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Technical Briefs

This technical brief will help you understand the dynamics of system performance and provides details – including test case specifics – on why Disk performance and network bandwidth are the most conclusive factors influencing performance bottlenecks.

Key analytical questions are provided to help you assess your own capacity and capabilities.

Considerations for the optimal system include:

  • Dicom transfer speed
  • Dicom transfer performance
  • Dicom router
  • Dicom router bandwidth
  • Dicom router performance
  • Teleradiology imaging solutions
  • Dicom compression
  • Tag morphing overhead

While unique infrastructures unavoidably present variables that won’t fit within a standardized profile, this technical brief will benefit you by providing sufficient background to determine the next infrastructure design steps within your enterprise.

Workflow bottlenecks. Can a single DICOM router process & route 4.1 Billion images per year? ( PDF, 856.50 KB)

Among its numerous important and valuable topics, this brief provides insightful infrastructure perspective, including a dissection of the available support for hardware deployment vs. virtualized environments (VMware of Hyper-V).

For physical servers, Dicom Systems chooses to deploy the Unifier platform on standard Supermicro hardware – we are not in the hardware business, so it’s important for our support engineers to rely upon a well-known, predictable spec.  It’s also much easier to ship standard hardware for smooth and quick field replacements rather than support a multitude of hardware platforms.

For virtualized appliances, Dicom Systems has a standard recommended configuration. Virtualized environments have quickly become a preferred deployment method, as it is far quicker and easier to manage and update the resources of a VM than to upgrade or replace a physical server.

The Dicom Systems Unifier platform is Linux-based, which eliminates many of the Windows-related licensing, configuration and performance challenges.  By deploying self-contained Linux-based appliances, the ecosystem is far more resilient and redundant than applications that depend on Windows for availability.

The brief also includes an expanded discussion of bandwidth utilization, one of the most unpredictable variables that directly influence performance. In this section, you will read how some IT departments deliberately throttle or limit available bandwidth for specific applications or departments.  Even if gigabit or multi-gigabit networking is available throughout the health system, an arbitrarily finite portion of the bandwidth may be actually usable; IT has to make evidence-driven choices to allocate available network resources.

On this subject, the brief prompts internal investigation by asking key questions, such as:

  • What is the size of your average payload?  
  • Are you moving mostly X-ray images or large multi-slice CTs?  
  • Is Oncology part of your practice?  
  • Are you producing or transferring mammography-related and Tomosynthesis images?  
  • Are you consistently applying the appropriate level of compression (transfer syntax)? Different exam types can be treated differently and adaptively.
  • What time of day are the transfers occurring?  The time during which an image transfer takes place is an important factor – if the entire healthcare enterprise is competing for scarce bandwidth simultaneously at 12noon, the throughput cannot be expected to be the same as a middle of the night transfer.

For the purpose of this exercise, the brief includes a detailed test of three different hardware profiles running the same Enterprise DCMSYS software suite that is sure to be of value to anyone or any enterprise seeking to avoid the workflow bottlenecks that plague many organizations.