Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Transforming the data centre the NHS way

February 16, 2015

I recently chatted with Nathan Allmont, Technical Architect at Dudley IT Services, which is part of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and delivers managed services and hosting not only to the trust, but to other organisations within the healthcare economy. I wanted to find out about a recent data centre upgrade and the benefits this has seen for Dudley IT services.

TE: Tell us about your original set-up, and the reasons behind the upgrade.

We started out in 2009 and had a purpose-built data centre. We purchased HP chassis and blades which worked fine at the time, but as we grew the cost of scaling out this environment was too high. Furthermore, this system just wasn’t giving the IT department the functionality it needed.

TE: What drove you towards Cisco technology?

Cisco talked to us about their Unified Computing System (UCS), which is designed from the ground-up as a complete, bespoke data centre solution, rather than a solution that would be shoe-horned in, which was what we had at the time. We were given the opportunity to trial the system and we loved it! UCS is an amazing piece of kit, and we’ve never looked back.

TE: What’s so good about it?

Implementing the new system was a daunting challenge, but once the team got their heads around the program it was easy. It’s very flexible, and the UCS emulator enables the team to get familiar with the implementation process in a practise environment, which is very helpful.

TE: What would you say are the biggest benefits?

It’s completely transformed the way we work. We now deploy all solutions, whether hardware or virtual, through the UCS environment. It’s very agile and responsive – we can deploy hardware solutions very quickly and virtual solutions instantly. It enabled us to reduce our cost base substantially in 2013 and pass on savings to the Trust for re-investment in healthcare.

We have become really responsive when dealing with the trust’s organisations and services reducing project delivery times and costs. The performance is much faster than our legacy system which has reduced some of the frustrations our clients encountered with poor response times. Finally, instead of having systems all over the data centre, it’s all in the same place now – literally behind one pane of glass! This it makes it much easier for the IT team to support.

TE: Do you have any specific examples of how UCS has transformed the way the trust works?

We’ve deployed a patient administration system using UCS technology, and were able to deliver this system really quickly in comparison to a traditional system. This has enabled the project team to focus on the Clinical delivery of the project without having to be concerned about platform or infrastructure. This data centre transformation has been so successful that we’ve now started a program of work to host the Dudley Group’s main patient administration system on UCS The partnership with Cisco has been a great success so far and we’re looking forward to a strong working relationship

TE: It’s great to hear that Cisco’s UCS was the right choice for you and that you’re seen so many benefits across the team. Thanks for your time, Nathan.

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