ACI Quarterly Newsletter


If your systems are growing and your facilities aren't keeping up, or don't provide the security and redundancy you desire, ACI will work with you in moving your systems to a hosting center or to a cloud provider, and help you avoid pitfalls along the way. Migrating systems and data can be a huge undertaking, with planning and execution order being the determinants of success.  

Key decisions include:

  • Co-locate existing systems - you will be renting rack space or cage space at your provider of choice.  This can offer a more seamless migration for your users since it is your existing equipment that is moving, with only telecom routing changes necessary, but you are still responsible for all server support, life-cycle maintenance and business continuity solutions in the event of any problems.
  • Migrate systems to a cloud provider (IaaS) - if you're already fully virtualized on the servers/apps you wish to migrate, this can relieve some of the maintenance overhead, using an Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution.  Depending on the cloud provider, this can include mirroring to other sites geographically separated from the primary site, providing redundancy in the event of a localized disaster, with no changes evident to your users.
  • Convert to a hosted environment (SaaS or PaaS) - you would be changing to a different application platform as you are moving to the cloud, which does impact the users at some level, and may include a retraining component, but relieves you of all hardware and server support.  If you're not converting to a currently hosted application (Software-as-a Service) you would need the tools to recreate and support your own application (Platform-as-a-Service) in the cloud provider's environment.  

Considerations for migration:

  • Data volumes - these can be immense, and it is no trivial matter transferring terabytes of data to a cloud vendor.  Most healthcare information has data retention guidelines, so the decision to migrate to a cloud environment carries with it an implied conversion of existing data, which will add to the cost.  Otherwise you may be forced to keep your current systems operational for many years while your new systems in the cloud require users to operate both systems in parallel, creating inefficiencies.
  • System size/impact - you should start with smaller systems or those with the least impact in the event of problems, saving critical apps for later in the process after you've gained experience and confidence with your cloud vendor and the migration process.
  • In-house expertise - moving to the cloud does not mean you are getting rid of your IT staff, in most cases. Where your apps and data are located matters less than who supports them.  No matter where your IT assets reside, you will still need expert staff on hand to manage the environment, the user base, any problems that arise, and to ensure your cloud resources are properly provisioned so your not being billed for orphaned or abandoned cloud servers.
  • ​Service and service-level agreements - your cloud provider should clearly specify in writing what security restrictions are in place, the server resources that are available to you, the turnaround time on scaling up or down if necessary, and the timeframes for their resolutions to any problems that arise with the site.
  • Backout strategy - considering this critical escape hatch during the initial migration planning can be an eye-opening conversation but it is part of the life-cycle costs, as well as a certainty if the migration does not go as planned.  It is far easier to get your data into a cloud environment than to get it out if you want to later switch cloud vendors or bring it back in-house.  

ACI offers services for all levels of cloud migrations.  Call us to see how we can help. 

Cloud Migrations or Co-Locations