As you would expect, responses from strategic partners focused on the use of public cloud, with some suggesting hybrid or cloud agnostic approaches. This is an approach we support, as the cloud will have a pivotal role in any future Spine service.
Today, Spine is already using hybrid cloud services to deliver internet access to the services it supports and we’re considering some of our low-risk, high-value services as potential early cloud migration candidates. For example, services such as MESH and the archival store of Summary Care Records, are ideal candidates balancing the scale of processing and storage, with the demand profile of recent coronavirus-related activities.
The use of public cloud also allows more business value to be delivered in the time available, by providing more flexible and on-demand infrastructure and reducing the operational responsibilities. However, cloud in itself is not a panacea. We must consider the long-term approach to using cloud for critical national services, weighing the benefits of cloud against potential dips in availability and ensuring the system architecture accounts for this.
We did discuss the benefits of using a single region (with multi-availability zone) versus using a multi-region approach. However, the proximity of datacenters is largely irrelevant for Spine hosting. That said, multi-region can have a role to play in achieving higher availability and, in theory, this raises the 99.89% potential maximum single region availability to 99.99% when using multi-region.