Big data analytics driving healthcare transformation

Big data analytics driving healthcare transformation

With an integrated, automated, massively scalable Vscale Architecture, Inovalon is helping the healthcare industry transition from volume to value.

The healthcare industry is in a state of transition, leveraging big data analytics to advance new, value-based paradigms. Data helps identify gaps in care, quality, documentation, and assessment—producing insights that lead to better decisions, outcomes, and economics.

And Inovalon is at the center of it all. The cloud-based analytics company is using big data to help the entire healthcare ecosystem transition from volume to value.

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  • Inovalon enables the aggregation of the necessary data, facilitates the advanced analytics to discern what is relevant and what it all means, and then brings the insights forward in ways that drive impact.
  • It does that with Inovalon ONE, a powerful platform within the healthcare community that supports the transition from a world focused on volume to a world focused on value.

Security. Speed. Scalability. Inovalon needs them all.

Addressing massive demand

With increasing demand for its services, Inovalon didn’t have the time or appetite to stitch together and scale a complex mix of infrastructure components from multiple vendors. And the company’s IT staff wanted to adopt new, modern, and scalable technologies to support distributed compute models, a rapidly expanding data lake, visualization tools, and other components—without creating bottlenecks.

“We had settled on specific new technologies, but creating and maintaining an optimized environment around them concerned us. For example, our distributed database technology is very network sensitive, and we need to build clusters for certain clients that have 90-plus or 100-plus nodes each,” says Faisal Khalid, senior vice president of technology solutions at Inovalon. “We wanted the ability to scale those clusters across racks to achieve linear performance scaling, which often leads to latency.”

  • Inovalon turned to Vscale Architecture, featuring a pre-integrated, pre-configured, pre-tested set of Dell EMC and Cisco® components.
  • Often described as a “Dell EMC Vblock on steroids,” the architecture brings together multiple—often many—compute, storage, and data protection components with a common network fabric, software-defined automation, and centralized management.

“We don’t fit in most pre-packaged boxes. Our needs are unique,” says Khalid. “Vscale gave us a pre-engineered system that was ready for us to lay our products and services on top of. And we can scale as much as needed without losing any of the security or management efficiencies.”

In other words, all the benefits of a converged system—featuring integrated compute, storage, and network devices—with almost limitless horizontal expansion and the openness to include IT assets from other vendors.

Speed via automation

In the past, Inovalon’s client onboarding process was not an abbreviated one. New clusters had to be built piece by piece and then integrated with the company’s analytics engine and data lake. Data segmentation, security, and compliance had to be painstakingly configured. With the Dell EMC Vscale Architecture—and the automation provided by Cisco UCS® Director and Cisco® Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI)—onboarding a new client with massive compute and storage capacity now takes three months or less.

“Infrastructure is always the slowest to deploy, the culprit of delays,” Khalid says. “But with automation built into Vscale, time to deploy new hardware has been cut in half. And better data isolation has improved our security posture.”

  • Inovalon is using Cisco ACI to create profiles and policies for its big data solutions, automating the configuration of firewalls, load balancers, and security appliances.
  • These profiles and policies are easily replicated when new clusters are deployed and easily adjusted when client needs or services change.

“We have tripled our infrastructure, including more than 50 new racks,” says Khalid, “but we haven’t had to hire more engineers or operations staff to deploy and manage them.”

Single infrastructure, single support

According to Khalid, the benefits of an integrated “super system” are complemented by integrated support from Dell EMC and Cisco.

  • With single-call support from Dell EMC, Inovalon never has to chase vendors.
  • The close, ongoing partnership between Dell EMC and Cisco means Inovalon’s Vscale Architecture will be fully supported well into the future.
  • This includes an evolving validation matrix that Dell EMC uses to test the compatibility between existing—and forthcoming—compute nodes, storage arrays, networking elements, hypervisors, and all their patches.

With greater speed—of system and service deployments, client onboarding, and data-driven insights—Inovalon is helping its customers accelerate their own operations. 

“We are spending less time on systems integration and management, and more time on innovation,” says Khalid. “We’re moving to a DevOps model of continuous improvement, and we’re creating agility and value that can be passed along to our customers.” 

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