Cloud Migration Essentials: What is IaaS? (And Why You Should Care)

Adam Stern | Healthcare Business Today

As a group, small and midsize medical offices tend to be wired for DIY.  Self-reliance runs deep, which is why many small hospitals, clinics and medical practices still manage their own technology – servers, routers, other networked gear.  That said, the times, they are a-changin’ and, increasingly, growing medical enterprises are looking to move to the cloud – and bring their applications with them, especially via IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service.

At its most basic level, IaaS enables medical practices to move all or part of their compute environment to the cloud (that is, off premises), and to make the migration without modifying any of their existing applications.  The market is now awash in IaaS tools and technologies, empowering medical practices that may lack traditional computing resources to benefit from remarkably robust products and platforms.

In the mushrooming world of the cloud, IaaS is distinguished from two other “as a service” models – Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).  Without getting mired in terminology, SaaS is essentially a software rental model, where individual applications are hosted – again, off-premises – for a monthly subscription fee.  As an application delivery model, just name your vertical: SaaS has become a virtual supermarket for business software, from the generic to the highly specialized – accounting, human resources, content management, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, and vastly more, addressing niches within niches.  All users need is a web browser and they’re good to go.

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