– Entities need to consider how to best address future healthcare data storage needs as the amount of data collected by digital devices continues to grow exponentially.
Organizations have several options including public and private cloud storage. However software-defined storage (SDS) has emerged as another way to store vast amounts of data using virtualization.
Research and Markets predicted the SDS market will reach $42 billion by 2023, up from $4 billion in 2017, and grow at a CAGR of 39 percent in that time.
The lack of workforce available to accommodate for the growth of traditional on-premises data centers is one of the main drivers for virtualized storage techniques. Virtualization scales back the amount of physical space needed to store data, meaning that organizations don’t need to hire additional staff.
SDS is one of the architectural components that typically makes up a software-defined data center (SDDC). The other components include computer virtualization such as workspace-as-a-service and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and also software-defined networking.
SDDC, sometimes referred to as a virtual data center, covers virtualization concepts geared toward automating and abstracting data center resources. Each element of the infrastructure – including networking, security, and storage – is virtualized and implemented as a service.
SDDC uses abstraction to bring different components of infrastructure architecture together, usually managed through an application programming interface (API). The number of virtualized solutions within an SDDC makes it complicated to manage without an API assisting the developer. APIs abstract the layers of virtual technology within the data center, only displaying functions critical to the developer making the SDDC easier to manage.
SDDC is not a technology organizations can adopt in one deployment and it’s rare to see any organization running on a fully virtual environment. Gartner outlined in an SDDC market overview that many organizations may be several years away from implementing an SDDC infrastructure or any other virtual infrastructure.
“Simply changing a legacy infrastructure for a set of software-defined products is unlikely to yield the desired benefits,” Gartner analysts stated. “Before an activity is automated and self-service is implemented, the process associated with the IT service needs to be completely rethought and optimized. This may require new skills and a different culture to what is currently available within certain IT organizations.”
Gartner Vice President and Analyst Dave Russell suggested examining all solutions making up an organization’s current infrastructure and figure out which component of the infrastructure will benefit the organization the most from being virtualized. Starting with the most mission critical components and planning to adapt the rest of the infrastructure over time is the best way to approach SDDC.
Entities that are struggling with their storage infrastructure can look into virtualizing their storage tools to get the most out of their hardware and gain more control.
SDS solutions are currently available for deployment in the healthcare industry but the healthcare industry tends to hesitate when adopting new technology, particularly virtualization technology.
A report released by ZK Research earlier this year attributed evolving IT infrastructure technology as one of the major reasons why healthcare organizations have been slower to adopt software-defined solutions.
“Historically, hospitals and other healthcare institutions have been slow to adopt new technology, as maintaining the status quo was viewed as safer than risking disruption from new technologies,” the report stated.
As the amount of healthcare data being produced continues to grow, healthcare organizations will need to consider different ways of approaching storage.
Storage solutions that allow rapid expansion and flexibility need to be considered to accommodate large and complex data files. Virtualizing is a good technique for organizations to get the most out of their IT infrastructure tools.