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How Do Containerized Applications Fit in Healthcare?

Containerized applications are a newer addition to the continually-evolving healthcare IT infrastructure. We’ve moved from purely physical environments to virtualized, first for non-critical applications and then, as our comfort levels increased, for our critical applications. In fact, some organizations have become over 95% virtualized!  But virtualization has hit a roadblock –  because it must emulate the hardware it becomes infrastructure-dependent.

 

Looking beyond virtualization are ‘containerized applications.’  This may be a promising strategic technology for future applications and deployment models in healthcare.  Containers are a solution to the problems that arise when you try to move software from one computing environment to another. Containers bundle an application with all supporting dependencies, including the operating system, into a standard package that can be delivered and run on a host server platform.  This approach ensures that the application can be delivered and executed on any hardware platform that supports containers.

The implications include better scalability, portability, and more consistent (and accelerated) development of applications.  Since containers are independent processes that run in isolation from each other, there are also built-in security safeguards. Other benefits include optimized scaling and more efficient use of hardware.

In healthcare, we must be aware of data retention policies.  In some cases, data needs to remain accessible for upwards of 20 years in the US, and even longer in other countries. As we look at taking advantage of the right mix of hybrid IT (public and private cloud), infrastructure dependencies and retention policies are at odds – think of the cost of maintaining legacy applications over that required course of time.

Portability is an advantage of the container solution. Containerized applications can be moved easily from private to public clouds and back, allowing applications to be available when and where users and IT need them, and where the cost benefits are greatest.  Furthermore, portability doesn’t mean only ‘between clouds.’  In our era of supporting multiple devices, doesn’t a key application that runs transparently and securely on Windows, MAC, Linux or potentially mobile devices make sense?

As healthcare looks for ways to push applications and solutions across the continuum of care, container technology is worth exploring and understanding.  New technology solutions must be considered in the drive to a cost-efficient, nimble healthcare environment.  Combining efficiency with portability is a compelling combination to keep your eyes on.

Comport’s partner ecosystem includes Docker, the leader in containerized application technology.  HPE ProLiant servers are the industry’s first to be “Docker-ready” – available with Docker engines as part of the standard configuration tools. If you are interested, Comport can help you get a better understanding of how and where containers may fit to advance your Healthcare IT strategy.

Ready to talk about Containerization in Healthcare? Contact us

 

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