A dose of predictability is just what CIO Tim Ryan needs in these unpredictable times. After helping lead Aegis Sciences—a Nashville-based toxicology lab—through tornado-recovery efforts earlier this year, the last thing he needed was another surprise. 

Initially founded in 1990 to test for performance-enhancing drugs in athletes, Aegis has since grown to service healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, professional and amateur sports organizations, college and university athletic programs, Fortune 500 corporations, and government agencies. 

“Our clients rely on us to identify medication compliance, substance abuse, and drug-drug interactions to help them manage and treat people with pain, behavioral and mental health issues, prenatal and chronic diseases, and more,” says Ryan. “Timely testing and analysis are critical because what we do is linked directly to improving patient outcomes.”

Timeliness took on a new level of urgency when the pandemic hit. Aegis’s small biopharma lab became the go-to regional lab for federal, state, and local COVID-19 Response Task Forces, as well as physicians and other authorized healthcare providers in Tennessee. Aegis was processing up to 3,500 daily Real Time Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (Real Time RT-PCR) tests for COVID-19, within a targeted 24-hour turnaround time.

As case numbers climbed, so did the demand for testing. Aegis received a $6.6 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to help it quickly build out its biopharma lab, with a target of running up to 60,000 tests per day. 

Predictable Storage, No Surprises

To reach this goal, Aegis first needed to address the stressed storage infrastructure supporting its Oracle environment, which houses the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)—the system responsible for processing all of Aegis’s COVID-19 tests. 

“Our infrastructure needs to be running optimally at all times—and doubly so in these times,” says Ryan. “Rapid testing and diagnoses are key to mitigating the spread of the virus. The last thing we needed was our storage slowing things down.”  

Aegis already relied on Pure Storage® FlashArray™ to run its VMware and Microsoft SQL Server systems and applications. When Ryan made the decision to invest in Pure a couple of years earlier, Pure’s Evergreen Storage™ subscription model stood out. 

Pure’s Evergreen program protects our investment while giving us the ability to upgrade storage on demand in increasingly dynamic situations, without disrupting the business. Tim Ryan, CIO, Aegis Sciences

“We don’t fund technology on a normal buying cycle,” he explains. “Pure’s Evergreen program protects our investment while giving us the ability to upgrade storage on demand in increasingly dynamic situations, without disrupting the business.”

Aegis took full advantage of the Evergreen upgrade path to support extra RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 and scale to meet the demand. The lab is now well equipped to handle the expected influx of tests and to get accurate results out within 24 hours—key to slowing the spread of the virus. 

“Pure Storage has proven to be predictable, with no surprises,” says Ryan. “When the NIH asks us how our infrastructure is holding up under the increased load, we can report without hesitation that it’s doing well. We prevented performance bottlenecks and capacity is a non-issue.”

Ready to Handle What Lies Ahead 

In addition to helping Aegis process more tests, more quickly, the migration to Pure came with more benefits. 

“Moving our Oracle environment to Pure allowed us to make some changes to our licensing model so that all parts of the business can access and share storage from a single pool,” says Ryan. “From a company perspective, this is much more cost-effective and efficient to manage.”   

With a solid storage foundation in place, Ryan is ready for whatever the rest of the year—and beyond —throws his way. But for now, Aegis’s focus remains squarely on doing what it can to help manage the spread and provide testing support for the increase in pandemic-related conditions, such as behavioral issues and substance abuse. 

“There’s a lot of collateral damage as a result of this virus, and our focus remains on improving human health outcomes,” says Ryan. “With Pure, I’m confident we have the capacity, performance, and support we need to handle whatever comes our way.”

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