One recordable storage system to consider in the near future is the Blu-ray Disc (Blu-ray Disc Association). Currently, single-layer
Blu-ray Discs hold about 25 GB of storage. A dual layer will hold 50 GB of storage, and eight-layer disks are in development
that will hold 200 GB of storage. Compared with traditional DVDs, Blu-ray Discs will hold five to 10 times more data than
the current DVD technology.3 Blu-ray systems cost between $500 and $1,2004 ; a recordable disk costs about 70 cents/GB, and a rewritable disk about $1/GB.5
Off-site backup involves contracting a third party to maintain a secure copy of your images. To transmit images off-site,
a fast Internet connection is required. The necessary Internet connection speed depends on how much data your business needs
to move a day multiplied by 2, but the minimum requirement is 36 KB/s (kilobytes per second), which excludes dial-up service
as an option. The goal is to have all of your hospital's data backed up by the next business morning.
The initial cost is less than on-site backups since you will not need to purchase an on-site server, hire IT personnel, or
schedule regular CD or DVD backup. However, there will be a recurring service fee. Over several consecutive years of service,
the service fee may add up to more than the cost of on-site storage.
The advantages of off-site storage are ease-of-use and less initial cost. Also, off-site storage is relatively disaster-proof,
and some companies store data in a nonproprietary format for future image migration. Storing data in a nonproprietary format
is important because many digital image companies use proprietary imaging formats within their hospital data system. So even
though images may be acquired in a DICOM standard, they may be changed and stored by the hospital software into a proprietary
format. This can lock a hospital into using one vendor's software. Thus, if hospitals send copies of the original DICOM images
off-site for storage, this enables them to import those DICOM images into any veterinary hospital management software in the
The disadvantages of off-site storage are the ongoing costs, that it requires Internet access on at least one computer, and
that images cannot be instantaneously distributed throughout the hospital. However, some off-site storage companies offer
online access to images, which can allow hospital-wide image viewing.
Ideally, a hospital switching to digital imaging would have on-site and off-site storage. This solution would make data accessible
across the entire network, allowing staff members access where and when they needed it and providing a secure off-site copy
of the images. However, most hospitals must choose between the two. The most important point is that you choose a storage
system that will keep your data safe from unauthorized access, hardware failure, and clinic disasters. For image backup and
recovery in most veterinary hospitals, a high-quality RAID 5 server joined with an off-site backup service will more than
suffice, but you should consult an it professional before purchasing it.
Seth Wallack, DVM, DACVR
The Veterinary Imaging Center of San Diego
7522-7524 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
1. Leonhardt M. Magnetic tape data storage trends and products. Storage Technology Corporations, Louisville, Colo. Available
2. Festa P. "Click of death" strikes Iomega. CNET Networks. San Francisco, Calif. Available at:
3. What is Blu-ray? Available at:
4. Blu-Ray, the breakthrough recording technology.
http://Supermediastore.com/. Available at:
5. 50GB rewritable blank Blu-Ray disk to cost $60—Panasonic. Xbit Laboratories. Available at:
6. Wright, M. Vendor lock-in in veterinary teleradiology. Animal Insides. Available at: