3 starting points for a move to multi-cloud
Among the various cloud deployment models, healthcare organizations largely agree that multi-cloud is best suited for their needs, according to the latest Enterprise Cloud Index survey from Nutanix. Ninety percent of IT decision-makers said multi-cloud was their preferred IT operating model, as it takes advantage of public and private cloud services and allows for interoperability among them.
However, multi-cloud adoption has been slow. Just 27% of healthcare organizations have deployed a multi-cloud setup, compared to a global average of 36%. They are also more likely than the global average to leverage a traditional three-tier data center model or to solely use private cloud services. In fact, more than half of organizations (55%) use no public cloud services.
Healthcare has many reasons to prefer the private cloud: It’s better suited for clinical applications, it offers greater control over security, and it can support the intense computing workloads necessary for analytics and machine learning. In addition, 92% of organizations said managing multiple clouds is a complex process, while 80% said migrating workloads to a new cloud environment (public or private) is both costly and time-consuming.
Despite these concerns, reticence to adopt a multi-cloud approach seems to be fading. Organizations plan to increase their multi-cloud penetration from 27% to 51% by the end of 2024. Survey respondents said the top motivators for moving to a multi-cloud environment are improving business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR), supporting remote workers, and providing better scalability and agility.
Each represents a compelling case for moving resources offsite – and for hastening an organization’s push to embrace multi-cloud in its IT roadmap and locate the right resources in the right cloud environment.
Business continuity and disaster recovery at their core involve backing up hardware, software, and data in diverse locations. This is critical for maintaining clinical operations when onsite resources are no longer available. Public cloud services, which can disperse resources across disparate geographics and make them available on demand, are a clear choice for BC and DR.
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Support for remote workers enables organizations to provide IT services to traveling nurses who provide services in patients’ homes, to behavioral health professionals who primarily see patients in virtual appointments, and to outpatient facilities located in the community. Here, organizations can take advantage of edge computing, with applications running and data processing locally and not in a central hub, which can hinder performance.
Scalability and agility let organizations deploy IT resources on demand and pay for services only as they use them. For example, organizations may opt to shift data analysis to the public cloud in cases when an immediate response isn’t needed, such as research or financial reporting. This frees up onsite resources for more critical analysis such as inpatient monitoring or clinical decision support. Multi-cloud also enables rapid resource deployment – which many health systems leveraged to set up offsite COVID-19 triage, testing, and vaccination sites.
Brian Eastwood is a Boston-based writer with more than 10 years of experience covering healthcare IT and healthcare delivery. He also writes about enterprise IT, consumer technology, and corporate leadership.