Enabling Precision Medicine in the Era of the Genome with SAP Health and Dell EMC

As a key enabler for precision medicine, genomic sequencing will soon be pervasive in many areas of healthcare. For example, we are entering an era in which all cancer patients can have their genomes sequenced to enable precision treatments tailored to the individual and the type and stage of disease.

With the advent of genome sequencing, researchers and physicians now have a critical resource to help them understand the underlying molecular mechanics and pathways of disease. Armed with fresh analytic insights, researchers can accelerate their development of personalized, patient-centered treatments and innovations, including drugs, therapies, devices and diagnostic tests. At the same time, data-driven genotypic insights integrated with phenotypic or medical records can also help physicians deepen their understanding of their patients and get patients more involved in their own healthcare, to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

However, as we enter the “Era of the Genome,” there are significant challenges that arise from an IT transformation perspective.

To begin with, genomic data alignment and assembly require an enormous amount of computational power and temporary data storage capacity, and archival storage is orders of magnitude higher. A single genome can total hundreds of gigabytes, and in the future, physicians and researchers might want to compare the genomes and health records of millions of patients to identify causes and treatments for diseases. It is a huge challenge to get insights out of such an overwhelming amount of data that is growing exponentially — notwithstanding the new data rush from stream-based medical devices and the Internet of Things (IoT).

An End-To-End Solution for Clinical and Research Data Analysis

Dell EMC helps organizations solve the genomic data puzzle in their journey toward precision medicine with an end-to-end solution for the genomics data analysis work stream that leverages the SAP Health platform. It leverages a Dell EMC reference architecture that brings together the combined capabilities of SAP Health, a Dell EMC Isilon data lake, the Cloudera distribution of Apache™ Hadoop® and SAP Vora  into SAP HANA powered by Dell EMC Ready Solutions. These posts from our Direct2DellEMC blog provide some additional context and background on our existing engagement with SAP:

With SAP Health, organizations can combine and analyze traditional patient data sources with clinical, research, molecular, image, social information and more. Drawing on the power of SAP HANA® and its standard-setting in-memory database, the SAP Health platform is extremely effective at generating rapid insights from huge datasets. This platform for personalized-medicine applications enables processing and real-time analysis of big medical data from various sources, all in a single system driven by SAP HANA.

Fig. 1: SAP Health on Dell EMC Infrastructure

This Dell EMC solution addresses many of the key challenges in the genomics data analysis work stream, including low storage efficiency, multiple copies of data, controller-centric upgrades and balancing, and low availability. The solution provides:

  • Scalable, performant storage for unstructured data
  • A single storage container for integration and interoperability — via a Lambda+ clinical architecture designed to handle massive quantities of data
  • Consistency of data as it scales — data availability across metadata and container types
  • A single platform for stream, file and object data
  • Integration of SAP HANA data with private, hybrid and public clouds 

Key Solution Components

  •  SAP Health Platform: With SAP HANA at its heart, SAP Health serves as a platform for precision-medicine applications. SAP Health enables the processing and real-time analysis of big medical data from various sources in a single system. 
  • Dell EMC Isilon for Hadoop and Unstructured Storage in a Data Lake: The solution leverages Dell EMC Isilon network attached storage (NAS) in an Apache™ Hadoop® cluster to support SAP HANA. The Isilon Infinity F800 all-flash storage array provides the foundation for a “data lake” for tiered distributed storage for unstructured files.
  •  Dell EMC Ready Solutions for SAP: The SAP HANA platform in this solution is based on the Dell EMC™ PowerEdge™ R940 server with Intel® Xeon® processors, the most powerful enterprise server platform in the Dell EMC portfolio. This platform is built for speed and scalability while offering value-added features that enhance management and reliability. To streamline and accelerate deployment, the Dell EMC infrastructure is available in Ready Solutions – Nodes, Bundles and Systems – that are optimized for SAP HANA. 
  • Dell EMC Hybrid and Cloud Options: In addition to on-premises deployments, Dell EMC offers a choice of hybrid cloud and off premises platforms for SAP HANA environments. 
  • Dell Edge Gateway for SAP: The SAP-certified Dell Edge Gateway, with powerful dual-core Intel® Atom™ processors, connects varied wired and wireless devices and systems, aggregates and analyzes the input, and sends it on to the SAP Health solution running on the SAP HANA platform or to the Hadoop Cluster, depending on the customer requirements. Through this IoT infrastructure, patients can be monitored via personal and medical devices which enables a 360-degree view of all relevant patient information in a single-pane-of-glass view

Get More Details

To learn more, read our white paper on “Connecting the Healthcare Dots to enable Precision Medicine”, which provides detailed information on the solution architecture and industry use cases for the Dell EMC solution for SAP Health.  Visit our specialists at HIMSS AsiaPac17, taking place September 11-14 in Singapore; Dell EMC will be exhibiting in booth #310.

Note: In addition to JP Gotter, this blog post was authored by Dr. Marten Neubauer – SAP Health Solution Specialist and Clemens Zerbe – SAP Enterprise Solution Consultant, Data Center and Cloud, both with the Dell EMC Global SAP Center of Excellence.