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Healthcare Data Centers Call For Cloud, Virtualization

Organizations need to consider cloud and virtualization solutions to build a futureproof healthcare data center.

healthcare data center

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

  1. As IT infrastructure technology evolves, organizations are looking to use more advanced tools for their healthcare data centers.

- A recent Research and Markets report predicted that the data center services market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 14 percent through 2023.

Data center services includes cloud and hosting, networks, consulting, and virtualization among others. These technologies will provide organizations with faster data center connections and better scalability and elasticity as healthcare organizations continue to increasingly collect and store medical data.

The data center network technology solutions support core/spine switches, server access switches, virtual switching, programmable Ethernet fabrics, network automation, and network overlays along with other emerging approaches based on disaggregation of hardware from software components, according to Gartner.  

Knowing how to store the ever-growing data produced by patients and clinicians is one of the biggest challenges healthcare organizations are facing today. As clinicians and patients depend more and more on digital tools and connected medical devices, the more data is produced and collected.

“What is driving change in data center infrastructures is the need for improved operational agility, a key requirement as clients go through the digital transformation of their businesses,” said Gartner analysts. “Vendors are evolving the features of their solutions in response to this pressure.”

Not only does this data need to be stored, but it also needs to be highly available so clinicians don’t have to wait for the tools or information they need.

Some of the more modern approaches to building a data center are adopting cloud solutions, deploying all-flash servers, and virtualizing the data center using software-defined approaches.

Cloud is one of the faster ways to scale up a data center. Organizations can take advantage of the public cloud and pay for it as a subscription service. Organizations are also able to migrate different applications to the cloud to free up space on their physical servers.

Hybrid cloud models are also an option for organizations that want to create more flexibility in their data center. Gartner analysts predicted that organizations building hybrid cloud networks need to integrate their network solutions with cloud services.

Software-defined solutions are another way organizations can expand their data center without investing in more hardware.

A software-defined data center (SDDC), sometimes referred to as a virtual data center, covers virtualization concepts geared toward automating and abstracting data center resources. Each element of the infrastructure including networking, security, and storage is virtualized and implemented as a service.

SDDC uses abstraction to bring different components of infrastructure architecture together, usually managed through an application programming interface (API). The number of virtualized solutions within an SDDC makes it complicated to manage without an API assisting the developer.

APIs abstract the layers of virtual technology within the data center, only displaying functions critical to the developer making the SDDC easier to manage.

Organizations also need to consider hardware options for data center expansion to make sure that they are investing in scalable and futureproof hardware.

All flash servers are made up of multiple solid-state disk drives that are more stable than the spinning disks found in hard disk drives. The flash drives transfer data faster than hard disk drives and are easier to reprogram.

All flash deployments have many benefits including less power, cooling, and space requirements, better uptime, faster deployment time, and better multi-tenancy to support multiple virtual or applications environments.

According to Forrester Research, removing the spinning disks from physical servers saved organizations a significant amount of money and allowed them to store much more data on-site.

The recent and continued influx of medical data calls for the support of a modern and efficient data center. These approaches can help organizations futureproof their data center and support new and innovative medical tools and devices.

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