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3 Ways to Migrate Your Veterinary Practice to the Cloud

Man pondering while looking up at a cloud
Mar 28, 2021 at 1:02 pm
Clint Latham, JD

The need for cloud migration of data and software used in the day-to-day running of veterinary practices has never been urgent. Because of this, most veterinary practices still host their software and data on their local servers, which are only available to a select few who have physical access to computers connected to the servers.

Over the past few years, however, cloud computing has become more popular among veterinary practices, and more practice owners are migrating their locally hosted IT veterinary solutions, such as their practice management systems, to cloud solutions.

What is cloud migration?

The process of moving data, applications, and other veterinary practice-related elements to a computing cloud is referred to as cloud migration.

Most veterinary practices are now open-minded about moving their IT infrastructure to public cloud solutions due to benefits such as accessibility and ease of scaling servers when usage spikes.

Cloud migration has also become popular because of its pricing model, which is mostly a pay-per-use model that only charges for the services used. There is also the option to pay as you go, which allows practice owners to pay for only the resources they use.

Why veterinary practices are migrating to cloud solutions

Cloud computing has become an attractive option for veterinary practices because of the operational challenges and requirements associated with locally hosted IT solutions: 

  • A spike in traffic and the number of users of the local server Veterinary practice owners looking to expand their client base are using cloud computing as their solution. This is because it is able to handle spikes in traffic, and, in cases where traffic outgrows the servers, practice owners are able to scale servers to meet the increasing user base with ease.
  • High operational costs for local servers and their ineffectiveness in meeting the needs of practice owners Many veterinary practices have outgrown their locally hosted IT solutions and need more advanced technology solutions for their IT department.
  • Data storage requirements — Practice owners looking for huge server space also find it easy to migrate to public cloud solutions due to the cost involved. Cloud storage is inexpensive, and it’s more easily accessible and reliable than local server solutions, which, in most cases, do not have data backups.
  • Recovery in case of a disaster Cloud computing has positioned itself as the go-to solution for practice owners who are nervous about losing their data in case their local servers experience physical disasters, such as flooding or fire. The regular backups that occur with cloud solutions also help to assure practice owners that their data will be protected at all times. 

illustrated data cloud with digital icons floating around it

3 types of cloud migration

There are three options of cloud migration available: 

1: IaaS cloud migration

The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution involves moving your local server to a dedicated cloud server, where the buyer of the solution carries out every configuration, setup, and running of the applications. This type of cloud computing is charged based on the type of infrastructure that a user is acquiring.

The IaaS cloud solution does not come installed with any type of software, and practice owners are expected to have their own software and data, which they will need to upload to the cloud servers. It is the most difficult cloud-computing solution, and requires someone with technical skills to migrate locally hosted data and applications to cloud servers for it to work efficiently.

2: PaaS cloud migration

The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution involves practice owners acquiring a platform that enables them to develop, run, and manage veterinary practice applications without building and maintaining the infrastructures, such as software development and database management.

PaaS is an out-of-the-box solution that allows for swift migration from locally hosted platforms to online-based cloud solutions. An example of this includes migration from the locally hosted IDEXX Cornerstone to the EzyVet cloud-based solution for veterinary practice owners.

With PaaS, clients pay to use a platform that has already been developed and optimized for easy use.

3: SaaS cloud migration

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution involves subscribing to a cloud-based software solution that is tailored for your practice. A good example is migrating your locally stored content to Dropbox, a software-as-a-service cloud computing solution.

What to consider while migrating data and applications

Before migrating your data to a cloud-based solution, consider the following:

  1. You must assess the resources required for a smooth migration to cloud solutions. As a practice owner, you have to realize that, while some applications and data can be migrated without issues, you might encounter problems with other software and data that might not be compatible with your solution.
  2. You should do pilot testing to ensure that your local data and applications will work the same when migrated to an online cloud solution.
  3. When initiating migration, determine what goes first between the data and the applications.
  4. You will need to optimize your applications and data after moving them to your cloud system.

Before attempting to take advantage of the cloud, consider the advantage you’re looking for. What problem are you trying to solve? Once you’ve answered that question, you’ll be able to choose the type of cloud migration that works best for your practice.

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Clint Latham, JD
With two senior Yorkies, Clint (CJ) understands the need to have a trusted veterinarian to care for his family members. Clint's goal is to help uncover the mystery of data security for DVM's across the country so they can focus on what is most important: quality care for our furry friends. While working and speaking with practices all across the country, Clint saw that there were a number of practices that have a great local IT guy who needs the security and data insights specific to the veterinary industry. In an effort to find a way to support independent IT professionals while simultaneously providing security and data insights to those who protect our animal companions, Clint founded Lucca Veterinary Data Security.

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