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Health Multicloud Infrastructure Prompts Management Tools

The growth in health multicloud infrastructure promotes better cloud management tools.

Source: Thinkstock

- Ninety percent of enterprise organizations plan to utilize multiple clouds as part of their IT infrastructure over the next several years, prompting the rise of multicloud infrastructure management solutions, according to IDC research.

Report authors said that as cloud environments continue to become more complex, cloud management tools and processes may become outdated and struggle to keep up with the pace of IT innovation.

“Multicloud management innovators are assisting enterprise IT and DevOps teams in managing multiple clouds by supporting collaborative governance, automating provisioning using reusable, standardized process, tools, and SLAs, providing advanced, predictive performance analytics and capacity management, and streamlining chargeback, showback, and cost management activities,” IDC Research authors stated.

Multicloud management is a set of tools used to configure, provision, monito, and optimize all types of public and private cloud services to give organizations a way to ensure constant security and compliance across the entire cloud infrastructure.

Multicloud management can be open source or proprietary, and can be deployed as hosted licensed software, software-as-a-service (SaaS) based subscriptions, or on-premises.

The report suggested that multicloud management supports a range of functionality, including cloud infrastructure configuration, provisioning, and life-cycle operations automation. It also supports application performance monitoring, governance and policy management, operations and log analytics, and scheduling, migration, and automation optimization.

Healthcare organizations use multicloud because not every cloud service option is the correct fit for all of an organization’s unique health IT infrastructure needs.

Hybrid and multi-cloud service options strategically store data using multiple resources, allowing organizations to benefit from multiple data storage and access solutions.

A 2016 report — Collaborative and Secure Sharing of Healthcare Data in Multi-Clouds — outlined the need for cloud technology in healthcare and why multi-cloud technology may be beneficial.

“Cloud computing technology perfectly matches ‘big data’ challenges by providing nearly unlimited storage resources on demand,” the report stated. “In healthcare, it is also gaining particular popularity by facilitating an inter-organizational medical data sharing environment.”

Data sharing among healthcare organizations for analytics purposes is one of the top factors for healthcare institutions considering multi-cloud.

“In multicloud architecture, medical records are created, maintained and retrieved by authorized users in cooperating health centers,” the report continued. “Mediating multicloud proxies will distribute and retrieve encrypted medical records to and from multiple data clouds in parallel.”

Separating data based on user access groups plays a large role in cloud computing models, such as virtualization, giving users access only to the data they need.

“In order to provide selective sharing of data among diļ¬€erent groups of users, multi-cloud supports role-based access policies for selected attributes or sections of a medical record, enforced by attribute-based encryption,” the report authors added.

Hybrid cloud storage is not a new concept in healthcare cloud computing and has attracted many organizations that were hesitant to migrate all their data to one cloud service provider. Hybrid cloud storage refers to a storage strategy that uses more than one cloud service model (e.g., public, private) or a combination of cloud and physical server storage.

Multicloud storage is similar to hybrid storage, but uses multiple clouds to perform different tasks. Hybrid storage uses more than one cloud or server option, accessing data that is blended together between two or more infrastructure hosting solutions.

The main difference between hybrid and multi-cloud storage is that multicloud storage uses varying cloud service models or providers for data because different clouds are better suited for different tasks.

Multicloud infrastructure continues to rise and healthcare organizations need to deploy management solutions to ensure all clinical data remains secure across all cloud deployments. The cloud service models need to have clearly defined, distinct purposes for organizations to fully benefit from multicloud infrastructure.

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