cloud storage service with built-in offsite backup, on-demand disaster recovery, and automated security and privacy controls. “As a fully managed service, ClearSky takes care of data protection, availability, patching and disaster recovery. It happens automatically, and recovery is nearly instantaneous. All data is encrypted, both in transit and at-rest, so it’s secure. We control the keys. Not even ClearSky has access to our data,” said Richter.

The ClearSky Data storage service integrates into ERIS’s active directory for shared file directory services, Splunk and antivirus infrastructures. With the ClearSky Data service, ERIS end users see a network share on their Mac, Windows PC or Linux desktop. ClearSky caches the files on an appliance in ERIS’ corporate data centers within the ERIS network—the hot data that is most frequently used. This data is at the edge of the ClearSky Data architecture and guarantees flash performance for those files. Both hot and warm data is moved between and also cached in a ClearSky point of presence less than 15 miles from the data center, and all data is written through, fully-encrypted and stored in multiple locations in the public cloud. If data is requested that isn’t cached locally, the service retrieves it from the ClearSky Data point of presence with flash performance.

ClearSky Results

Brent Richter says that, with ClearSky Data storage service with an edge, ERIS has:

Significantly minimized footprint

“ClearSky deployed a 2U appliance on-site, which it manages, and that’s the full extent of their data center footprint. Once data was uploaded to the service, we gained the benefits of full protection.”

Eliminated traditional storage buying cycle

“I really like the (ClearSky’s) on-demand nature of the service, because as data sets grow in size and number, it’s nice not being bound to the traditional three-to-five-year storage buying cycle. If we need more capacity, we just keep the data flowing. No need to buy and deploy new boxes.”

Met and exceeded security compliance

“Our teams cannot detect differences in system performance while accessing data that we manage ourselves versus the data managed by ClearSky, which is a huge benefit. And we now meet or exceed security compliance for industry, federal and state data security and privacy requirements, which was our primary goal.”

Given peace of mind to the information security and privacy officers

“With the use of ClearSky’s solution, my group no longer maintains the burden of direct management of these needs on current storage. Our information security and privacy officers are quite happy with the technical security controls.”

Ensured high availability and low latency

“ERIS still has its own on-premises storage for some workloads, and researchers can’t tell any difference when they’re working with the data ERIS manages or when they’re working with data in ClearSky. The cache we have on-premises is all flash, so it’s fast, and whenever there’s a cache miss, which is rare, the service just pulls it from the nearby point of presence.”

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