State of Multicloud Adoption in Healthcare

Multicloud is in force around the world and is the dominant IT architecture in ECI respondent organizations. Driving multicloud acceptance has been enterprises' realization that to meet each workload's specific requirements for security, performance, cost, business continuity, and other factors, they must match each application to the infrastructure best suited to it. This selective optimization requires the availability of multiple IT environments or multiple clouds and the adjustment of workloads among them as variables change.

Getting to this point in established organizations requires a degree of migration from older, three-tier datacenters to cloud-based IT infrastructure. Depending on how entrenched the legacy infrastructure is for supporting critical applications that the organization must continue to maintain, the time it takes to evolve to a multicloud environment will vary among organizations.

Who's Deploying Multicloud?





Financial Services


Global (all industries)


*Industry reporting the highest penetration
**Industry reporting the lowest penetration

Figure 1: Comparative Multicloud Penetration Levels to Date

Just 27% of ECI healthcare respondents said that multiple clouds, private or public, currently represent their most common IT deployment model (Figure 1). This penetration level is about 9 percentage points behind the cross-industry global respondent average, as the figure shows. Only the financial services industry trailed healthcare in adoption (26%).

Worldwide, multicloud is the dominant IT architecture in use; however, among healthcare ECI respondents, private cloud currently dominates, and multicloud penetration is only slightly ahead of traditional three-tier datacenter installations (Figure 2).

Both the healthcare and financial industries are highly regulated. As such, they've likely been slower to embrace the public cloud as a bonafide component of their IT environments for security reasons. However, healthcare respondents reported plans to increase their multicloud penetration from 27% to 51% within three years. Extending on-premises private clouds to one or more public clouds for appropriate use cases is a fundamental step toward creating a multicloud environment and gaining the flexibility to meet diverse needs as they arise and evolve.

Comparative IT Infrastructure in Use

Traditional/Legacy Datacenter Only


Private Cloud Only




Figure 2: Comparative IT Infrastructure in Use

Public Cloud Use Cases Help Drive Adoption

Global healthcare IT professionals cited improving business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) most often as motivating their three-year plans to increase multicloud use (Figure 5).

As noted, they intend to grow multicloud usage from 27% penetration today to 51% by 2024. Many organizations in other industries also cited business continuity/disaster recovery as a multicloud driver, though most mentioned supporting remote work and improving customer support more often as driving adoption.

All these use cases—DR, remote work, and customer support—have a strong public cloud component. As such, organizations are increasingly embracing the public cloud as a supplement to private infrastructure to address them and, in doing so, are naturally creating hybrid multicloud IT environments.

Three-Year Multicloud Motivators


Improve DR/BC


Use technologies such as AI/ML


Super remote working and collaboration


Scale more easily and on-demand


Don't think my current model is secure enough


Become more agile and remove silos


Better support our customers



Figure 5: Three-Year Multicloud Motivators

Behind the Eight Ball — For Now

Since the healthcare organizations surveyed currently trail the multicloud averages, it's not surprising that they also reported slightly lower usage of public clouds in general: 55% said they currently don't use any public cloud services, moderately more than the global average (47%). They also fell toward the bottom of the trend toward using more than one public cloud provider to gain best-of-breed services and to avoid vendor lock-in (Figure 6).

However, healthcare's interest in boosting BC/DR could prove to be the impetus for greater public cloud acceptance, which, in turn, would accelerate the industry's general multicloud usage. At the heart of DR management is creating a process for replicating and maintaining IT hardware, software, and data in geographically diverse locations. Public clouds can be a huge help: by definition, public cloud providers' global datacenters are in locations that are remote to on-premises enterprise infrastructures. Public cloud providers also offer extra diversity services, whereby they'll replicate IT resources to more than one geo-diverse region for added data and application protection. This is another area where a hybrid multicloud environment, providing uniformity across multiple clouds, is ideal.

Who's Using 3 or More Public Clouds?





Local Government




*Industry reporting the highest use
**Industry reporting the lowest use

Figure 6: Who's Using 3 or More Public Clouds?

Matching Use Cases to Infrastructure

In fact, when asked which IT infrastructure—private cloud, public cloud, or three-tier datacenter—best served specific applications, more respondents in healthcare (43%) picked public cloud for BC/DR, outpacing the global average (35%). Moreover, public cloud got the greatest percentage of healthcare votes for seven of the eight applications that respondents were asked to evaluate in terms of which infrastructure type was optimal for supporting them. The exception was human resources management, where healthcare respondents chose private cloud (38%) and public cloud (37%) suitability in nearly equal numbers.

Looked at another way, however, private cloud got the greatest percentage of healthcare votes when it came to higher-level evaluations. These involved selecting which infrastructure was more likely to help achieve certain outcomes, such as managing IT cost, complying with regulatory mandates, and ensuring fast application performance. The exceptions were that healthcare respondents preferred the public cloud when it came to supporting remote healthcare workers and for its inherent ability to scale (Figure 7).

Healthcare Cloud Usage Preferences Based on Use Case


Run business-critical applications


Manage IT costs


Security and/or regulatory compliance


Application performance


Support remote employees


Ability to scale


Maintain consistently high levels of resource availability


Support compute-intensive workloads (e.g., AI/ML, analytics)


Support disaster recovery/business continuity


Drive digital customer experience

Private Cloud

Public Cloud

Figure 7: Healthcare Cloud Usage Preferences Based on Use Case


currently lack the IT skills required
to meet business demands