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Healthcare Cloud Computing Evolves with Interoperable Platforms

Healthcare cloud computing is taking advantage of PaaS, containers, and serverless computing to focus on developing cloud-native applications.

healthcare cloud computing

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are using more flexible technologies together as healthcare cloud computing continues to evolve. Interoperability and flexibility in IT tools are crucial as organizations continue to use technology solutions to support the demands of a hospital environment.

Enterprise organizations are currently using or evaluating platform-as-a-service (PaaS), containers, or serverless computing, according to a recent Cloud Foundry report.

PaaS gives the client more control over the applications by allowing control over custom apps created specifically for the institution by inside developers or contracted outside developers. The overall management and storage of data is left to the vendor. PaaS focuses on app development and will most of the time include a software development kit (SDK).

“PaaS is being more broadly deployed than ever before and companies are developing new cloud-native applications at increased momentum,” said the report. “It stands to reason that these two upsurges happen in tandem. This growth in usage is bolstered by the 62 percent of IT Decision Makers who report their companies save over $100,000 by using a PaaS.”

Organizations are also increasingly using containers for application development. Containers act much like they do in the physical world, by separating data from other data based on predetermined characteristics.

When data is contained, developing applications to access that data becomes easier because it’s already isolated from unrelated data. Containers can be duplicated, moved, and act independently of each other. Containers are also an ideal environment for testing applications

“As these organizations search for tools to enable their digital transformation, they increasingly land on containers as a technology to enable that shift to cloud native application architectures,” the survey authors stated. “Organizations are moving from the use of containers as a means of increasing density in existing infrastructure, to using them to increase the velocity of application development as well as the scalability of applications.”

Interest in serverless computing has also risen significantly over the past year. Serverless computing is a more hands-off cloud computing execution model. The cloud service provider manages the machine resources.

The difference between serverless computing and public cloud is how the organization is billed for the services they use. With serverless computing, organizations are charged based on the resources they use instead of pre-purchased space they anticipate using.

The biggest benefit of serverless computing is that is allows developers to focus in the applications they’re building instead of managing their environment. With the growth of interest in both PaaS and containers for app development, serverless computing fits in as a way to support developers.

Organizations are seeking platforms that are interoperable so they can build cloud native applications more quickly. Deploying a combination of platforms that work together is called a multiplatform approach, according to Cloud Foundry.

“In this multi-platform world, it should come as no surprise that, as they become more agile in the usage of these tools, IT Decision Makers are searching for a suite of technologies to function interoperably,” the report explained. “They want technologies that integrate with their current environments in order to address their needs today—but that are flexible enough to address their needs in the future.”

“By choosing platforms offering maximum flexibility and easy integration, IT Decision Makers can be confident that whatever technology or culture change comes next—whether serverless, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), or Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML)— they will seamlessly integrate new innovations and deliver maximum developer productivity.”

As organizations continue with their digital transformations, taking advantage of platforms is key to utilizing resources. Understanding services vendors offer versus what can be done in-house can help organizations cut back on wasted resources and take advantage of their strengths.

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