Cryptographer Ralph Merkle said, “The new technologies that we see coming will have major benefits that will greatly alleviate human suffering.” Making those technologies available to care providers is the mission of healthcare IT. VMware’s Cloud Foundation is the baseline for the healthcare infrastructure. Healthcare IT must provide infrastructure to internal customers as a utility service, reducing friction between healthcare IT and their internal customers.
What is Cloud Foundation?
Deploying infrastructure is often a manual and tedious process, adding little or now value to the healthcare provider without applications. Because infrastructure, in some form, is necessary to provide the application, any repetitive work should be automated. Significant time is spent in most environments designing, deploying, and managing the infrastructure.
Cloud Foundation aggregates the core infrastructure products of vSphere for compute virtualization, vSAN for storage virtualization, and NSX for network virtualization. Enabling standardized deployment and management of the core infrastructure stack enables healthcare IT to focus on higher level tasks such as providing applications and moving new projects into production.
Abstraction of Hardware
Healthcare IT is in the business of providing applications to those who provide patient care. For many years we spent far too many man hours managing hardware systems, focusing on interoperability of various components. In the modern healthcare datacenter, abstraction of the hardware layer allows far more supported hardware permutations, and more highly available systems. By abstracting the hardware, maintenance windows become less of a risk, and hardware refresh is simply a matter of moving workloads off a device. Because all control is done in the software layer, decisions can be made closer to the point of origination, whether that is network routing or storage cache.
From a deployment perspective, the hardware simply becomes a platform. Select the supported hardware platform, and deploy the software defined infrastructure components as a single install. This does not, however, negate the need for highly skilled and specialized teams; it simply shifts them to a more software focused role in managing the infrastructure at a higher level.
Abstraction of Cloud
The cloud is becoming more acceptable in healthcare. The true value to the cloud in a healthcare environment is being able to place applications in the environment which provides the greatest value. Redeploying an application each time it moves between datacenters or cloud providers does not provide application portability. Rather, having the same software infrastructure stack across each cloud provider, including your internal private cloud, provides a simple method to move workloads without concern of compatibility.
The biggest pull of the cloud for many healthcare organizations is the ability to quickly test or run short term workloads. Basing this infrastructure off of Cloud Foundation allows the healthcare IT teams the assurance if the workload becomes longer term, or if it needs to be brought back in house, the same standards in the internal datacenter will be available with the cloud provider. Security in the cloud can be enforced with the same policy-driven approach that is required internally.
VMware’s Cloud Foundation is the baseline for the healthcare infrastructure. Spend less time managing physical infrastructure, spend more time improving patient care; making technology work for the provider. Technology continues to enable better patient outcomes. As we become more reliant on technology in healthcare, we must find new ways to simplify the delivery of that technology.