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NHS Central Midlands CSU updates datacentre with standardised data warehousing

Archana Venkatraman

NHS Central Midlands Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) has improved the quality and safety levels of healthcare for more than 5 million citizens across the West Midlands by standardising its data warehousing services.

The NHS unit selected Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) service and is using HP’s AppSystem – the tool designed to improve the time it takes to deploy mission-critical applications. AppSystems are used to support business-critical tasks such as such as database management, data warehousing and analytics.

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Hosted in a datacentre, the PDW tool provides the organisation’s health professionals with secure data access at faster speeds. SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) uses multiple SQL Server database servers to store and process data. 

The fully-integrated HP AppSystem for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 PDW tool enables the IT team to process data not only faster but also more efficiently and with greater frequency. The tool integrates six datasets from various sources and provides built-in support for analytics functions, pulling in results from trillions of rows of data in seconds, according to the NHS organisation.

The service delivers “significant advantages over standard SQL databases,” said Mark Marshall, enterprise architect at NHS Central Midlands CSU. “As well as processing data more effectively, it provides the extensive storage required to store multiple datasets and ensures that all the data is held in a secure environment.”

With the tool, the CSU is also able to supply high quality data to its national customer base and local stakeholders, including Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – one of 211 groups across the UK authorised to commission healthcare services for their communities.

“Local healthcare commissioning needs to be driven in a standardised way so that data is easier to aggregate and quality is improved,” said Dr David Hegarty, chair of Dudley CCG.

“HP's high-density servers and storage subsystems enable us to make cost-effective, evidence-based commissioning decisions which will help safeguard the health data of the borough of Dudley’s 305,000 citizens.”

The NHS unit is also using multiple HP MSA P2000 G3 Storage systems to deliver consolidated storage option for information access and to have a system that can be easily scaled to handle up to 610TB without affecting performance.

These storage systems are linked to HP ProLiant DL300 G7 rack-optimised servers with low-latency networking tools. The servers run in parallel as a single unit to reduce architectural complexity and risk.

The organisation also overcame its business continuity challenges by opting for fully managed support services.

“Innovative healthcare providers need to take advantage of the latest technologies to boost efficiency and optimise costs,” said Marc Waters, director, Enterprise Servers Storage and Networking, HP UK and Ireland. 

“By consolidating and standardising data warehousing for NHS Central Midlands CSU, its healthcare services meet the changing needs of its citizens.”


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