Clinical Trials at the speed of Flash

This week I was asked to comment what can only be described as a Flash Flood of EF540 /550 All Flash Array success stories. This one was a bit different for reasons that will hopefully become clear. The organisation is a worldwide biopharmaceutical company, based in Brussels, called UCB.


Their focus is developing new medicines to treat debilitating conditions and diseases such as epilepsy, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. The challenge that companies working in this area face is data growth. Data volumes that double every 18 months are a real test. But more of a challenge is processing this increasing volume of data. The time to analyse this volume and get to the results is of the utmost importance, not only to the company, but also to the patients.


With the challenges of turning around clinical trial results in an acceptable timescale UCB reached the decision to evaluate Flash Technologies as a potential solution to accelerating the analysis process. UCB use special SAS database software for analysis of clinical trial data . It was this database that proved so sensitive to performance and timely turnaround of results.  Working with SAS and NetApp UCB put the clinical studies database on a NetAPP EF540 All Flash Array. The results proved to be stunning as they experienced a 20 fold improvement in analysis and results processing speed on the Flash Array. The SAS engineers were amazed ! Not only was the performance good but the solution achieved a maximum reliability score.


While the EF540 solution clearly gave UCB the competitive edge, for me the real winners are the patients. I know this because my son suffered with epilepsy when very young. The drugs he was prescribed stopped the epilepsy dead in its tracks. He then continued to develop and today he has recently passed all his school



Without those drugs he would not have developed and it would be a very different story today. There is no doubt that Flash technologies

enable businesses to move into a higher gear, and that this has tangible business benefits for companies such as UCB. It also has a massive

impact on humanity when the ability to analyse data faster results in pharmaceutical products that change and enable peoples lives.


Rip Wilson's Tech Blog on the EF550:

My Blog on the EF550 Launch:


Please take the time to read how UCB took the decision to implement the EF540 All Flash Array, and the

results they are experiencing :

UCB EF540 Story English Version attached below

UCB EF540 Story Dutch Version


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