For many healthcare orgs, the forecast calls for multiple clouds in the near future

Public, private, hybrid, and now multi-: competing needs are making healthcare organizations consider managing several clouds simultaneously.

Jeff Rowe | Dec 11, 2017 12:00 am

In the future, no one type of cloud is going to suffice. 

That’s according to Tim Crawford, principle consultant with Avoa, a strategic advisory firm to CIOs on data center and cloud computing issues, who recently told Andy Patrizio, tech writer for Datamation, that people will need a number of different services for a number of different mechanisms, so that by default will dictate a hybrid or multi-cloud approach.

“I expect to see it across the midsection majority of enterprises,” he said, adding that latency issues might also hurt the public cloud and favor on-premises/private cloud for things like IoT and edge services “because the speed of light is still a limiting factor.”

Even if Crawford’s prediction doesn’t hold, there are still plenty of IT stakeholders who haven’t decided what their cloud configuration is going to look like. 

According to Patrizio, in a recent study by IDG Research Services, only 29 percent of those polled described their level of cloud adoption as “mature,” compared with 50 percent for “developing” and 21 percent for “emerging.” 

For that reason, says Patrizio, “a new term has entered the lexicon along with public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud: multi-cloud.”

Multi-cloud is used in two ways, he explained. “One way is to defined two or three cloud types together, like public and private used in tandem. Of course, that’s what the hybrid cloud is. The other way multi-cloud is used is to say using multiple cloud providers.”

Indeed, according to Crawford, “the reality is today most enterprises are using a form of hybrid cloud. They probably have a corporate data center are are using some form of SaaS which is running on top of a public cloud. You can split hairs on whether that truly is hybrid or not.”

As Patrizio sees it, the trend that has emerged this year is a more cautious move on the part of enterprises, including healthcare organizations. “They are realizing, sometimes the hard way, that the cloud is heavily metered and they are being more judicious about what they move to the cloud. But they are still moving.”