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Healthcare Multicloud Supports Unique Cloud Infrastructure

As organizations move more of their IT infrastructure to the cloud, healthcare multicloud environments are becoming more common as different data requires different environments.

healthcare multicloud

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Most healthcare organizations have at least one cloud environment supporting one or more of their IT infrastructure tools or storing data. Entities are not restricted to one cloud service model or vendor, which is why healthcare multicloud is gaining traction.

Multicloud 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 multicloud storage is that multicloud storage uses different cloud service models or providers for data. This is because different clouds are better suited for different tasks.

Multicloud service options strategically store data using multiple resources, allowing organizations to benefit from multiple data storage and access solutions.

The 2017 report, Collaborative and Secure Sharing of Healthcare Data in Multi-Clouds, outlines the need for cloud technology in healthcare and why multicloud 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.”

More than 90 percent of enterprise organizations have plans to implement multiple clouds as part of their IT infrastructure over the next several years according to an IDC research report.

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said that as cloud environments continue to become more complex, cloud management tools and processes may become outdated and struggle to keep up with the pace of IT innovation.

Healthcare organizations are adopting the multicloud, which gives them the option to choose the cloud service model and service provider for certain tools or data sets. While multi-cloud has many benefits, the different environments can be difficult to manage, especially if an organization is lacking at management tool that gives it visibility and control.

“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, monitor, 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. Multicloud management 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.

Entities are charged with deciding which parts of their infrastructure can be moved to the cloud and which data should remain on-premises. Once it’s decided which data is moving to the cloud, it doesn’t mean that the same cloud service model or service provider will meet the needs of unique tools.

Organizations have the freedom to choose multiple HIPAA-compliant cloud service providers and tailor a cloud environment specific to their organization’s unique needs.

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