- Hyper-converged infrastructure systems are emerging in HIT infrastructure as organizations seek a way to consolidate IT systems to be faster and more manageable.
The global hyper-converged integrated system market is expected to grow at a 37 percent CAGR through 2025, according to a recent Transparency Market Research report.
Hyper-convergence virtualizes elements of datacenter infrastructure, from storage and networking to process and memory. The entire infrastructure is managed from a single place, which gives IT administrators more visibility and control over the entire environment.
Hyper-convergence can be run in a cloud or on-premise environment and lets IT administrators control all virtual deployments from one place. This allows for less user error and faster technology speeds.
The report stated that the healthcare sector is expected to see the biggest rise in hyper-converged integrated systems because of the growing adoption of digital information storage solutions. The report also credited the increased use of smart-phone based technology to patient interaction.
“The rising complexity of data being generated due to the use of diverse electronic instruments such as gaming devices and smartphones has led to growing demand for data center consolidation services,” report authors stated.
“This is likely to remain a key driver for the global hyper-converged integrated system market in the coming years, as the growing urban demographic is likely to ensure consistent growth of the consumer electronics market and the booming telecommunications sector is likely to enable steady development of communication technology in order to make data sharing easier than ever,” the report continued. “The rising need for user demographic information in various industries is thus projected to entail a growing demand from the hyper-converged integrated systems market.”
Healthcare organizations are already implementing hyper-convergence into their health IT infrastructures to improve security and workflow.
Southern New Hampshire Health (SNHH) Desktop Configuration Engineer Scot Tymowicz told HITInfrastructure.com that the organization gives its staff wireless desktops running virtual desktops on the hyper-converged environment. Clinicians can take their desktop with them to every patient and only need to sign on once.
The hyper-converged infrastructure lets clinicians sign into their desktops much quicker, which allows them to spend more time with patients.
“What’s great about the hyper-converged environment is we use a single sign on solution so our staff can tap their badge on the cart, get logged in to the medical applications they use, and start doing their job,” Tymowicz said. “If they’re in the room with a patient doing their job, and there’s an emergency and they have to leave that room, they can quickly wave their badge over the computer to lock it and secure it. Clinicians are no longer tasked with launching and logging into applications, making valuable patient interaction time.”
The hyper-converged environment also helps SNHH further improve login times by adding slid-state drivers (SSDs) to the data center. The hyper-converged infrastructure will allow them to easily transition over to with load balancing.
“We are noticing right now that the old environment took our users about two minutes from the moment they tapped in with their badge to a usable desktop where they actually hit the internet or open a medical application and start doing their job,” Tymowicz noted. “Now, we’re seeing login times of 28 seconds on the new environment.”
Hyper-converged infrastructure also improves on traditional endpoint security because it eliminates user password responsibility.
Tymowicz stated that passwords in most legacy healthcare environments are usually typed out by the user an average of nine times every login. It’s typed to access the desktop, access email, and access the medical applications needed for that session.
“Staff doesn’t want to have to worry about their passwords,” Tymowicz stated. “As HIPAA-compliance becomes more complex and medical regulations become more complex, IT’s job is to make sure that environment is secure. IT can’t do that if nurses are using sticky notes with their son’s birthday on it as their password right on the computer; that’s not a secure environment.
Hyper-convergence appeals to healthcare organizations because it satisfies many of healthcare’s top needs, including better endpoint security and spending more time interacting with patients. Hyper-converged infrastructure will also give organizations better control over their HIT infrastructure, which will be beneficial in the long run.