Server virtualization is only the beginning. By extending virtualization concepts to storage resources, healthcare organizations are beginning to transform their data centers from deeply siloed operations defined by hardware to highly automated resources designed around software.

As virtualization, cloud and mobility create more complex environments, healthcare data center managers are challenged to handle new data streams, add layers of security, and connect with more applications and users while trying to minimize routine, labor-intensive activities or the need to add costly, specialized systems.

It’s the increasingly common situation of having to do more with less. Your infrastructure needs to be robust, agile and scalable enough to protect vital patient data while, at the same time, ensuring immediate access to that data anywhere, anytime. Quality patient care depends on it

Enter the SDDC, or software-defined data center. With an SDDC, the core infrastructure elements — networking, server, storage, security — are integrated and virtualized. Intelligent software systems control the entire center, and this software is used to automate application deployment and management, provisioning, configuration and operation.

Instead of manually coordinating virtualized and non-virtualized elements, configuring load balancers or applying security profiles, IT staff can support initiatives (ICD-10, anyone?). Plus, SDDCs offer the flexibility, computing power and unified platform to deploy the latest applications without the need for an expensive and time-consuming physical overhaul of the data center.

SDDC benefits

Upgrading existing data centers to SDDCs can reduce capital equipment costs by 58% and reduce infrastructure operating expenses by 56%. A more responsive, agile, secure and high-performing data center that takes full advantage of the underlying hardware offers a number of benefits:

  • Impressive cost-effectiveness. Virtual IT services, automated operations, and centralized monitoring and management boost resource utilization and staff productivity, reduce costs and increase efficiency.
  • Streamlined provisioning. Deploy and manage applications across your entire health system in minutes with automated, agile provisioning.
  • No-nonsense security. Policy-based management protocols and advanced security services integrated directly into the network platform ensure compliance, and unified monitoring provides insight into potential threats.
  • Major mobility support. Secure, speedy delivery of mobile apps ensures clinicians on-demand access to critical patient data on any application on any device, whenever and wherever they need it.
  • Valued responsiveness. Automatically apply pooled network resources to unclog bottlenecks and ensure application responsiveness, even with increased network traffic.

Sources:, “Transforming the Datacenter with VMware’s Software-defined Data Center vCloud Suite,” June 2014, “Tribal Knowledge,” September 2014

This article first appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Health Tech Report.


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