Among the many advantages of moving to the cloud are greater flexibility when it comes to compute instances and data storage, as well as the capacity to scale capacity more easily.
But as tech consultant Jim O’Reilly pointed out recently in a piece on the intricacies of Infrastructure-as-a-Sevice (IaaS), there’s no shortage of other considerations healthcare organizations need to bear in mind when choosing a cloud service provider.
“IaaS environments differ quite a bit in their performance,” O’Reilly explains “with a combination of server, storage and networking options, as well as varying software, underpinning each. Organizations should also evaluate potential providers' capabilities for emerging technologies, such as machine learning, as well as their ability to support hybrid clouds and several other factors.”
Those other factors include a total cost of ownership analysis that looks at storage requirements and the costs of data access, as well as instance costs.
Moreover, says O’Reilly, “for some organizations, the choice of public IaaS provider is constrained by prior relationships. If you already use a cloud service provider (CSP) for backup storage services, then it might make sense to build on that relationship, since you're already familiar with the management and tools, which tend to be proprietary to each cloud.”
When it comes to support for emerging technologies, a key point for healthcare organizations given the continuous expansion of the Internet of Things, O’Reilly observes that “when businesses implement high-performance computing (HPC) on premises, they inadvertently underutilize many of those resources. In the public cloud, (however), organizations can deploy supercomputing capabilities and scale them up and down as needed.”
Finally, O’Reilly notes, given the spread of hybrid cloud scenarios, “interoperability between an on-premises private cloud and your public IaaS cloud will be key.”