Virtualization News

Cloud, On-Premises Hyperconvergence Supports HIT Infrastructure

Hyperconvergence is becoming a more popular HIT infrastructure option as organizations seek to consolidate systems and increase efficiency.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare organizations must find ways to consolidate IT systems to get the most out of their infrastructure hardware while also cutting back costs. This can be difficult as HIT infrastructure continues to evolve.

Hyperconvergence is one method that can improve health IT infrastructure while eliminating costly solutions from the digital ecosystem.

Hyperconvergence virtualizes elements of datacenter infrastructure, from storage and networking to process and memory. The entire infrastructure is managed from a single place, which gives IT administrators more visibility and control over the entire environment.

Hyperconvergence can be run in a cloud or on-premises environment and lets IT administrators control all virtual deployments from one place. This allows for less user error and faster technology speeds.

How an organization wants to spend its money is the biggest difference between a cloud and an on-premises hyperconverged infrastructure deployment.

The difference can be compared to leasing or owning a car. Leasing can sometimes be a better option because it covers repairs and an individual can exchange the car for the latest model periodically. However, owning the car can save money in the long run and gives the driver more control over the car.

The same concept can be applied to on-premises and cloud-based hyperconverged infrastructure. While the cloud is more flexible and can be monitored by a service provider, organizations will have more control if they deploy their hyperconverged infrastructure on-premises.

The growth of complex data being generated and the different kinds of devices collecting and generating data calls for a serious reconsideration on how organizations approach their data centers.

The healthcare sector is expected to see the biggest adoption growth of hyperconvereged infrastructure because of the growing adoption of digital information storage solutions. 

Hyperconvergence is emerging in healthcare to simplify and unify parts of the health IT infrastructure for more network visibility and control. Converging systems can also save organizations money over time and reduce how long it takes to perform certain tasks so employees can better use their time.

Emerging hyperconverged technology is appealing as organizations realize that they can have turnkey solutions that are easily managed and maintained.

Hyperconverged infrastructure also directly affects clinicians and their workflow when used to support clinician logins for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments, Southern New Hampshire Health Desktop Configuration Engineer Scot Tymowicz told HITInfrastructure.com in a previous interview.

“What’s great about the hyper-converged environment is we use a single sign on solution so our staff can tap their badge on the cart, get logged in to the medical applications they use, and start doing their job,” said Tymowicz.

“If a clinician is in the room with a patient doing their job, and there’s an emergency and they have to leave that room, they can quickly wave their badge over the computer to lock it and secure it,” he continued. “Clinicians are no longer tasked with launching and logging into applications, making valuable patient interaction time.”

The control hyperconvergence gives IT administrators over logins also provides better security. Tymowicz stated that passwords in most legacy healthcare environments are usually typed out by the user an average of nine times every login. It’s typed to access the desktop, access email, and access the medical applications needed for that session.

IT administrators can enforce a 10 or 20-character alphanumeric password that staff never has to type because they’re tapping their badges to gain access to their hyper-converged desktops. The environment is secure, but it’s also seamless for end-users.

Hyperconverged servers are able to handle newer and more advanced solutions without investing in too much hardware.

VMware VP of Products, Storage and Availability Lee Caswell advises healthcare organizations considering hyper-convergence to review their servers and review what they can consolidate.

“There's a lot of new servers out, and organizations refresh their servers about every three years,” said Caswell. “Entities should find a server refresh where they can deploy hyper-convergence and get storage along with the servers. Healthcare really values the choice of server. HCI gives organizations the flexibility of choosing the hardware that they want.”

Hyper-convergence appeals to healthcare organizations because it satisfies many of healthcare’s top needs, including better endpoint security and spending more time interacting with patients.

Hyper-converged infrastructure will also give organizations better control over their HIT infrastructure, which will be beneficial in the long run.


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