Multicloud in Healthcare: A Prescription for Operational Excellence

Through a multicloud by design approach, healthcare organizations can employ the right knobs and dials to optimize their cloud mix.

An endless variety of terms exist for what’s happening in today’s Healthcare IT landscape. Between private cloud, hybrid cloud, polycloud, public cloud, omnicloud and others, it’s little wonder many healthcare organizations struggle to determine the best locations to run their clinical workloads. A multicloud strategy can provide a clear way forward by making it possible to run each mission-critical workload on the optimal cloud platform today while providing the flexibility to change locations as requirements evolve.

Customer Conversations Then

Ten years ago, conversations with healthcare IT decision-makers often revolved around how they identified a particular public cloud provider. They were ready to go “all in” on the cloud and to “get out of the datacenter business.”

Their motivation was understandable. The value of clinical space in healthcare, the presumed fiscal tax of maintaining their own physical IT footprint and the desire to focus IT staff on other tasks were good reasons to consider “the cloud.”

With the benefit of hindsight, however, it is clear few fully completed that journey. Why? For some, the transition proved harder and more costly than anticipated. Unexpected fees, lengthy migrations, application dependencies, governance requirements, legal constraints and economic reality have all presented obstacles to success.

Graphic showing evolution of Healthcare multicloud usage since 2001.

Customer Conversations Now

Most would agree a lot has changed since those conversations a decade ago.  If the cloud is an “operating model,” almost all healthcare organizations are “multicloud” at this point, even if they differ in their mixes of private, hybrid, public and other cloud platforms.

Over the years, new cloud players have emerged, each attempting to differentiate their offerings to capture mindshare and business within the healthcare industry. Some endure; others have gone away. How many organizations would again choose the providers they selected ten years ago? Needs and expectations have changed dramatically. Increasing co-opetition, ethical and privacy concerns, and evolving business strategies are just a few pressures that require healthcare organizations to adapt to change.

As a result, today’s more cloud-savvy healthcare technology customers talk about requirements such as:

“We want to use the best services from each provider and cannot have vendor lock-in.”

“We need our various applications to each run in the best place for them from a technology, compliance and financial standpoint.”

“‘OpEx,’ or ‘CapEx,’ works best for our organization.” (Yes, many still want CapEx.)

“We want to retain full sovereignty of our data.”

“We want our data available to (but not necessarily in) all major public clouds so we can benefit from a wide range of advanced services without paying to move data in and out.”

“We want predictable expenses.”

And, still, “We don’t want to be in the datacenter business.”

One Size Does Not Fit All

There is no single multicloud strategy that applies to all healthcare organizations. Each has different business constraints, legal requirements and compliance landscapes. Every organization has unique levels of IT talent, application mix and dependencies, and data gravity centers.

In the past, organizations fell victim to “multicloud by default.” In other words, the cloud more or less just happened. Over time, we have learned that having control over an organization’s destiny is most important to long-term multicloud success.

The first step to multicloud success is taking what is frequently called a “multicloud by design” approach. Multicloud by design is a conscious, strategic process through which an organization thoughtfully plans how it will use the cloud. Organizations taking this approach control the evolution of their cloud environment using a variety of operational, financial and technological “knobs and dials” to optimize their cloud mix over time.

Getting the toolset right for this approach can mean freedom from years of turmoil and expense associated with lock-in. Dell Technologies and its partner ecosystem offer the premier collection of “knobs and dials” for the healthcare industry, with capabilities that include:

    • Support for CapEx or OpEx strategies.
    • The ability to leverage solutions-as-a-service from Dell Technologies that can run in public clouds.
    • Public cloud technologies that can run as on-premise or cloud-adjacent infrastructure.
    • Healthcare-validated ISV platforms.
    • Managed healthcare workloads deployed near to and accessible to public cloud providers.
    • Operational and consulting services for planning and realizing multicloud plans.

Are you ready to learn more? Read the new solution brief on the Dell Alliances Healthcare Cloud solution and learn more about Dell Technologies in Healthcare and Life Sciences on our website.

Michael Fredericks

About the Author: Michael Fredericks

Michael has over 26 years’ experience in information technology with more than 19 of those focusing on healthcare. In addition to his current role, he has served as a Healthcare Solution Architect, Lead Technologist and as a Manager of Network Services and Senior Systems Engineer for a multi-hospital healthcare system. Michael enjoys collaborating with healthcare customers and partners, to enable solutions that empower healthcare organizations to deliver the highest quality care possible; which ultimately improves quality of lives for both patients and those that serve them. Michael serves on the advisory board for the Information Technology program of a regional technical high school and volunteers locally, in both an audio engineering and information technology capacity. Michael holds a Master of Science (MS) degree in Computer Information Systems from Boston University, a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix and several industry certifications.