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Healthcare Software-Defined Networking Allows Cloud Utilization

Healthcare software-defined networking supports cloud-based applications by being more flexible than legacy networking solutions.

healthcare software-defined networking

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are implementing cloud-based, healthcare software-defined networking solutions to gain improved network flexibility and visibility. These solutions can also help entities better leverage the cloud for medical tools and applications.

Software-defined networking (SDN) removes the complexities of wireless hardware by consolidating management functions into a management server that dictates how data moves through the network. This allows IT administrators to retain more control over their networks and respond to demands on the networks more quickly. 

SDN uses virtualization to remove the intelligent management software from network hardware. By doing so, SDN creates a centralized, more intelligent, and easier managed network architecture.  

Networking vendors are working to improve their SD-Wide area network (SD-WAN) solutions. SD-WAN allows users to operate their private network services through a centralized policy.

For example, Riverbed announced that Attune Hearing adopted its SD-WAN solution to give the healthcare organization a more agile approach to its network.

“We’re adding new services, applications and locations all the time – and it was placing a strain on our existing network,” Attune Hearing Head of ICT Jamie Delacey said in a statement. “We needed a new, modern approach that would help us continue to optimize the new traffic we were creating, but at the same time, give us greater control and the ability to flex and adapt our network to future needs.”

SD-WAN is improving Attune’s technology form an IT standpoint and it allows the organization to provide better digital tools for clinicians and patients.

“By offering new digital services to customers, we’re also replacing existing cumbersome manual processes for our staff,” Delacey continued. “Not only does this boost productivity and morale, it means our customers are getting the best from our employees.”

Riverbed has also been working to improve its SD-WAN solutions by acquiring other vendors, such as Xirrus, to advance their technology.

“In today’s digital, cloud, and mobile world, enterprise networks are more complex and unpredictable than ever before and IT is struggling to manage all of this,” Riverbed Chairman and CEO Jerry Kennelly said in a statement. “A fundamental rethink to networking is required and the acquisition of Xirrus, Riverbed and our partners are uniquely positioned to provide CIOs and businesses with a software-defined networking approach that delivers unified connectivity and orchestration across the entire network.”

Riverbed’s SD-WAN solution provides organizations with centralized and unified management across the network with policy-based orchestration and connectivity to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. The solution also improves performance with integrated WAN optimization, visibility and network and application intelligence with business intent-based policies, and user experience driven control.

Software-defined networks are an IT infrastructure asset that improves a healthcare organization’s network so it can support more advanced tools.

A recent Riverbed survey found that ninety percent of IT decision-makers agreed that legacy network infrastructure cannot keep up with the demands of modern network infrastructure. More healthcare organizations are considering and deploying cloud-based solutions for their infrastructure. But many entities are also met with networking roadblocks that can’t be resolved without upgrading the entity’s network.

The survey concluded that SD-WAN ensures that an organization’s network is robust enough to handle the constant adoption of new cloud-based applications and tools. SD-Wan is also a way for entities to cut back on network infrastructure costs through centralized management and gives IT much more control over network security.

Healthcare organizations cannot expand their IT infrastructure and adopt advanced cloud-based tools if the network is not scaled to meet the increased demands. Entities need to have a network that is flexible to properly leverage the scalability of cloud computing. SD-WAN is a viable option organizations should consider to future-proof their health IT infrastructure. 

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