Cloud Strategy

UVA Health System's Software Development group is interested in taking advantage of self-provisioned hosting technologies aka "cloud" offerings to assist in achieving Health System goals. We make use of cloud technologies for two principle reasons:

  • Primarily, for the cost advantage. Typical projects of the Software Development group for web hosting and information manangement realize a significant cost advantage with cloud hosting.
  • Secondarily, for access to new technology. Cloud services have been developed out of newer self-scaling technologies such as containers and grids, and provide additional benefits to developers such as access to new programming languages, new architectures, and simpler development environments.

In keeping with the first and second objectives of our cloud strategy, the determination to move applications to the cloud will be a question of cost. New development will likely be launched in the cloud as it can be efficiently designed with that goal in mind. A substantial number of legacy applications, in particular the business automation software projects, have ties into other UVAHS systems and/or have system configuration requirements making it more expensive to move to the cloud. For example, if you must launch a complete server to run the application, the cost may be net neutral to host internally or externally, making it preferred to just allow the software to retire in place, rather than expending the time and other resourcers to move it.

Software Development's intention is to leverage Amazon Web Services through the State of Virginia contract offered by ITS through DLT Solutions. DLT Solutions serves as a brokering group that manages billing and provisioning in compliance with VA regulations, which simplifies the management overhead.

As the technology has matured, Software Development finds the question of security to be one of process rather than any inherent advantage to cloud or on-premise hosting. As such, we have no plans to create new processes for security review - standard risk assessments will be completed before an application is made available to the public. Any end-user provisioning of applications will follow standard processes as outlined in Health IT procedures. 

Finally, Software Development intends to make working with cloud technologies a priority with new projects and as current software projects come up for changes or other updates. We do not intend to create a 'cloud migration' project as that would require an allocation of time and funds that simply aren't necessary given the pace at which we work. We can incorporate the migration, as it makes sense, as a part of our regular workflow.