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Manchester’s Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust streamlines IT with private cloud

Archana Venkatraman

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, based in Manchester, is planning to implement a private cloud infrastructure to improve IT efficiency for the organisation’s 8,800 staff members.

The NHS Trust has signed a five-year deal with services provider ANS Group for the project.

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The project comes after Pennine Acute Hospitals’ IT identified a flexible IT solution to cope with varying workloads and support the organisation’s growing information requirements.

The IT team wants to streamline its infrastructure so it can deliver a more customer-focused IT service with greater levels of resilience, performance and flexibility. It also wants to implement several revenue-generating initiatives. This means the team will have to implement an IT infrastructure with a secure multi-tenancy feature, involving the provision of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), to allow potential customers to connect to the infrastructure.

The hospital’s IT has picked ANS’s cloud service based on its FlexPod i3 (Infrastructure 3.0) technology.

FlexPod is a reference architecture for serverstorage and networking components that are pre-tested and validated to work together as an integrated infrastructure stack. It comprises products from multiple suppliers and is sold by storage supplier NetApp and its value-added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators.

A FlexPod architecture stack comprises NetApp FAS storage, Cisco Systems Unified Computing System (UCS) and either VMware or Microsoft hypervisor technology.

FlexPods are designed to be modular and offer the highest possible degree of flexibility, but without sacrificing reliability in the process.

ANS’s i3 Cisco/Microsoft/NetApp/VMware FlexPod architecture – which is increasingly implemented as a cloud-based solution – makes the cloud provider one of the top suppliers of FlexPod in Europe, handling around 14% of all EU installations.

Earlier this year, Staffordshire County Council implemented private cloud computing services, based on ANS’s i3 architecture, to offer more public services online.

According to Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, the private cloud platform will give it increased capacity to cater for its data storage and flexibility requirements, as well as supporting the trust with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

The Trust’s IT team and ANS have used a combination of ANS’ FlexPod i3 solution, VMWare View VDI, Microsoft System Centre 2012, App-V and self-service portal to create a consumer-orientated solution for clinical and administrative users.

The private cloud service helps the Trust ensure continuity within the organisation as a growing amount of services move to digital platforms, said Christine Walters, associate IM&T director at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

“By switching to this solution we can be safe in the knowledge that our IT is suited to cope with the extra data storage demands of the organisation,” Walters said.

After installing the private cloud service, the NHS Trust will virtualise its clinical systems, which will run in tandem with the wider trust infrastructure.

“Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust had very specific needs for its infrastructure including increased flexibility and resilience to the organisation during periods of high workload,” said Paul Sweeney, managing director of ANS.

“By streamlining the IT infrastructure across the Trust’s entire network, the various hospitals have a unified IT solution, where information and services can be shared with ease. At a time when the NHS is becoming more price conscious than ever, the FlexPod i3 and VDI solution also helps it make cost savings on cooling and management of IT services.”


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