SIT113 – Cloud Computing and Virtualisation (2016)

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Cloud Computing

According to IBM (2016), cloud computing refers to a delivery of on-demand computing resources over the Internet. This process includes everything from applications to data centers and the service comes on a pay-for-use basis. It is important to note that cloud computing requires elastic resources, which can scale up and down as per the demand. Cloud computing is a self-service access platform. Some of the common options with cloud computing are Software as a Service or SaaS, Platform as a Service also known as PaaS, and Infrastructure as a Service also referred to as IaaS.

Cloud-based services are also diversified into public clouds and private clouds, where public clouds are used on public networks whereas private clouds are hosted internally within a company or institution. There is also the aspect of hybrid clouds that combine private cloud foundation with strategic integration of public cloud services (Elragal & Malak, 2013).

Non-cloud Based Applications

Capterra (2016) present SoftClinic as an EHR and HMS that aids to run a clinic smoothly and hassle free, having integrated modules such as financial accounting, laboratory, pharmacy, and human resources. OpenEMR is recognized as an open source medical practice software that works as an HER, PMS, and EMR. As such, OpenEMR has integrated electronic health records, electronic billing, a free support system, internationalization, and scheduling (Jenkins & Christenson, 2001). Health.NET is a modular solution intended for medical clinics. It features, among other functions, EMR, LIMS or laboratory module, EHR, voice reporting, and DICOM integration. EHospital Systems comes as a comprehensive and integral information system mandated to manage clinic operations including finances, administrative functions, legal issues, and medical service processing. Lastly, GeroPro works towards managing patient demographics, account payables, care plan, and account receivables among others.

SoftClinic is essential for GP Clinics considering it comes with a free trial, the software can be installed both on a mobile device and it operates over the Internet. The clinics will also receive documentation, and participate in webinars and other trainings in person to ensure they have learned the system is streamlined to the clinics’ strategy and management. This ERP system also features revenue and policy management, physicians’ and patient records management, accounting and appointment management, and expense tracking. Other features available for GP Clinics include claims and outpatient management, in-patient and inventory management, budgeting and forecasting, and human resource management. GP Clinics can use the OpenEMR to integrate their electronic health records, ensure proper scheduling of meetings, easily prepare billings online, provide international correspondence, and sustain a free support system (Capterra 2016).

Health.NET is customized to allow medical clinics such as GP to access EMR, EHR, LIMS, advanced reporting templates for voice and image reports, and statistics on BI modular solutions. This ERP also features DICOM integration and provides a work list with results exchange when using instruments. EHospital Systems approaches paper-based information processing with an aim to develop mobile data acquisition and presentation using its functions. This software comes with a 24/7 live customer service that comes a long way to assist clinics such as GP’s when adjusting to the system. The ERP also offers webinars and in-person trainings (Capterra, 2016). GP-Clinics will be able to manage their financial, inventory, human resource, physicians and patient records with ease using eHospital Systems.

GeroPro is in a position to manage GP-Clinics important functions by taking handling accounts receivables and payables, resident trust funds and MDS, administration of patient billing and care plans, and patient demographics and face sheets. With GeroPro, GP-Clinics will have access to EDI tools that are HiPAA compatible hence allowing the clinics to create on-demand critical reports used on managerial decision making (Capterra 2016).

Cloud Solutions

Collaboration can be quite a challenge when specific information is to be presented in two different locations. Cloud technologies allow this information to be synchronized and become available through sharing in real-time. As such, both parties are able to access the same information hassle free. Cloud-based tools can be easily upgraded and improved to make their features less expensive, experience minimal or no service interruption. This is equally important with accessing a patient’s records in emergency cases. Since cloud-based applications are backed up by a cloud infrastructure, it is possible for the data to become mobile. This means that GP-Clinics practitioners will have access to this information anywhere and anytime. Security and privacy is a fundamental factor when developing cloud-based applications. Since each cloud service provider must adhere to HIPAA, GP-Clinics can be sure their information is safe. Lastly, GP-Clinics should expect to lower their costs since cloud computing does not require the client to invest in hardware infrastructure or maintenance.

Benefits and Risks

Microsoft’s cloud platform considers several benefits for its clients including a faster deployment on business capabilities, intelligent IT spending, lower-risk business innovation, and global scaling which allows the client to reach out globally. The risks with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform include the client having to outsource an external provider which also means storing crucial data offsite and there is also the aspect of vendor lock-in (Anderson 2014).

Mozur, Perlroth & Chen (2014) state that Apple’s cloud computing services offer benefits such as improved efficiency, greater collaboration, and backup and recovery options. The risks on the other hand include dependency, also known as vendor lock-in, unintended permanence where the client loses some data, and cloud computing offers another avenue to be attacked or hacked.

According to Fusaro et al. (2011), Amazon cloud computing platform offers convenience, faster computing, and secure backups. On the other hand, the risks may include exposure to hacking and viruses that may lead to losing data, and in case of Internet outage that would mean the client has not access to the information. As such, Amazon has, in the recent past, experienced long downtime which is disadvantageous for their clients.

Google offers lower capital costs, lower IT operating costs, no hardware or software investment including installation and maintenance, and access to optimized IT infrastructure as benefits for its cloud computing services. As for the risks, Google highlights environmental security which means the system becomes a target to virtual brute force attacks and bot malware. There is also the issue of data privacy and security as some of the needs on this aspect may not be achieved. Google also has a challenge with record retention when not informed beforehand, and hosting information on a cloud would also mean the disaster recovery protocol of the client is subject to the disaster recovery protocol of the cloud provider (Vijayan 2016).

Cloud Storage Recommendation

I would recommend Apple’s cloud computing services since they offer what GP-Clinics may consider as an advanced protocol able to sustain its cloud solutions. This way, GP-Clinics will be able to improve their accessibility, increase mobility and their presence online, enhance integration online using cloud services, and have a relevant protocol for disaster recovery. The aspect of loss of data will also be minimized, performance risks on management will be reduced and GP-Clinics will have access to a hybrid deployment strategy which will impact its competitive position and organization in the industry.


Anderson, T 2014, ‘Understanding the Functions of Microsoft’s Hybrid Cloud’, Computer Weekly, p. 17.

. N.p., 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.Capterra.comCapterra,. «Best Hospital Management Software | 2016 Reviews Of The Most Popular Systems».

(2013): 1-13. Web.Journal of Enterprise Resource Planning StudiesElragal, A, & Malak E. K, 2013, «In-House Versus In-Cloud ERP Systems: A Comparative Study».

Fusaro, V, Patil, P, Gafni, E, Wall, D, & Tonellato, P 2011, ‘Biomedical Cloud Computing With Amazon Web Services’, Plos Computational Biology, 7, 8, pp. 1-6

. N.p., 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.Ibm.comIBM, 2016, «IBM — What Is Cloud Computing?».

Jenkins, E, & Christenson, E 2001, ‘ERP Systems Can Streamline Healthcare Business Functions’, Hfm (Healthcare Financial Management), 55, 5, p. 48.

Mozur, P, Perlroth, N, & Chen, B 2014, ‘China Attack Aims at iCloud, Apple’s Service For Storage’, New York Times, 22 October

Vijayan, J 2016, ‘Google Offers Option for Cloud Disk Resizing Without Downtime’, Eweek, p. 1.