Case Study

Processing millions of medical images in the cloud: DoiT helps QMENTA keep costs under control

Healthcare, Software


Reduction in cloud costs


When running clinical trials, pharmaceutical companies frequently scan medical images of patients to assess their response to treatment. But with potentially thousands of patients images taken by numerous scanners and hospitals, one trial can easily rack up tens of thousands of images, all of which need to be systematically collated, organized, and analyzed. Workflows become highly complex, leading to inaccuracies and soaring costs.

Enter QMENTA. With its cloud-based system to transfer and store medical images, QMENTA uses AI to anonymize, organize, and standardize the images before running algorithms to extract clinical data from each image to ensure clinicians have a single source of truth to assess images accurately. In this way, QMENTA not only improves the time and cost efficiency of clinical trials, but their accuracy too, with objective quantitative data.

The challenge

QMENTA’s systems run on Google Cloud. However, the need to dedicate its time to developing its medical imaging software makes it challenging for the QMENTA team to keep across all of Google Cloud’s latest releases and understand how to tailor them to the company’s needs. QMENTA needed a cloud partner to offer expert advice on how to make the most of Google Cloud offerings.

Specifically, QMENTA wanted to ensure that it was using Google Cloud in the most cost-effective way. Between the cost of storing so many images, and the price of running such compute-intensive AI technology, QMENTA needed to find efficiencies it could pass on to its customers in the form of reduced costs.

“We are currently in a growth phase, our goal being to scale our number of customers and users exponentially,” explains Tim Peeters, Director of Engineering at QMENTA. “We needed a partner that could help ensure that our cloud costs didn’t grow in parallel.”

Working in the highly regulated healthcare industry, QMENTA also needed to ensure it was doing everything to remain a trustworthy and compliant vendor. QMENTA wanted support to ensure it was following industry security standards in a cost-efficient way.

The solution

Google Cloud recommended DoiT’s services to QMENTA in 2022, and after an initial architecture review, DoiT began working with the QMENTA team to get the most from Google Cloud. Through regular consultations, the QMENTA team shared its specific challenges, with DoiT offering tailored, technical expertise to help improve efficiencies across the company.

“If we need expertise in a particular area, we could spend a week learning everything ourselves, or we could ask DoiT,” says Pauo Rodrigues, CTO and Co-Founder of QMENTA. “DoiT has an engineer on hand at all times who in one day can tell us everything we need to know. This allows us to accelerate our business growth, as it means we can focus on our imaging software, which is our core offering.”

Controlling costs while making the most of the cloud

A key part of DoiT’s consultation focused on cloud cost optimization. Through a series of FinOps consultations with DoiT Cloud Reliability Engineers (CREs), reviewing its infrastructure, QMENTA received a list of tailored recommendations and best practices to optimize its cloud usage. Among the advice was a recommendation to use Google Cloud Committed Use Discounts (CUDs), signing up to a set amount of compute and storage at a heavily discounted rate. If inappropriately made, these commitments can lead to companies paying for more usage than they need, which is why DoiT’s careful analysis of QMENTA specific cloud usage was important to ensure QMENTA made an appropriate commitment.

DoiT then worked with QMENTA to develop a CUD automation strategy to ensure the company automatically benefitted from the lowest price available at any time, thereby saving QMENTA from having to continually search for the best discounts.

QMENTA also benefits from the Cloud Analytics dashboards in the DoiT console, which give the team more visibility and control of its cloud expenditure. “Using the DoiT dashboards, with its billing reports and aggregated data, allows us to see exactly where we are spending more than we need to, enabling us to dig into the details and make small changes for big savings,” says Paulo Rodrigues.

Plotting the right path to efficient computing and data storage

With the high demand its AI models place on computing power, QMENTA was keen to ensure it was making the most of Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and used the DoiT platform to request a number of Kubernetes training sessions with DoiT engineers. As a result, QMENTA learned how to scale its usage up and down according to need, saving costs by reducing the number of GKE nodes used for tasks that require less memory, while scaling up the number of nodes to add memory to tasks that required higher performance.

As for the large amount of storage required for the millions of medical images in its system, QMENTA worked with DoiT to strategize the best approach to storing images in Google Cloud, balancing accessibility with costs. With so many images, paying for premium storage quickly adds up, so DoiT worked through QMENTA’s options for placing different images in different levels of storage, according to how often they needed to be used. Following this consultation, QMENTA decided to use Google Cloud’s new Autoclass feature in Cloud Storage, which will enable QMENTA to automatically classify every image, helping to reduce costs by ensuring that it pays for the right kind of storage for each image.

QMENTA also knew it wanted to start using an SQL database, but with so many options in the Google Cloud product suite, the QMENTA team didn’t have the time to research each option in detail. “The DoiT CREs talked us through the pros and cons of each database for our specific needs, and the associated costs,” says Peeters. “This will allow us to make an informed decision, instead of spending time investigating all the options.”

Protecting patient data with hardened cloud security

With so much sensitive patient data in its system, QMENTA is continually looking for ways to strengthen its cloud security to ensure that data remains protected. An identity and access management workshop with DoiT CREs helped to familiarize the QMENTA team with industry best practice, including how to use user groups effectively to streamline access, rather than assigning roles to users directly.

The company also sought recommendations on how to use Google Cloud Intrusion Detection System (IDS) in a cost effective way, opting to use it in a test project first, rather than in production, to ensure that costs didn’t balloon. The company is now working with DoiT to explore the optimal use of Google Cloud Security Command Center.

The result

Greater expertise for faster decision making

With around-the-clock, unlimited access to DoiT CREs, QMENTA has learned how to make more informed decisions about its cloud usage more quickly, leaving the team more time to focus on growing the business.

DoiT cloud training sessions have also helped to arm QMENTA engineers with the expertise they need to make the most of the cloud. “I often get feedback from our engineers telling me how good the DoiT CREs are,” says Peeters. “They understand our questions and can answer them in a very useful, informative way. Our team is happier and more confident as a result.”

22% reduction in cloud costs with efficient cloud usage

As a result of the consultancy with DoiT and its CUD automation strategy, QMENTA reduced its cloud expenditure by 22% in nine months.

What's next?

Having built and validated its product and completed a recent round of fundraising, QMENTA is now investing heavily in growing its customer and user base, which will lead to a steep increase in the number of images it stores and processes. The cloud optimization journey that QMENTA has undertaken with DoiT has put the company in good stead for this expansion.

“We expect QMENTA to grow to two or three times its current size over the next year, which will see our cloud usage increase considerably,” says Rodrigues. “Through our work with DoiT, we have future-proofed our growth, ensuring that as we scale exponentially, our cloud spend remains firmly under control.”

Paulo Rodrigues, CTO and Co-Founder
“We expect QMENTA to grow its current size considerably over the next year, which will see our cloud usage increase considerably. Through our work with DoiT we have future-proofed our growth, ensuring that as we scale exponentially, our cloud spend remains firmly under control.”

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