Development and Evaluation of a Low-Cost and High-Capacity DICOM Image Data Storage System for Research
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Thin-slice CT data, useful for clinical diagnosis and research, is now widely available but is typically discarded in many institutions, after a short period of time due to data storage capacity limitations. We designed and built a low-cost high-capacity Digital Imaging and COmmunication in Medicine (DICOM) storage system able to store thin-slice image data for years, using off-the-shelf consumer hardware components, such as a Macintosh computer, a Windows PC, and network-attached storage units. “Ordinary” hierarchical file systems, instead of a centralized data management system such as relational database, were adopted to manage patient DICOM files by arranging them in directories enabling quick and easy access to the DICOM files of each study by following the directory trees with Windows Explorer via study date and patient ID. Software used for this system was open-source OsiriX and additional programs we developed ourselves, both of which were freely available via the Internet. The initial cost of this system was about $3,600 with an incremental storage cost of about $900 per 1 terabyte (TB). This system has been running since 7th Feb 2008 with the data stored increasing at the rate of about 1.3 TB per month. Total data stored was 21.3 TB on 23rd June 2009. The maintenance workload was found to be about 30 to 60 min once every 2 weeks. In conclusion, this newly developed DICOM storage system is useful for research due to its cost-effectiveness, enormous capacity, high scalability, sufficient reliability, and easy data access.
Key wordsData storage archive computed tomography PACS thin-slice CT
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