Medway NHS cuts costs with virtualisation project

Medway NHS Foundation Trust is reducing its costs and carbon footprint by virtualising its IT using a blade server environment

Medway NHS Foundation Trust is to reduce its costs and carbon footprint by virtualising a blade server environment.

The organisation already had some virtualised servers but decided to move everything to virtual servers as it reached a refresh cycle. Much of its hardware was reaching its expiry date.

According to Mark Bishop, manager at Kent and Medway Health Informatics Service (KMHIS), which supports the IT at the Trust, it was a good time to move everything onto virtual servers: “You get to a certain point when you deploy lots of servers when it becomes easier at a refresh cycle to start all over again. We wanted to virtualise everything.”

Prior to embarking on the project, Medway NHS Foundation Trust already had 40 to 60 virtualised servers including main control and clinical systems.

KMHIS put out a set of requirements to the market without specifying the technology it wanted. As a result the suppliers came back with plans to meet the requirements, which included reducing power consumption and costs.

The organisation subsequently chose virtualisation on an HP infrastructure, which brings together servers, storage and networking. KMHIS has worked with specialist NHS IT services firm CSA Waverley, which is an HP partner, to complete the project.

Using virtualised servers in its two datacentres reduces energy consumption because it needs less hardware. Costs have been cut, because adding virtual servers when required costs a fraction of adding the equivalent physical server. “For every server we deploy there is only the cost of the engineering. In the past it might cost £6,000 per server,” said Bishop.

Bishop said Medway NHS Foundation Trust would deploy around 10 new servers a year.

Another key reason the Trust wanted a virtualised environment was to make it easier to expand, with faster deployment of additional computing power with minimal disruption.

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