Ken Rubin, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Healthcare, Iron Mountain.

In the world of health care data storage, there are few names bigger than that of Iron Mountain. After being founded in 1951, the company has grown to supply data management and storage options to health care institutions around the country. So when the company announced that it was partnering with Sunnyvale, Calif-based storage systems and software provider NetApp, it was bound to be a big deal.

“NetApp and IRM are strategically aligned; both companies are health care-focused and cloud-focused, and NetApp’s technology and road map fit into our customers’ needs,” said Ken Rubin, senior vice president and general manager for Healthcare, Iron Mountain. “Iron Mountain’s strategy for delivering value to our customers through technology is to partner with best-of-breed companies to deliver the best possible service, and this partnership is an example of that strategy.”

The two companies partnered to provide health care organizations with a secure cloud-based solution for medical data archiving and disaster recovery. Iron Mountain is currently the only health care-focused member of the NetApp Service Provider Partner Program, which was officially launched in June 2010.

NetApp and Iron Mountain will integrate the NetApp StorageGRID object storage software with two Iron Mountain medical data archiving solutions—the Digital Record Center for Medical Images (DRCMI) and its vendor neutral archive offering—to provide health care organizations with consolidated archiving and disaster recovery solutions that help deliver improved medical care to their patients.

“Off-site, cloud-based archiving and disaster recovery, with its greater levels of flexibility, scalability, access, and security of complex and diverse big-data assets, helps eliminate issues around system interoperability and disaster recovery by moving data off-site and keeping it independent of existing systems,” said Rubin.

The partnership will offer solutions that enable health care organizations to control storage growth and reduce costs through a secure and accessible pay-as-you-go model; improve disaster recovery and compliance by moving data off-site into the cloud for faster recoverability in the event of a disaster while minimizing the cost and risk of data loss; and reduce management complexity by removing the responsibility of managing multiple storage systems and the interoperability challenges they present.

The pay-as-you-go model will allow customers to reduce storage-related operating costs by three to four times the cost of maintaining the hardware involved. Health care organizations are able to use only what they need, which allows them to avoid the large capital expenses required for long-term, on-premise storage solutions. Meanwhile, the disaster recovery availability allows facilities to meet HIPAA compliance standards that require a disaster recovery plan and policies for protecting that data.

Rubin mentions another benefit of the service: “Medical data is liberated, making it easier to access and share information across the entire continuum of care. And, as a managed service, data is automatically and continuously moved off-site and archived, freeing IT staff and resources from managing data centers, or back-up and archiving tasks to focus on clinical and revenue-generating activities.

“Our customers benefit from improved virtualization and disaster recovery support in NetApp’s StorageGRID platform, the underlying software technology that is deployed in the DRCMI service,” he said. “Iron Mountain has more direct technical support, access, and participation in the technology road map, making it easier for us to deliver to our customers the solutions they need.”

Although this partnership is just beginning, Rubin believes that the two companies’ joint efforts will produce even more solutions for health care providers. Until then, both companies are hopeful that this partnership will offer customers the kinds of cloud storage and disaster recovery solutions that achieve cost savings and improved patient care.