Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 09, 2016

Software Defined Data Centers: The Next Big Thing in Health IT

The entrance of the software defined data center (SDDC) is the result of a technological evolution in healthcare enterprise systems virtualization. Healthcare IT architecture is designed to support the targeted administrative processes of healthcare institutions, while saving  on costs and space and managing Healthcare Informatics (HI) data like never before.

How Does SDDC Supports a Healthcare Institution

A healthcare SDDC uses abstraction, which merges the processes of enterprise systems IT architecture and infrastructure together. Both a platform application as a service (PaaS) and software application as service (SaaS (News - Alert)), SDDC is the connection for an infrastructure application as a service (IaaS) application programming interface (API). Also referred to as a virtual data center, the SDDC automates HI data center resources, as well as provides support to other cloud-based infrastructure features such as networking, data storage, and security.

The number of virtualized solutions embedded in an SDDC affects the complexity of a network. APIs assist developers in creating abstraction in the layers of virtual technology in a data center. The API also limits the display of critical functions to a SDDC, making it easier for a developer or administrator to manage. Moreover, a SSDC can be deployed to the private cloud data center of an institution, or be integrated into the value chain sharing environment of an IaaS. In the latter case, partners across a network of users will have synchronized access to the data of the SDDC without delay. This is key for healthcare institutions working with specialists, clinics, and insurance companies.

The Main Components of SDDC Architecture

Healthcare institution enterprise systems virtualization uses software defined networking (SDN) to transform an organization’s network into a virtual network. This is done by way of network hardware and software consolidation. Software defined storage also includes virtual servers so that there is full recovery of data during a systems failure. Other features to SDDC are Workspace-as-a-service, Desktop Virtualization, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Virtual Mobile Infrastructure (VMI) assets.

The Future of SDDC in Healthcare

Similar to most virtualization technology, SDDC technology is on the rise. In a recently published study, it is reported that the global SDDC market will reach $81.381 billion in total market size by the end of the year 2021. This projected increase is said to be due to the use of Internet networking virtualization promoted by the demand for cloud storage space, computing power, and institution-to-institution complex networking capabilities. What comes out of this will likely be a future of ever expanding SDDC concepts becoming more sophisticated as time goes by.

The fact that SDDC allows data centers to scale up infrastructure not only on-demand, but seamlessly, enables healthcare institutions to streamline data management processes and unify networking and server storage resources with more agility than ever before. The scalability and cost effectiveness of SDDC offers healthcare institutions the flexibility and manageability demanded of data centers today. SDDC creates the conditions for maximizing assets, because cloud capabilities offer limitless integration of any hardware and multi-tenancy networking. 

While healthcare organizations have been historically slow to adopt virtualization solutions into their IT infrastructure, SDDC is setting a new standard for healthcare data centers. SDDC is the closest thing to a fully virtual environment, although deployment may be several years away due to risks associated with data backup and type of existing infrastructure. Legacy infrastructure may delay integration of SDDC if software defined products are unlikely to yield the desired results without major overhaul of databases and other support features.

Training is an obvious obstacle to rapid integration. Healthcare institutions are forced to take a more moderate approach to protect patients, employees, and assets from data related liabilities such as partially available records. New skills such as medical transcription training online, and a different organizational culture may be demanded to ramp up to SDDC. What will follow, however, is likely to be a more adequate solution as an organization replaces current infrastructure with new SDDC components.

The automated benefits to virtualization are proven, yet getting started is the most mission critical phase of total enterprise systems integration of SDDC processes. Experimentation and training is inevitably required during the SDDC implementation project management process. Building the right skills and vision into an organization is key to enabling new SaaS. Healthcare IT integration of SDDC is no exception to this rule.

Edited by Alicia Young
By Special Guest
Rick Delgado, Freelance Writer ,

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