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Healthcare IaaS Deployments Call for Managed Cloud Services

As healthcare cloud IaaS deployments become a pivotal part of IT infrastructure, service are needed to manage complex deployments.

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- Healthcare organizations relying on public cloud, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) are faced with the task of managing all aspects of the cloud, which can become increasingly complicated as more health IT infrastructure solutions are added.

Gartner predicts in its latest managed cloud services report that the managed cloud services market will remain a key IT infrastructure tool across all major industry verticals, including healthcare, over the next several years.

Healthcare organizations operating on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform require a managed cloud services solution to manage and monitor cloud activity across the infrastructure.

Managed cloud allows IT administrators to take advantage of everything their cloud service provider offers, without having to become an expert in any particular cloud platform. Organizations can focus on areas that need attention without wasting resources managing complex cloud systems.

Gartner analysts found that organizations are implementing public cloud IaaS solutions. The most popular IaaS solutions typically offer platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities as part of an integrated offering.

IaaS and PaaS services combined do not completely eliminate the need for a management solution, the report stated. IaaS deployments present challenges when it comes to managing them and organizations need to make sure all of their cloud infrastructure tools are deployed correctly.

Organizations often desire third-party assistance for their IaaS solutions, either during implementation or as part of a larger infrastructure management solution. Managed cloud services are offered by third-party vendors and operate on top of public cloud IaaS solutions.

Gartner analysts suggested that all managed service providers should feature a management portal, technical support, and professional services before organizations consider adopting them in their IT infrastructure.   

The management portal should contain cloud service expense management and provider account governance that integrates with identity management. Along with governance, report authors suggested organizations seek cloud managed services that offer automation functionality to free up staff for other projects.

Technical support is another feature the report advised organizations seek in a cloud managed services solution. The technical support will allow the managed solution to configure, secure, and manage all the cloud provider’s service elements. Professional services include solution architecture, workload migration services, and DevOps automation.

Report authors concluded that most cloud managed service providers are small even if the vendor is a large well-known company. This is relatively small compared to other outsourced technologies.

The report also noted that automation is critical to successful long-term managed cloud service deployment. Building repeatable services allows the solution to take care of mundane management tasks, freeing up staff.

Because cloud managed services are almost exclusively delivered via AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, the report pointed out where organizations may see differences among solutions and how that may affect them.

AWS has a more mature managed cloud services ecosystem because it has a tiered partner ecosystem backed by third-party audits. AWS has a partner badging system that makes it easy for organizations to evaluate and choose a managed cloud services provider.

The AWS managed cloud services ecosystem includes over 60 audited partners. Because AWS has been qualifying partners for longer, it has a wider selection than Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure.

The report also warned that managed cloud services for AWS and Azure are delivered differently.

Gartner analysts suggested that AWS customers tend to prefer a more automated approach oriented around DevOps, which gives them more flexibility. Azure customers prefer a more traditional and streamlined approach over agility. As a result, several vendors have different managed cloud service options based on both platforms.

As cloud-based health IT infrastructure continues to grow, managed services become more significant to the deployment of a successful solution. Organizations can expect the market to continue to evolve as more customizable and streamlined solutions are developed for major cloud service providers. 

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